The former Radio Shack space at 2032 NW Market St is now the newest branch of Umpqua Bank.
“This doesn’t feel like a bank,” we overheard someone say while touring the new location. And it doesn’t. The Umpqua “stores” are all about community. The location is called a store because it’s more than just a bank, store manager Candace Kesterson explains. The feel is relaxed and the hope is that you’ll hang out awhile.
When you first walk in, you are met with a neighborhood narrative on the wall. “It just tells a little story about this exact neighborhood, the Ballard neighborhood,” Kesterson tells us. The Ballard narrative is about our most famous holdout – Edith Macefield. “With Edith having spirit and courage and perseverance, that’s something that we, as a small bank, that we want to have.”
In the center they have a Local Spotlight that highlights a local business. The goal is to encourage people to spend their money in the community. Each quarter they choose a different business. Right now it’s All The Best Pet Care. You can even buy items off the display right at the bank.
There is also an internet cafe where anyone can come in, surf the internet and print documents. “We want to encourage people to come in here and stay, not just bank,” Kesterson says. There’s a “discover wall” where customers can learn about different Umpqua products. There is an electronic community board where community members can have their events highlighted.
A few other tidbits we learned while touring the store: Each associate can volunteer 40 hours each year and get paid for it. They’ll have cookies from Larsen’s Bakery on Fridays. If you like the service, don’t like the service or just want to talk with the CEO/president of the bank, just pick up the phone. They have a direct line to Ray Davis right in the store. A bit skeptical, I picked up the phone and had a nice conversation with Mr. Davis.
The Ballard store will have an official grand opening the end of January. In the meantime you’ll find associates out buying hot dogs for people at the Ballard Farmer’s Market and giving out ice cream when the weather warms up a bit.