The old world charm and quiet, country setting of Bishop belies its bold business heart. There are, living here, brave explorers and daring entrepreneurs who are making products and building businesses inspired by the mountains and a lifestyle of clean air, beautiful scenery and strong community values.
From long-held dreams or exciting ah-ha moments, these folks are making goods that give value and purpose to the lives of their fellow citizens and guests of our extraordinary town. In many cases, these businesses also provide much needed jobs and help to sustain a lively economy.
It is through their craftsmanship and enterprise that those who live here and guests who visit here can sample something delicious or own something cherished that is made right here in Bishop.
Mountain Rambler Brewery
Born from a passion for beer and experimentation with brewing in the garage of his home, Joe Lane, launched a full-scale commercial operation in November of 2014 with the help of business partners and local investors. Now, just 2½ years later this fine microbrewery serves 10 of its own exquisitely crafted beers on tap. A recent addition of two new large brew tanks has increased the volume and options for great brewing at Mountain Rambler Brewery.
Brews range from light ales to robust porters and stouts and much of the determining factor in brewing style depends upon ingredients and sourcing. The beers are often named for fearsome and fascinating features of the Eastside such as the new Darkstar launched in January of this year.
“We are proud to introduce Darkstar, a Russian Imperial Stout clocking in at 11% ABV [alcohol by volume]”, says Lane. “Darkstar, named after one of the biggest, baddest mountaineering routes in the Sierra, is 70 IBU [international bitterness units], roasty with lots of chocolate, cocoa, and a hint of coffee. It’s malty sweet, big body, just a little bit of heat and the perfect addition to our brewery.”
Other beers are Foxtail Rye Extra Pale Ale, named for the Foxtail Pine trees that grow in the subalpine zone of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and the Phainopepla Black IPA, named for the silky black bird that is an uncommon visitor to the region.
This local public house, brewery and restaurant, is family friendly and, in addition to the craft brews, an excellent menu of lunch and dinner fare is made from scratch from quality ingredients, many of which are locally grown and sourced. Live music performed by many of Bishop’s talented resident musicians and well-known and up-an-coming artists from further afield perform regularly at the brewery.
Bishop’s residents are immensely proud of this great locale with its fine beers, delicious food and relaxed, friendly atmosphere. It’s a great place to warm up after a snowy mountain adventure or cool down from a hot summer’s outing. Mountain Rambler Brewery is located at 186 S. Main St. and more info can be found online.
It’s always a good time for a good local brew.
Wild Onion Creations
An accomplished photographer and designer, Heather Freeman, began a small business to create functional and meaningful products inspired by the beauty of the Eastern Sierra.
The business started after a few years of making and presenting unique, handmade gifts to family members when she realized that the concept could become commercially viable. Heather began experimenting with printing her husband’s and her own photography on fabric and making well crafted pillows, pouches, and tote bags. Demand and a desire to have more options for production led her to a commercial printer that provided a bigger selection of fabrics and higher volumes of the fabrics printed with her images.
The images are of well-known places such as Bodie Historic State Park and the awe-inspiring beauty of spring flowers and fall in the Owens Valley and Sierra Nevada.
Her exquisitely crafted items now include infinity scarves, bags, baskets, wall hangings, and throw pillows. These products make wonderfully functional gifts and souvenirs that are both beautiful and meaningful.
“In my Wild Onion Creations product line, you’ll find handcrafted, functional art inspired by my outdoor experiences in California’s beautiful Eastern Sierra,” says Freeman. “Celebrating details like wild onions in bloom along a stream or the changing shadows of aspen leaves in a gentle breeze is a highlight of my excursions. I hope to inspire others to see and enjoy our wild places through my handbags, tote bags and accessories.”
Her products can be found at Spellbinder Books at 124 S. Main St., Range and River Books at 206 N. Main St., and online at wildonioncreations.com.
Freeman also offers workshops to learn how to sew your own pouch or totebag with your own photo. No gift could ever be more personal than that!
Great Basin Bakery
It’s often referred to as “the locals bakery” and residents of Bishop are extremely fond of the delectable breads and baked goods from Great Basin Bakery.
The bakery was started when two young biologists, Robin Bolser and Brooke Yarnell, working in the area decided to indulge their desire to bake and began a shoestring operation from a converted garage space at the south end of Bishop. In 2005 Robin bought Brooke’s share of the bakery and Robin continued to realize her dream.
Now almost 15 years later the bakery is a thriving enterprise that produces fresh bread, bagels and croissants daily plus a wide assortment of cookies, pies, muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls … and all manner of delicious treats. The bakery includes a café where their artisan breads and bagels are also made into delicious breakfast items and lunch sandwiches. Plans are afoot to expand the business in the next few years to serve the growing customer base.
“We pride ourselves on providing outstanding service, giving back to the local community, and advocating for environmental responsibility and healthy lifestyles,” says Bolser. “We are steadily approaching our dream of having an excellent work environment and comfortable wages and benefits for employees.”
Great Basin Bakery is located at 275 S. Main St., with the entrance just off Main St. on Lagoon St. Find out more about the products and even a few you can order online for quick pickup in store.
Independent Project Press
When Bruce Licher and his wife Karen moved to Bishop in 2009 Bruce was already an accomplished and well-regarded letterpress printmaker. He began his printmaking trade in 1982 when, as a talented musician and designer, he wanted to integrate his music and the packaging.
His early projects centered on creating album covers, postcards and promotional stamps for his band Savage Republic. Soon thereafter he was sought out to create packaging and printed materials for other musicians and clients in the Los Angeles area. Licher was nominated twice for a Grammy Award for his album packaging, and has been credited with starting the trend in letterpress-printed CD and record packaging using industrial-style chipboard.
The Project Room at Independent Project Press in Bishop is a bright, clean and beautiful space that houses 3 vintage printing presses, a die cutting press, a pinhole perforator, various paper cutters and a fine selection of antique handset type and ornaments. One more antique printer (circa 1910), which has been generously donated by Community Printing in Bishop, has just been installed on the floor of the shop and will soon be put into operation.
Not only is the space elegant, it’s also quiet … until the presses run. Then the whirring of huge belt-driven wheels turning, the clatter of the rollers inking the plate, and the rhythmic drumming of the press is like music from a forgotten era. Added to this are the human movements of operating the press lever and hand-feeding paper into the machine and the entire spectacle is like a well-choreographed ballet. It is definitely an art form and one that Licher has perfected.
“Our specialty since day one has been feeding piles of chipboard into the press and having them magically transform into sumptuous objects of art,” says Licher.
There is a little more to it than that, but the start and end points are just that. Independent Project Press produces beautiful greeting cards that are available in The Project Room at 168 A Willow St., in Bishop, online, and at other retailers in Bishop and around the country.
Independent Project Press also works with clients to produce wine labels, wedding invitations, CD and book covers, promotional stamps, postcards, and posters. Workshops are also offered to learn the art letterpress and for folks to conceptualize and produce something unique and of their very own making.
The Project Room also houses an intimate gallery where work by local artists and students is shown. An exhibition, Freedom of the Press 2017, opens next week on Saturday, March 25th. The exhibition will showcase works by 44 artists who participated in a series of classes on Introduction to Letterpress Printing and Linoleum Block Printing.
Ann Piersall Hats & Tees at Sage to Summit
This lovely mountain town is blessed with many talented artists who produce works that reflect the natural beauty of the surroundings. Ann Piersall has developed a unique style of painting inspired by the colors and geometry of the landscape and her adventures in the mountains of the Eastern Sierra.
Now her beautiful fine art has been used to create a line of darn fine hats and t-shirts. Hats are also made in small sizes to fit kids. The iconic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are printed on quality made merchandise and are available at Sage to Summit at 312 N. Main St. in Bishop and online at sagetosummit.com and on Ann’s website.
The collaboration between artist and local business owner creates an avenue that benefits everyone. Art and nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts can own a beautiful, functional piece of the Eastern Sierra and support a local artist and business. It’s a win-win-win!
Black Sheep Coffee Roasters
Peter Shultz loves coffee. He loves coffee so much he began roasting coffee as a hobby. Soon his passion became a project and after researching the art online, where he says, “there is limited information,” he began attending classes.
In 2004 Shultz opened Black Sheep Coffee Roasters, which is now a revered coffee brand in the Eastern Sierra. His coffee is served at the Black Sheep Coffee Roasters espresso bar and café at 232 N. Main St. in Bishop and other fine establishments along Highway 395.
Shultz first began importing coffee from Brazil via an international coffee exchange. Now he travels to Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador to source his coffee directly from the farms.
“Coffee is a relationship business,” he says. “It’s in having relationships with farmers and supporting the farms and their families. In the café it’s about taking care of people.”
Coffee is best made and served one cup at a time. At Black Sheep Coffee Roasters the characteristics of your cup of coffee may differ each time because every roast is done to extract the distinctiveness of the origin of the coffee. It requires intimate knowledge of the coffee and attention to detail in every phase of the roasting.
Coffee should be made to order and Shultz says the best methods are pour over and espresso – best served with hot water as an Americano. The coffee shop also serves a cold brew coffee, which is smooth and powerful.
This local boutique roaster is a source of pride for the Bishop community and the shop is frequented by locals and is also a favorite hangout for rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts who would like to call Bishop home.
Coffee can bought by the bag in store or online with wholesale pricing offered as well.
Sierra Bright Dot
Fred Rowe, owner of Sierra Bright Dot, is a man who has perfected the art of fly tying. He knows and loves fly-fishing in the lakes and streams of the Eastern Sierra. He holds a degree in Fishery Biology and has made a study of the regional freshwater invertebrates. After 36 years of living and fishing here, Rowe provides anglers a real advantage to their fly-fishing quests.
Sierra Bright Dot offers readymade flies and Rowe will custom make flies for an angler’s specific goals. He says that if an angler has captured an insect, or has an idea of a size and pattern that they think will work, he can create it.
He explains that, “Flies are bits of fur and feather and other materials tied onto a hook to imitate the food form that fish are feeding on.”
Understanding the lifecycles of the insects and the waters in which they breed can determine what flies will work. There are of course other issues, such as having the right rod, reel, terminal tackle, and leader – and applying these in the right waters – that will affect the result.
Rowe takes a scientific and holistic approach to fly tying and he says that his years of experience in “tying and trying” can help guests be more successful.
Everywhere we travel we look for things to bring home with us that will remind us of our journeys and experiences – be they poignant or humorous. The Official 395 Store located at 263 S. Main St. in Bishop is the one stop souvenir shop where you can take a little something from your road trip home with you.
Joe and Caryn Todd bought Alpine Signs in Bishop in 2005 and have provided quality signage to the community for over 10 years. In 2010 the couple expanded the business to include the Official 395 Store where signage, apparel, stickers, glassware, and gadgets all bear the mark of this historic route, US Highway 395.
The symbols for identifying places, things, and activities are based on an international standard of signage. The Official 395 Store in Bishop replicates these iconic images both beautifully and humorously, so once your fun is done you can take a bit of it home with you.
It’s a sign of your adventure made right here in Bishop!
Bishop Visitor Center
Many of the goods made right here in Bishop are also available at the Bishop Visitor Center at 690 N. Main St. Staff at the visitor center can provide maps to shops, restaurants, and other great things to see and do not only in Bishop, but on your journey from Death Valley to Yosemite.