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October 26, 2011

Christmas Tree Restaurant is Back

Filed under: Real Estate — X-NINJA @ 4:43 pm



For the first time in years, commercial activity in The White Mountains is HOT.  Everywhere you look, FOR LEASE signs are coming down, business are opening, and entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and concepts are taking risks with new ventures.  One incredible story coming out of this resurgence is the reopening of The Christmas Tree Restaurant located just off Woodland Road, in Lakeside.


Unlike some of these new businesses, The Christmas Tree has a rich history.  It all started back in February of 1977 when Carol and Omar Bourassa first opened their business in the old “Fish Homestead” owned by Pearl Penrod.  This small restaurant was an immediate success and after a couple of years Carol and Omar decided they needed more space. They contacted the owner of the old Broken Arrow Lodge which was a 9 acre property compete with cabins and a large restaurant which is where The Christmas Tree is located today.  Carol and Omar leased the restaurant space for a number of years until they moved to Flagstaff and then to Oregon.  In 1986 the owner lost the property to the bank, and Carol and Omar were brought back to the area to reopen the restaurant.  After all these years, on December 10th, 1987, Carol and Omar reopened the doors and over the years the restaurant became a local landmark. 


In 2006 Carol and Omar sold the restaurant and after two owners the doors finally closed when the recession hit the White Mountains.  Now that the area has pulled out of the recession, 3 owners with deep ties to the area have breathed life back into this treasure.  The owners consist of Debbie Shadle, Toni Stewart, and Wanda Haumont.  Debbie and Toni grew up in the White Mountains and graduated from Show Low High and Wanda owned La Casa Moya restaurant back the late 1970’s.  In addition to brining local knowledge, restaurant experience, and connections to their new venture, they also decided to tap into the best resource of all, Carol Bourassa.  Carol volunteered to help the new owners open their doors and share her much cherished recipes from the past.


After a few months, the restaurant has been busy and the reviews have been great.  The owners attribute a lot of their success to the fact Carol has been involved since day one.  In addition to Carol, the new owners have brought back the two original chefs Crystal Newman and Jamie Garcia.  The Christmas Tree is located at 455 N Woodland Rd. For reservations, call (928) 367-3107.

Investing in Real Estate today

Filed under: Real Estate — X-NINJA @ 4:42 pm

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock market index that tracks the 30 largest, publically owned companies in the USA.  Institutional traders, the media, and everyday investors watch this index to give them an idea of what is happening with the stock market and the health of their individual portfolios.  On July 21st, 2011, the Dow closed at 12,724.  On Monday August 3rd, this dropped to 11,896, then again on August 8, and on August 10th it finally hit a low of 10,719 representing almost a 10% freefall.  The following Monday this went back to 11,482 at the time of writing this article, we are back down to 11,000.  What a jumping castle to buy


Some investors stayed in while others panicked and pulled out with fresh wounds from the last market collapse.  If you analyze the data that has come out of this recent fiasco, the general consensus is the true winners are large institutional traders, stock brokers, and Wall Street, not the everyday investor.


The question is, are stocks a safe bet?  When was the last time you opened your 401K or Broker statement and saw consistent double digit returns?  For those of you tired of the wild swings and small or negative returns, I would recommend looking towards investing in real estate.


Typically when I talk to people about investing in Real Estate, they bring up 3 common perceived barriers; Current News, Liquidity, and size of investment.


Current News: Everywhere you turn, the media does an excellent job telling you about the horrific stories in the housing market.  People are scared about real estate, especially with all the foreclosures and short sales popping up in neighborhoods across the country.  This bad news creates opportunities and gives people the ability to buy at “Bottom of the Market Prices”.  A downturn gives you the ability to buy anything from residential to commercial properties at historically low prices.


Liquidity: There is no doubt, an advantage to stocks is you are always just a click or phone call away from cashing in your stocks or portfolios.  However, any advisor will tell you that your strategy should be to hold for the long term measured in years, not months.  In addition to this, the national average for selling a home is 90 days and in some markets it’s a low as 35 days.


Size on Investments: Many people like the low initial investments associated with stocks and mutual funds.  You can contribute to a 401K or for a few thousand dollars own stock or shares in mutual funds.  What many people don’t realize is the same options are available with real estate.  Savvy real estate investors create investing groups called syndicates that pool together peoples money to acquire assets.  This allows people to invest a small amount of money to buy something that otherwise might have been out of their price range.  Typically these syndicates offer preferred returns starting at 8%.  


Don’t let the media or fear of real estate prevent you from investing in Real Estate.  Now is a great time to take care of historic prices and boost the returns of your portfolio.

Economic Impact of Towns Festivals

Filed under: Real Estate — X-NINJA @ 4:41 pm

For two days this summer, August 13th and 14th, Pinetop is having its first annual “High Mountain Music Fest” sponsored by The Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce (  This event will feature 12 bands from across the state, Special Guests like Dave Pratt, Food and Beer gardens, and activities for kids.  In addition to the great food and Music, this festival will have a large economic impact on our town. 


Festivals and events in small regional destinations play an important role in tourism development and thereby in economic development.  An event like the High Mountain Music Fest will attract new tourists, increase the amount of money that is spent in our town, improve Pinetops destination awareness, and also increase our civic pride.  The Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce does an excellent job throughout the summer sponsoring various festivals and events and despite the difficulty in accurately measuring the true tourism and economic impact, there is no doubt how critical it is to the business community.


Crystal O’Donnell, Office Manager and Events Coordinator for the Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber, estimates that over the July 18th weekend during the Native American Art Festival, the event had over 2,000 visitors.  For the White Mountain Music Fest, this number should exceed 5,000 people.  This creates a tremendous opportunity for our local business community and also gives the town a much needed boost in sales tax.  In a recent state tourism study, it was determined that when people travel to a destination for an event, on average they spend $529.00.  Although these figures are subjective, you can imagine how significant these festivals can be on a small community.  If you take just the Musical Festival, and assume that of the 5,000 people that attend the festival 20% were unique visitors, meaning they came just because of the festival, this would equate to over a half a million dollars brought into our community.commercial jumping castle


Events like the Native American Festival, The Mountain Music Fest, The Run to the Pines Car Show, and The Fall Festival are crucial to the viability of town and our business community.  I personally commend all the hard work from our local chamber and everything they do to support our business community.  If you would like to help volunteer for this event, purchase tickets, or become a corporate sponsor, you can call the Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber (928)367-4290 or visit their website at