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New Face, Same Service
Osborne Takes Over The Helm At Heart Of Knights Ferry
Linda Osborne, center, joined by her son Allen Hammond, left, and partner Chuck Allen as she takes on the venture as the new face of Knights Ferry General Store, Cafe and Rick’s Saloon. Photo By Teresa Hammond

If Linda Osborne is dreaming, don’t be the one to wake her. The longtime Oakdale community member is proving to herself as well as her sons that hard work does indeed pay off. Osborne is the new face of the Knights Ferry General Store, Cafe, as well as Rick’s Saloon.

“I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years and I made a lot of amazing people a lot of money. It was just time for me to do that for my family,” Osborne said of taking the leadership role of the historic building and businesses therein earlier this year.

It’s a pairing which some may say was quite simply meant to be, as Osborne shared it has been a longtime dream, as well as goal of hers to someday run her own place. But not just any old place; the right place, with the right energy and that simple pair of old blue jeans feel.

With all that in mind in late 2022, Osborne approached longtime business and building owner Rick Maisel and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

“During that month and a half,” she said of prior to taking over, “he has been an amazing, amazing person.”

While the faces which greet patrons and customers may look different, it pretty much ends there. Osborne shared the importance of maintaining the store, cafe and saloon exactly as they are, even down to the name “Rick’s Saloon.”

“It will always be Rick’s Saloon,” she said of maintaining the name as well as the decor.

And then of course, there is the entertainment which the saloon has long been known for.

“It was just sad to me when it wasn’t open,” she said of a temporary closure of the saloon. “When Glenda and Rick had it, it was at its best. I had the most fun ever when I was up here.”

A longtime river rafter, with a deep love for the river as well as the nostalgia and quaintness of Knights Ferry, Osborne shared her determination to have it be all that it once was.

“This place has always been a music central,” she said of the saloon. “People want to play here. I get calls every day.”

Recognizing people are attached to the way it is, Osborne is happy that people aren’t wanting something different and feels there’s no need to do that.

Equally important to her is stocking the store with items the locals as well as visitors desire and serving food in the cafe which makes customers want to return. As she aims to provide top notch customer service with the help of family and close friends, it’s the consistent help of her son Allen Hammond and her partner Chuck Allen which has had a major impact on her dream. And then there is the Knights Ferry community as well.

“They are just amazing people and they want to see this succeed,” she said of the community. “This town has embraced me with open arms. They have just been wonderful. I never would have expected it.”

In addition to the customer service and comfort, Osborne shared she feels consistency is key to a successful business. With that in mind, she’s determined to maintain consistent hours on the three spaces. Knights Ferry General Store will be open Thursday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Cafe hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Tuesday; Rick’s Saloon is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. all day but Friday and Saturday, when it closes at 2 a.m.

All three businesses are closed every Wednesday.

“Consistency is the key to a great business,” she said. “The more consistent I am, the busier I’m getting. If everybody knows if they drive up here, I’ll be open, they’ll drive up here.”

Now realizing her dream, Osborne and crew are working hard to get things running smoothly as the busy town of Knights Ferry ramps up for spring events and rafting season. The new heart at the helm noted when she dreamed of the place she would run on her own, this was the one.

“Timing is everything,” she stated, adding of Maisel, “I’m blessed to know him.”

Surprised by her own emotion, with tear-filled eyes she continued, “Not everyone will give you a shot. I don’t even know how to express it. I’m blessed. I’m just blessed. I knew it was going to be good, I didn’t know it was going to be this good.”

As for surprises as she settles into her new home away from home, more emotion comes from Osborne as she speaks of the tight knit community.

“First the biggest surprise was how amazing the locals are and helpful,” she shared. “I have 15 different phone numbers that were immediately given to me and they said, if you need anything, you call us. And they didn’t even know me.”

That just solidified Osborne’s belief that, for her, this was the right move.

“The Ferry is an amazing place to be,” she summarized. “It really is.”