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KEY IDEA: Deepening Community Roots

Over 17 years, Solstice Wood Fire Pizza has evolved to become a community cornerstone in Hood River, OR. From the beginning, owner Aaron Baumhackl’s goal was creating a gathering place with great food to bring neighbors together.

KEY IDEA – Back when he was still new to town and “too busy for a social life,” Aaron began hosting the type of eclectic community events that he would enjoy attending. Reflecting the area’s artistic vibe, Aaron invited local musicians, fire dancers, etc. to share their unique entertainment with Solstice guests. It worked!

KEY IDEA – Recognizing that young parents might visit the restaurant and its special entertainment more often if they could find childcare, Solstice began offering $5 in-house babysitting on certain nights.

KEY IDEA – To further deepen its community roots, Solstice began using its mobile pizza oven at local community events to fundraise for local charitable causes. Aaron splits the proceeds with each organization on a sliding scale, depending on their need. Selling premium, freshly made pies at community gatherings has also helped more neighbors to try Aaron’s unique food for the first time.

KEY IDEA – Over time, Solstice has also helped shape the region’s self-image as home to specialty farms and craft food makers. The menu highlights its local specialty ingredients. Aaron also uses Facebook Live to enticingly describe his seasonal specials, while recommending the specific farms, farmers, and producers he discovers!

By gathering neighbors together, supporting local causes, and promoting local food artisans, Solstice has helped build a community of customers who feel especially connected to Aaron and his team!