Brookings businessman Alden Loring, left, and Tekton Contractors Inc. owner Jerimiah Bateman are teaming up to build Loring Lighthouse Museum on Railroad Street. The Pilot/Steve Kadel
A longtime Brookings businessman is branching out again.
Eighty-six-year-old Alden Loring will open Loring’s Lighthouse Museum next year on Railroad Street across from KURY Radio.
It will feature a coffee shop with snacks and a museum with three vintage cars and hundreds of guns – some of them two centuries old.
“I think this will be a winner,” Loring said Tuesday as he looked over the property.
He has already received his subgrade permit from the city of Brookings and Jerimiah Bateman of Tekton Contractors Inc. has scraped the ground level. Next, Loring will secure a building permit to start putting in a foundation.
Loring, the owner of Loring’s Lighthouse Sporting Goods for the past 50 years, is obviously excited about the new venture. His eyes light up as he talks about it and his partnership with Bateman, whose wife Brie will manage the coffee shop.
“If it wasn’t for this guy, I wouldn’t even consider it,” Loring said. “He can do anything.”
Loring said he came to Brookings in 1955 when “there wasn’t hardly anything here. I started with nothing and here I am going to build a museum and a coffee shop.”
He recalled getting his start in the business world by joining his brother’s Brookings chain saw repair shop. Soon they began repairing lawn mowers, added a Jeep dealership and sales of Honda motorcycles.
“Boy, did we sell those,” Loring said of the Hondas. “Everything was wide open in those days.”
Of course, the Oregon State University graduate is best known for his five-decade sporting goods shop. That’s the connection to his gun collection, too.
“When I came here and started the sporting goods business I was interested in guns,” Loring said. “I sold Winchesters and that’s where it started.”
He has some vintage firearms, including a London Navy Colt that was worth $2,200 several years ago. Recently, the entrepreneur purchased 1,100 guns from one local resident.
“I’d sold him most of those over the years,” said Loring.
The coffee shop will be in the back of the two-story, 5,000-square-foot building. It will be near a fireplace with a mezzanine above it for offices.
Three classic cars will take the spotlight in another area, with gun displays surrounding them. The cars include a 1910 Maxwell, a 1907 International Auto Buggy that Loring says looks like a horseless carriage, and a replica 1929 Mercedes that is virtually new.
Bateman said the building will be a nice place to have coffee and browse among the museum items.
Loring has been an antique car collector for 50 years and an antique gun aficionado for 60 years.
As a child, he dreamed of opening his own business. Now, with his long-term success in sporting goods and a brand new shop opening next year, the dean of Brookings merchants is proving he’s not ready to slow down.