When we last left the Compass Outdoor Adventures crew in November, they had just taken over a long for sale parcel near exit 32 and were planning how they would transform it into their new headquarters’ South Fork.’
As anyone who has taken on a construction project knows, things don’t always go as planned. I checked in with Compass’s Co-owner Karin Ayling to hear the latest and find out when we might see a Southfork grand opening.
Pacific NW native Ayling and her family have lived in the Snoqualmie Valley for 16 years. A lover of hiking, biking and skiing, when real estate agent Ayling saw a Facebook ad that Compass was looking for guides five years ago, she thought, “What better way to meet new people and do what I love at the same time?”
Then the pandemic hit. Like many other companies, Compass was at a point where they had to either stop what they were doing, getting corporate groups outside, active and engaged or pivot and re-invent themselves.
At this point, they took one of their favorite team-building activities, the Goose chase Scavenger Hunt, virtual, and it took off. They went from working with local companies to working with groups from all over the world.
Says Ayling, “it was a blast to get online, run a scavenger hunt with groups from places like Singapore or Ireland, watch them laugh and have a good time. We were all in this pandemic together, and we did what we could to put a smile on their faces and help them connect with their co-workers.”
When Compass went virtual, Ayling took on the Sales Manager role and found it fit.
In June of 2021, the then sole owner of Compass, Luke Talbott, brought to her attention that a building was for sale. Since Ayling was in real estate, she was able to pull up all the information on the listing, and they decided to go check it out.
She remembers their first visit there, sitting on the patio and realizing how perfect the building and location were for Compass Outdoor Adventures.
“I have always loved going to brewpubs with an outdoor place to hang out. I love the ones with fire pits, lights and lawn games. Every mountain town needs a place like this, the perfect place to go after an adventure. Be it a mountain bike ride with friends or a day on the mountain skiing. The best part is getting a bite to eat and a cold drink to celebrate your adventure. North Bend has every outdoor recreation you can imagine, and we want to be the place to go after people recreate. “
When Ayling and Talbott decided to purchase the building and open South Fork, Karin became half owner of Compass Outdoor Adventures and South Fork in September of 2021.
The pair got the keys to the building on November 1st, and from that very first day, they’ve been in full construction mode. Like every remodel project, it was a little more extensive than they initially thought.
The building is from the 1960s, so to bring it up to code, they have had to update all wiring, plumbing, HVAC and much more.
The plan is for the place to be an open concept with the ability to close off space for private party rentals. The patio space has been increased, and garage doors are going in to create an indoor/outdoor vibe.
Compass is big into sustainability and has worked hard to source most everything recycled or reused, and when you walk through the space, they can tell you a story about almost everything. For instance, the awesome fire pit, the perfect gathering spot, came from a local North Bend resident.
Huntzinger Homes is the contractor on this project (and the man who coined the term hurry up pants), and without his crew along with the Compass Outdoor Adventures staff, Ayling says they wouldn’t have been able to pull off the project’s timeline.
Not only does the staff at Compass Outdoor Adventures specialize in team-building activities and kids camps, but they also build cement block walls, decks and paint. Add a consultant who opened a popular restaurant in Seattle to help the design process, and you have a winning team who can also swing a hammer!
The plan now is for a soft opening soon in April and a grand opening in May. The clients are already knocking down the door, ready to have their next gathering at the South Fork. The whole Compass/South Fork gang cannot wait for everyone to be able to enjoy this place like they envision it will be.
If you would like to join Compass in their adventures, they are hiring for front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house positions. Click here to apply. Says Ayling, “We are a team who likes to have fun! So, if someone is looking for a fun place to work and loves our outdoor vibe check us out.”
Ok, South Fork, you’ve got me interested, so tighten those hurry up pants and let’s see what you have in store for the Snoqualmie Valley!
[To find out more information or to schedule a tour of Southfork for your private event, email firstname.lastname@example.org]