UPDATE |Rockhoppers in Clinton goes up for sale

The recession has claimed another victim: Rockhoppers is up for sale.

Owner Rene Schlangen said the popular Clinton coffeehouse she began almost four years ago is going on the real estate market with an asking price of $10,000.

“We will be vacating our current location by July 31,” Schlangen said. “This has been a very hard decision, but with the economy being what it is, I cannot continue to take the loss.”

Schlangen is selling her business, not the property on Highway 525. Inventory includes espresso machines, an ice cream freezer, refrigerators and other items.

Over the years, Schlangen encouraged musicians, artists and everyday folks to use her place as a way to spark the Clinton social and artistic scene. The chess club met there, as did a weekly coffee klatch. She also offered dinners on nights when the coffeehouse hosted performers.

Schlangen encouraged the arts in all its many forms.

Locals Beverly Graham and Julie Keegan launched an online radio program called “Breathe in Radio” from Rockhoppers one year ago. The show was streamed regularly on the Web site www.breatheinradio.com, designed by Bayview School graduate Ahren Bader-Jarvis.

Schlangen began the iconic business with a clear vision.

“I wanted this place to be a hub for artists of all kinds,” she said. “Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh gathered in a small Paris coffee house and talked about everything: religion, politics and, of course, modern art.

“But it was not to be.”

She said that she was incurring more and more debt and it wasn’t fair to her husband Dan as the economy worsened.

“The economy was hitting my customers hard and that, in turn, hit me hard. It’s time to get out when I have almost no tourists stopping by; just six in the past few months.

Schlangen said Rockhoppers won’t be selling food or coffee because she’s cleaning and

preparing to sell and the equipment will be shut down during this time.

“I will have sodas and pre-packaged items for sale, however, and our Wi-Fi connection will still be running and the art will still be here,” she said. “I will be having a going out of business sale at the end of the month for any odd items that I cannot sell otherwise.”

The place isn’t closed yet, however. Southern rock musicians Lizzardz will be playing July 30.

“This duo is truly awesome,” she said.

And Schlangen hopes country music entertainer Russell Clepper will make a final appearance.

Schlangen isn’t leaving the island, but will focus her promotion efforts toward mainland artists.

“There are some musicians I’ve worked with over the years and I hope to become an agent,” she said.

“There is life after Rockhoppers.”

For details, call Schlangen at 341-2392 or Rockhoppers at 341-4420.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@southwhidbeyrecord.com.