Momentum: The family heritage behind Meridian businesses By Holly Beech email@example.com HollyBeechMP Mar 10, 2017 (…) +1 Holly Beech Meridian Press staff Look for our annual publication of Momentum today. In this week’s Meridian Press, you’ll find a special insert called Momentum.We publish this section each year with a different theme. Last year, we dug into a 24/7 Wall St. study that named Meridian the top place in the nation to live.Our focus this year is my favorite yet. We are featuring a handful of iconic and longtime businesses in Meridian. You may drive by these businesses every day — Modern Printers on Main Street, for example — without knowing the story behind them. Story continues below video × Advertisement In Momentum, you can read about the people, memories, quirks and interesting stories behind eight local companies. Working on this project has been one of the highlights of my time here at the Meridian Press. I loved meeting business owners and hearing their stories — some of which date back five or six decades in Meridian.Modern Printers owner Greg Walker moved to Meridian as a toddler in the 1960s. He said from where he sits at his desk, he can look out the shop’s front window and see the old house down the alley where he went to kindergarten. He kept me laughing during the interview with a string of jokes, while his longtime business colleague would just shake her head and say, “Such a goofball.”I loved visiting the Meridian Speedway and looking through dozens of old photographs and hearing stories from the operators, Adam Nelson and Al Russell. Russell started racing at the Speedway in 1965. Fifty years later, he became the oldest man to win a major event at the track at age 81.Nelson used to race, as did his father and grandfather before him. Now his son is a fourth-generation racer.For another Momentum feature, I stopped by Meridian Lanes to interview the siblings who own the bowling alley, co-founded by their late father. I did not expect to find the place so busy on a Monday afternoon, but about 120 competitors in the Royal Seniors league were out in force. One of those impressive bowlers was Jo Wilmot, 77. She said when her dad told her in 1959 he wanted to open a bowling alley in Meridian, she asked why he would want to build in the middle of a desert. The bowling lanes are still going strong, now surrounded by a bustling city where fields used to be.At Meridian Meat & Sausage, I learned about the spices and the methods used for making European-style sausage. The owner, Rene Schoop, bought the business from his dad, Albert, who as a young man moved to the U.S. from Switzerland. Rene’s son now works at the plant, too.On a quiet Sunday afternoon, I got to sit across a table from Chris Ansotegui, co-owner of Epi’s Basque Restaurant, and hear her stories, filled with warmth and gratitude, about her family and her journey to opening a restaurant.Momentum also features three stories from the talented writer Philip A. Janquart. He explores the history behind the Hungry Onion Drive-Inn, explains how Morse-Starrett Products Company helped with World War II efforts, and highlights the family heritage and changing technologies at Lytle Signs.Behind the desks and counters of businesses all over this city are some wonderful people with fascinating stories. I hope you enjoy reading this year’s Momentum almost as much as I enjoyed working on it. More from this section Injured Boise Police officer to take on Table Rock in LIMBitless Challenge Posted: April 24, 2017 Dog of the Week: Collins Posted: April 24, 2017 Letter to the Editor: Support local causes on Idaho Gives day Posted: April 20, 2017 Ada County's mobile voting food truck named World Changing Ideas finalist Posted: April 20, 2017 Meridian woman sentenced for filing fraudulant claim with GEICO Posted: April 20, 2017 HollyBeechMP Follow HollyBeechMP Close Get email notifications on HollyBeechMP daily! Your notification has been saved. There was a problem saving your notification. Whenever HollyBeechMP posts new content, you'll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link. Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items. Save Manage followed notifications Follow HollyBeechMP Close Followed notifications Please log in to use this feature Log In Don't have an account? Sign Up Today Comments Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK. Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything. Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person. Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts. Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. Latest E-Edition Meridian Press Read the latest edition of the Meridian Press in our e-edition format, which combines the familiarity of the printed-paper format with the convenience of reading on your phone, tablet or desktop computer from anywhere. Issues prior to August 18, 2016 YouReport This is your chance to be the reporter. Tell us what's going on with you, your kids, and your community. Share your child's latest achievements, talk about that pothole that never gets fixed, or just speak your mind on what is happening in your community. Submit Your Articles Share the news that is important to you and your community. Post articles about local events, sports teams, community organizations, and more! Submit Your Photos Do you have a great local photo that you want to share with the world? Add it here!