Allen and Lisa Rhoades

In Taste This, we feature Allen and Lisa Rhoades. They co-own the Rockfish Grill, H2O Restaurant, and Anacortes Brewery, in Anacortes, WA.

They met a little over ten years ago at the Rockfish Grill. For their first date, they ate out at the Adrift in Anacortes.

Allen is the Managing Partner and majority owner of the business. He met his partner, Rick Starr, at Boeing, where they worked on the same projects. They developed a business plan for a Brew Pub, then in 2000, destiny stepped in with the location and a brewery. The business was in bankruptcy court, they put in an offer and it was accepted.

The brewery is now twenty-three years old.

In 2012, the lease ran out on a local pub called the Watertown. Allen and Rick owned the building, so they took over and converted it to H2O. What started as a hobby has now grown into their own little brewery/restaurant empire.

On February 10, 2007, Allen and Lisa married, and what better place to celebrate that day than at the Rockfish. The Rockfish had just completed a stage for Live Music, so they christened it with their wedding.

Lisa joined the team as Director of Merchandising. With a woman’s touch and her creative eye, they expanded their merchandise, added color, and created new labels for their beer. This worked out well since about half of their customer base was women. The business has more to offer now. And doesn’t just have the point-of-view of two ex-engineers.

“In the end it works pretty well,” Allen said. “Our branding is more unique and our merchandise is more varied and unique because of Lisa’s input.”

In the business Lisa is more of a people person. Employees are like part of the family for them. They try to provide flexible hours, support, and they care for each of them. Due to this they have a low turnover of employees, and they even have a couple of generations working there now.

Allen is more business minded. He is the strength behind the management of the business.

“We have a good work environment here,” Allen said.

Allen is also the Chairman of the Washington State Beer Commission. And is now teaching at the Skagit Valley College Brewing Academy. This program is part of the Economic Empowerment Zone with Washington State University and EDASC (Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County. The college provides educational opportunities for industries, which provide good jobs in the county.

Allen grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Went to school at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, then moved to Seattle before settling in Anacortes.

Lisa is a massage therapist and an artist. She is involved in local art groups and is a Commissioner on the Anacortes Arts Commission.

Allen belongs to the Fidalgo Fly Fishers club. They both love to travel, do road trips, play Scrabble, watch old movies, and cook.

When they go out for ‘dates’ they go somewhere else to eat, otherwise Allen might be pulled in to do some work. They try to find balance between work and home and hobbies. Between them they have three grown sons and they love to spend family time together.

It can be challenging working together. Allen admitted that he doesn’t always give direction well, or he may have thought he told Lisa something, but didn’t.

“We are both the same kind of personality and it’s been a challenge to blend those two together,” Allen said.

Their advice to couples working together—“Let the other person do what they do best.” Voice your expectations, then let them do it. Communication is key. Find balance; don’t let one thing consume you. Help each other when they need it.

What Lisa admires in Allen is his patience, his business sense, and that he’s taught her to be an outside-the-box thinker.

Allen finds Lisa endearing, compassionate, patient, and empathetic.

“When you get married, there are certain components in your partner that you find endearing, and you think I should have some more of that in my life, that’s what I am doing,” Allen said.

They share the best parts of each other.

“We feel very fortunate in our lives,” Lisa said.

Happy Valentine's Day

Created By
Karla Locke

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