Roger Yost, Owner
Roger Yost takes life where it leads him.
He has been a writer, editor, adman, marketer, educator, environmentalist, film producer, lyricist, master gardener, nurseryman, restaurateur, art gallery owner, investor, landlord and as many of his former employees and children would add: Coach and Mentor. He remains many of them to this day.
Historic Buildings Owner
Yost owns two of Oregon's most historic treasures (Salem's Reed Opera House); and the city's tallest office building in Salem (The Capitol Center). He also owns the 1920 Vick Building and leases his downtown restaurant building to the Old Spaghetti Warehouse, a popular Italian restaurant.
He has been unselfish with his time, serving on boards or committees related to Salem's downtown community, tourism, educational institutions, and the city's future visions.
Why? He says:
"At this stage of my life. I have no lofty personal ambitions. I'm simply dedicated to making this city--our state--a greater place. Greater for art, music, theater and general livability. It's important to give kids and their parents and teachers, incentives and space to perform and grow. To help them become special and begin to recognize and realize their dreams."
Yost was born in Wesson, Mississippi, January 6, 1936; grew up in Chicago, and received a degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 1958.
He achieved his childhood ambition–becoming a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times–before his 20th birthday while going to class and working a full 40-hour week. He spent five years with the newspaper before joining J. Walter Thompson Co. (JWT), then the world’s largest advertising agency.
Jantzen Advertising Director and Family Man
Along the way he married his high school sweetheart (Barbara Brown), and fathered two children (Kathryn and Douglas), before moving to Oregon in 1965 to join Portland-based apparel giant Jantzen Inc. as its men’s advertising director.
Yost would spend almost 33 years with Jantzen, where he and his staff won more than 100 regional and national awards for advertising campaigns, graphic design, film making, and cause-related marketing.
He is credited with pioneering sports marketing, using famous athletes to promote Jantzen sportswear in the 1960s and ‘70s, a concept emulated by Nike a decade later. Among Yost’s “International Sports Club” were Frank Gifford, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Paul Hornung, Bobby Hull, Don Meredith, Calvin Hill, Lance Alworth, Tim Brown, Terry Baker, Dave Marr, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Peter Jacobsen, Cliff Drysdale, Don Schollander, Corky Carroll and Larry Mahan, among others.
Rodeo enthusiasts say Yost’s early use of Mahan, a Brooks (OR) native who would go on to win six all-round riding championships, helped validate rodeo as a sport and give it national credibility.
He earned similar praise for his early recognition and Jantzen sponsorships of surfing, windsurfing, women’s beach volleyball, synchronized swimming, and a worldwide environmental campaign called “Clean Water.”
Real Estate Investor
Yost began investing in real estate in 1977 with the purchase of the Queen Anne Apartments on Portland’s now trendy Northwest side and Oregon oceanfront property in Arch Cape. He later invested in a five-unit strip mall in Lake Oswego, OR, that is now the cornerstone of the city's premiere shopping center.
In 1994, while still at Jantzen and traveling more than 100 days per year, Yost purchased a 42 acre tract in Newberg, OR, and developed the Wine Country Nursery. It became one of America’s fastest growing garden centers, and prompted Yost to leave the Jantzen in 1998 and devote his entire energies to the nursery business and real estate.
Highest Award Winner
Before departing Yost was named Oregon's "Ad Professional of the Year" and received the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal – its highest award – for his creative endeavors and environmental leadership.
President of NNBA
While building his “Disneyland for gardeners,” Yost was elected president of the Northwest Nursery Buyers Association and addressed the industry’s national conventions on the art of branding and growth.
He sold the nursery in 2003, which prompted his move to Salem, where he thought his skills and interests in historic properties would allow him “to make a difference."