Who we are
My name is James Croft, and I am a long time resident of Oak Harbor. Born in Coupeville in 1974 and spending most of my life here, I have seen the many changes in Oak Harbor and here on Whidbey Island. My wife, Priscilla, is also a long time member of our community; we both graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1993.
When we reminisce about growing up in Oak Harbor during the 80's and 90's, the same places of interest always come up: the Roller Barn, Kow Korner, Bears Arcade, The Blue Fox Drive In, and Smileys Pizza to name a few. These places are close to our hearts because they all have one thing in common: they created a fun atmosphere where people would meet up, hang out, and enjoy fun activities and great food.
Our goal as members of this community has always been to serve and give back. When we created Toppins Frozen Yogurt, we set out to make it fun, have great food and a great atmosphere, and that we would serve our community any way we could. We still operate with that mindset, and we believe it is what has attributed to our success. When I was running the Home Depot, we completed over 50 projects in my 5 years at the Oak Harbor Store. From creating ramps for veterans, working with Habitat for Humanity on housing projects, and assisting to remove a burned house, we would always look for ways to help someone in need. In 2009, we helped bring Christmas Village back to life so families could enjoy the Christmas Spirit here on Whidbey with a zero cost entry fee. Our whole life has been about giving back.
The Boys and Girls Club of Island County has been presented with a great opportunity to expand into a new space that will better suit the needs of the club. We are excited about the changes they will continue to make in our community. This presents a new challenge for the old Neil Barn, as the Boys and Girls Club needs the proceeds from the sale of the Barn to help them build their new facility. While the barn is a Washington Historic Building, it is not protected from future growth and development. If the barn goes to a developer, it could become just another memory of Oak Harbor's past. It has been part of many long talks at the dinner table with my wife and family, and in October we made the decision to reach out and see what we could do to preserve this amazing structure. While this is going to take every ounce of effort we have to pull off, we know this community will help support us and see us through. Our goal is to preserve, maintain and ensure this barn remains part of this community for another 100 years.
To protect the historic Neil Barn so that it will never again face the threat of demolition. To accomplish this, we will reestablish the Roller Barn as the family entertainment center of Oak Harbor.