Member’s Stories: Cookie Laurens

When Cookie Laurens came into the Wauna Credit Union St. Helens branch on a warm Saturday morning looking for a car she wasn’t her normal optimistic self. “I knew it was going to be tough,” she said. “I love the people at Wauna, and they always do what they can, which is why I made the credit union my first choice.” Luckily Area Manager Lisa Clark was up for the challenge.

Cookie was a bit nervous to deal with a car dealer. Lisa put her in touch with Bill Scholten from Scholten Auto Sales. Lisa knew he would work with Cookie to find a car in her price range. After helping her qualify for a vehicle loan, Lisa went the extra mile, literally, driving her 25 miles to pick up the car, then helping Cookie get insurance, and making sure she had everything she needed.

“I worked in banking for years,” said Lisa “but now I work for a credit union, and it makes all the difference in the world. At a bank, we wouldn’t have given Cookie a second look based on numbers only. And I would have had to tell her we tried everything we could, even though I knew it wasn’t true. At Wauna, I’m allowed to look at the person, and figure out a way to make it work.”

“This was the way Business was done in the past and I thought I would never see again,” said Bill. “Lisa exemplifies the type of service Wauna offers, and is why we’re always glad to work with the credit union.”

Cookie, who has been a member of Wauna Credit Union ever since she returned to the area, loves all the different ways she can use the credit union. She’s especially a fan of managing her financials using WCU’s Virtual Branch in Astoria. “I call them Telephone Central,” said Cookie. “They’re always so cheery and willing to help.”

The Virtual Branch Consultants are always happy to hear from Cookie as well. “It’s always fun to hear her cheery voice when you say hello,” said VC Nichole Klopp. “We have tons of regulars, and Cookie is one of the people who is forever in a good mood.”

Lisa agrees. “Cookie’s been coming in regularly since she moved to town. She’s quick to laugh, and has even been promising to make us cookies.”

Whether she ever lives up to her nickname or not, Wauna Credit Union is always happy to have members like Cookie.

Loving Your Dream: Four Friends are Chop Chopping All Over Oregon!

Long-time friends Kinnell & Jon Steward and Dennis & Debbie Gorton always look forward to their annual camping trip with several other families, and the meal everyone looks forward to on that trip is Chicken Sundae night!  “We do it potluck style and everyone would bring some of the toppings.  As new families would join the group they would ask “what is this crazy dinner…I have never heard of a Chicken Sundae…we would just smile and say wait until you try it!” Steward said.

Kinnell and Jon stand in front of the truck

In the spring of 2015 the Gortons had an opportunity to sell Chicken Sundaes at a fundraiser for a friend who was battling brain cancer. They were an immediate hit!  That June during the camping trip, they decided to bring the Chicken Sundaes to the people.  The couples cobbled together their own money to buy equipment and supplies, and two months later Chop Chicken Sundaes made its debut at the 2015 Vernonia Friendship Jamboree.  Their first real event was a hit!

“We decided to see where this crazy idea would take us so we started selling at Farmers Markets and Events,” Kinnell said.  “We were a pop up restaurant, so we would pull up, unload our equipment, build a restaurant, prep our food, sell the food, clean up and pack it all back into our trailer. It was a ton of work. We knew that if we were going to keep following this dream we would need to find an easier way to do it, and that meant building a food truck.”

Customers warm their hands in front of the truckThe couples researched and realized they would never be able to afford it on their own. The Stewards are long-time members with Wauna Credit Union, and presented their business plan to the Vernonia Branch. Right away Pam Weller, and the rest of the team at Wauna shared their vision, and went to work seeing how they could help the foursome realize their goals.

“The team at Wauna was super,” said Kinnell.  “Pam and Sue worked with us to get the business plan together, and gathered enough evidence to make the loan.”  Almost immediately Wauna’s faith in the business paid off and the friends were realizing their dreams of taking Chicken Sundaes all over the state of Oregon & beyond.

Chop Chop Chicken Sundaes has built a fanbase all over Oregon. “Even though it’s hard work at times, we’re having so much fun. We love talking to people, and introducing them to Chicken Sundaes,” said Jon. “We are so grateful to Wauna for seeing our vision and believing in us, we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for Pam and the team at Wauna.”Customers gather at the Chop Chop truck

If you want to find out when Chop Chop Chicken Sundaes will be in your area, visit their website at, like their Facebook page or follow them on Instagram, and if you are interested in finding out more about what WCU can do for you, visit