Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002 Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002
Sandpoint Magazine

Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002

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Sandpoint’s men in shorts are, from left,
Tom Emory, Chet French, Gene Fontaine, Dennis Nicholls, Jeff Nizzoli and Rod Dosher.
Men in shorts
not shy about showin’ knees

They come from different walks in life, but they have one thing in common: They walk in shorts – all year-round. Most of them are independent sorts. In fact, all but two of them work for themselves. They are Sandpoint’s “men in shorts,” guys who unabashedly show their knees, no matter the weather.

Just who are these renegades? Chet French, who operates Jalapeños Restaurant; another restauranteur, Jeff Nizzoli of Eichardt’s; Gene Fontaine, the owner of Packages Plus; Dennis Nicholls, an author and freelance writer; Rod Dosher, a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier; and Tom Emory, a FedEx courier.

Dosher says that French started the trend, but the others seem to agree that former restauranteur Beaner Johnson, who died in 1998, was the shorts-wearing pioneer.

French, who grew up in San Diego, has always worn shorts; moving to Idaho with its distinct four seasons some 12 years ago didn’t make him change his dress habits. “Owning my own business, I can decide on the dress code.”

Similarly, Nizzoli grew up in Sacramento and has been in Sandpoint for 10 years. He has had jobs in the past that forced him to wear pants, “and I didn’t like it.” He finds them “confining, hot and uncomfortable.”

Fontaine agrees, adding that another advantage to not wearing pants is, “no dirty ankles and no getting pants wet from the snow.”

Nicholls grew up in Virginia but has lived in the West for 27 years and says he wears shorts “simply because they’re more comfortable.”

The only employees of the group are Dosher and Emory. A mail carrier for 30 years, Dosher starting working in shorts year-round five years ago. He says he doesn’t know why he does it, other than for a bet against himself; he admits to wearing pants when off-duty. Driving for FedEx for 17 years, Emory has worked in shorts since they became available about 15 years ago. Primarily he wears shorts off-duty too, unless he is “snowblowing or something like that.”

Although their reasons for donning shorts vary, one thing is sure: Sandpoint’s men in shorts are a sight to see.

– Billie Jean Plaster

Winter 2004

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