‘Do the right things for the right reasons’

WSU alumni, Pullman business owners finds success with local restaurant



Jim Harbor graduated from WSU. Twenty years later, he is running South Fork Public House with co-founder Wade Dissmore.

JENNA GEELAN, Evergreen reporter and columnist

Some WSU students choose to leave Pullman right after graduating, but Jim Harbour decided to stay and create a restaurant popular with locals and students alike.

“It was a combination of filling a niche in the market that was needed,” Harbour said. “I think the community involvement and all those things combined enabled us to have the success that we’ve had.”

Harbour, co-founder of South Fork Public House, works with WSU alumnus Wade Dissmore to manage the Pullman-based restaurant. 

Harbour said he graduated from WSU in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality business management. He found his way back to Pullman after completing his master’s degree in business administration at Gonzaga University. 

He then started teaching in the WSU’s hospitality business management department in 2006, Harbour said.

He said South Fork opened in January 2010 with the intention of creating a comfortable space so the community feels welcome.

Throughout Harbour’s time at WSU, he said he learned more than just what he read in a textbook. He learned about the idea of community involvement, which he believes helped him with the success he has had with the restaurant. 

“Do the right things for the right reasons and good things will happen,” Harbour said.

Dissmore also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and business management with a minor in business. After working in the industry for a few years, Dissmore said he went back to school to get his master’s degree at Seattle Pacific University.

Harbour and Dissmore have known each other since their time at Pullman High School. Dissmore said both of them have experienced good and bad times together over their 25-year friendship.

Like any partnership, the duo has had disagreements; however, Dissmore said he believes as time went on, things have worked out for the best.

Dissmore said he is also the commercial banking center manager at Banner Bank. 

Like Harbour, Dissmore said he always wanted to open a restaurant like South Fork in Pullman because it is a great place full of great people.

“We have always agreed to make sure to keep South Fork going because it is so beloved by the community,” Dissmore said.