Spokane Journal of Business

Small Business Watch

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Proprietors rename shop Donut Dugout

Owners of the Post Falls bakery formerly known as The Donut House have renamed the shop The Donut Dugout.

The new name reflects co-owner Dennis Gross's lifelong love of baseball, says Kellie Gross, his spouse and the shop's other co-owner. The couple has operated the doughnut bakery for more than two years at its current location at 1602 E. Seltice Way, in the Harbor Ridge retail center, across from a Trading Co. supermarket.

Gross says her husband grew up playing baseball, and started learning the art of baking in a family bakery as a youth. He wanted to give a nod to both passions in the business name.

"We finally decided to change to Donut Dugout," she says.

In baseball, a dugout is a team's bench area.

The couple plans to phase the baseball theme into the bakery's motif, Gross says.

In addition to its traditional doughnuts, the bakery produces fruit-filled burritos, peanut butter triangles, chocolate chip rolls, and seasonal pumpkin-spice doughnuts, she says.

The shop, which caters to sit-down and take-out customers, is open 24 hours a day and employs six people in addition to the owners, Gross says.

Dennis Gross's brother and sister-in-law Matt and April Gross operate another bakery, still called The Donut Shop and located at 8671 N. Government Way, in Hayden, Idaho.

—Mike McLean

Entrepreneurs launch casual footwear lines

Three entrepreneurs are launching a casual footwear company named Lakes Brand LLC, which is inspired by the summertime lifestyle at Lake Coeur d'Alene, says Jessica Gudgel, of Coeur d'Alene, one of the company's owners.

Zac Scott, of Coeur d'Alene, and Todd Zyph, of Spokane Valley, are the other partners in Lakes, Gudgel says.

Lakes currently operates in Zyph's garage in the Valley, and the company is in the midst of a campaign to raise $20,000 in capital by Dec. 9 through the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter.com to help defray startup costs, she says.

Lakes, which has trademarked the tagline "Don't text, don't call, I'm at the lake" also is setting up a foundation that will collect $1 from every pair of footwear sold to donate to entities such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and the YMCA to send kids to lakeside summer camps, Gudgel says.

The footwear, which is designed locally and manufactured overseas, initially will be offered in two lines of durable flip-flop sandals, both made of synthetic materials that come in a broad palate of colors, she says.

Lakes' lightweight line called Skinny Dippers will be priced around $25, and a more rugged line called Kick Arounds will be priced around $35, Gudgel says. The company's catalog can be requested through its website at www.lakesbrand.com.

Gudgel says Lakes Brand has some retailers lined up to sell its products, including Escape Outdoors, in the Village at Riverstone, and Coeur d'Alene Paddle Board Co., in downtown Coeur d'Alene.

—Mike McLean

Duo launches craft distilling magazine

Spokane business partners Brian Christensen and Rockwell Rutter have launched a quarterly craft distilling publication here called Artisan Spirit Magazine through a company they own called Artisan Craft Distilling University LLC.

"Our goal is to be the publication that every craft distiller in the nation has on their coffee table," Rutter says.

The two men released the 36-page first issue of the magazine this week with the printing of 5,000 copies, he says. The issue will be available shortly at all Total Wine & More stores, and also is being mailed directly to craft distillers across the country, he says.

Rutter says he and Christensen founded Artisan Craft Distilling University, at distilleryuniversity.com, a number of months ago to provide educational content online for craft distillers, "and we started the magazine as a supplement to that project."

Their venture is operating from a roughly 600-square-foot office space in the Undercliff Mansion, at 703 W. Seventh, he says. Other than the owners, the business has two employees—Christensen's wife, Amanda, who is graphic designer for the magazine, and a salesperson, he says.

Rutter says the business is "sort of a side project" for the two owners. He also owns Se7en LLC, a web development company, and he says Christensen is chief of operations for Memories by Design, a video-production company.

—Kim Crompton

Vintages@611 to start pizza oven installation

Steve Seddon, co-owner of Vintages@611, a restaurant located at 611 E. 30th, says he plans to start work next week on a pizza oven installation project that's expected to have an overall cost of about $30,000, and hopes to have the oven installed by Christmas.

An area near the bar of the 3,700-square-foot establishment will be modified to accommodate the 3,800-pound oven, Seddon says.

Baker Construction & Development Inc. will be the contractor for the job, and Krueger Sheet Metal Co. will do the ventilation work, he says.

The Seddons bought Vintages@611 from Tana Rekofke at the end of August. Seddon says the fine-dining restaurant originally opened its doors in 2008 under Rekofke.

The Seddons formerly owned and operated Villaggio Pizza Wine Martinis, at 2013 E. 29th on the South Hill, but closed the restaurant on Aug. 31.

Seddon says the business had been located at the address on 29th for more than five years, but it was beginning to outgrow the space.

In addition to the new pizza oven, Seddon says changes to the menu are also slated to take place over the next few months.

"We will still keep the core Vintages menu, we just kind of tweaked some things," he says.

Seddon says that starting next year, the restaurant will be offering happy hour menus daily from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and a late night menu from 10 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

—Jessica Valencia

Writing, marketing business opens here

Mariesa Stokes, of Spokane, has launched a home-based public relations, marketing, and writing service here. The business, Mariesa Stokes LLC, started in September.

Stokes has eight years of experience working in broadcasting and eight years of public relations experience.

"I can offer a lot of different services that you wouldn't just see with one organization," Stokes says.

She currently has six clients across the country, including Spokane-based Empire Health Foundation and construction and landscaping company Enviro AgScience Inc., based in Columbia S.C.

Stokes is the company's only employee. She says her charges vary depending on the client and nature of the work, and rates can be hourly or negotiated for an entire project.

Her projects vary, but she says she has been contracted to do anything from writing press releases to organizing large events.

Stokes says she doesn't have any immediate plans to grow her business, but would like to do so in the future.

—Jessica Valencia

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