Spokane Journal of Business

Small Business Watch

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Couple opens decor, countertop business

A home decor and countertop restoration business has opened in Otis Orchards.

Husband and wife Mike and Nikki Novakovich have launched Piccadilly Crossing, located in 2,000 square feet of floor space at 21101 E. Wellesley, as a place to showcase a countertop restoration service they provide. Piccadilly Crossing also sells refinished furniture and home decorating accents.

Mike Novakovich, who also operates Plumb Painting Inc., applies an epoxy-based product in different colors and textures to existing countertops to upgrade their appearance, says Nikki Novakovich.

She says a typical cost for its kitchen countertop restoration is about $400. The couple has worked with real estate agents here who have recommended their countertop restoration service, she says.

"It's an inexpensive alternative to marble countertops, and it looks like stone," she adds. "My husband applies the product over the existing countertop, as a spray-on method or a stained method that's done by hand."

Nikki Novakovich says the work doesn't require removal of appliances or any demolition work. After it's complete, people can use their kitchens again within 24 to 72 hours, she adds.

—Treva Lind

Resale store debuts in Airways Heights

A store named Cleone's Closet has opened in Airway Heights, selling used items to benefit a nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence.

Spokane-based nonprofit Women's Healing & Empowerment Network launched the store Jan. 14 at 13514 W. Sunset Highway, says Mable Dunbar, the nonprofit's president and CEO. Named in honor of a victim of abuse, the 2,000-square-foot store offers used clothes for men, women, and children, as well as household goods such as furniture, small appliances, and decor.

The store currently is staffed by volunteers, but the nonprofit plans eventually to hire two to four employees, including people being aided by the nonprofit who are gaining job skills and becoming more self-sufficient, Dunbar says. The proceeds from the sales at Cleone's Closet will support programs and services provided by the nonprofit to domestic violence victims.

—Treva Lind

Spokanite co-founds celebrity fashion site

CBuy, co-founded by Spokane native Mike Fields and a Seattle business partner, has launched a beta website focused on celebrity fashion.

The company aims to make it easy for people to buy the apparel and accessories they see celebrities wear on television, with just a few clicks on the www.cbuy.tv website, Fields says.

Depending on the fashion item, the website might also show who else famous is wearing it, other fashionable items a particular celebrity has worn, and other items created by the designer.

Fields says he and his partner are the company's main employees, and his sister, Christy Fields, is managing the company's blog, while a handful of subcontractors with fashion-industry ties are contributing content. Subcontractors also identify products they see celebrities wearing on TV or in other visual media. The website posts screen shots of the celebrities and tags their apparel and accessories with options to purchase them.

For example, someone who thinks the minimalistic heels Nicole Kidman wore at the Screen Actors Guild award ceremony are "to die for" can find them on the CBuy site, which identifies the fashionable footwear as Manolo Blahnik Chaos patent leather ankle-strap sandals. They're available through Saks 5th Avenue and can be purchased through CBuy for $695. If someone has to have an Oscar de la Renta bronze lace sequin gown just like Jenifer Garner wore at the same event, that'll cost $9,490, according to the website.

"Under our current business model, once they click 'buy,' we get a commission of 6 to 8 percent," Fields says.

In the next phase of the business, Fields says CBuy plans to approach TV networks about getting product information before shows air.

"Then we'll have a mobile app, so people can purchase products while they're watching the show," he says.

CBuy currently is run from the founders' homes here and in Seattle.

"When we begin inventorying products, we'll have a warehouse and drop-shipment location," Fields says. "For now, it's amazing how easy it is to run this type of business from anywhere."

—Mike McLean

Screen printer opens Airway Heights store

Country Impressions, a five-year-old vinyl sign and apparel screen-printing business that operates a manufacturing facility on the West Plains, has opened a small retail store at 13416 W. U.S. 2, in Airway Heights.

Owner Glen Nutter currently is the business's only employee.

He says he leased the 400-square-foot store space in November and completed upgrades such as painting and installing signage before moving into the unit.

"I thought that having a storefront with highway frontage would be beneficial for the company," Nutter says.

Country Impressions' 3,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is located at 721 N. Calvert Lane.

Nutter says he has been screen printing signs since the late 1970s, and has worked in the graphic design industry for most of his life.

He says he is looking to hire an experienced silk screen printer and graphic artist, adding that he has enough screen-printing equipment to employ 10 people in the future.

"This economy hasn't been very cooperative yet, but we're hoping it'll make a turn here soon," Nutter says.

—Jessica Valencia

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