Spokane Journal of Business

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Restoration franchise opens in east Spokane

A new Servpro franchise, a company that specializes in damaged-property restoration, has opened in east Spokane.

M&M Restoration, which operates as Servpro of Northeast Spokane, is owned by Scott McAllister and Jason Maas. The company occupies a 1,500-square-foot office space at 3811 E. Queen, and has one employee in addition to the two owners, McAllister says.

He says the company handles restoration work after floods and fires, as well as mold removal and crime-scene cleanup. Restoration after water damage is the most requested service, he says.

McAllister has 22 years of plumbing experience and five years of restoration experience. Maas has been an electrician for 15 years.

Servpro of Northeast Spokane can partner with other franchises both in the Inland Northwest and nationally on large jobs, McAllister says. Three other Servpro locations operate in the Spokane area, he says.

Servpro is headquartered in Gallatin, Tenn., and has more than 1,500 franchise locations nationwide.

—Jessica Valencia

Spokane design firm rebrands as helveticka

Spokane-based creative branding group Anderson Mraz Design has changed its name to helveticka.

CK Anderson, a principal of the firm, says the name change coincides with its 25-year anniversary. The firm opened here in January 1988 and has had its offices on the third floor of the RiverBank Building, at 202 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., for 17 years.

Anderson says the rebranding took more than a year to complete.

The name change plays off the letter font Helvetica, which is popular among designers, he says.

"We obviously wanted to associate with something (similar to) the way we think about design," Anderson says, adding that the firm wanted something that was "enduring and will stand the test of time."

He contends the font, which has been around since 1957, is timeless, still being used by a number of big-name companies such as Jeep and Crate & Barrel.

The name also contains a nod to Anderson, with the inclusion of his first and middle initials, CK, in the intentional misspelling, helveticka.

"It's still phonetic, and still looks the same," Anderson says of the new name.

In addition to the name change, Anderson says helveticka also has a new website and a dedicated mobile site.

The firm employs four people full time and has three part-time employees, Anderson says.

Anderson has been working in the design industry for more than 30 years. He bought out former business partner John Mraz in 2008.

—Jessica Valencia

Mobile optimization concern sets up office

ConneQtive Inc., a Spokane startup that specializes in developing and optimizing website applications, content, and bar-codes for mobile platforms, has opened an office in the Innovation Center at McKinstry Station, at 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.

James Kashork, the company founder and president, says ConneQtive's development team, which includes an engineer, a chief technology officer, and a few contract designers, is scattered throughout the country.

"I'm bringing on a head of sales, who will be located in central Florida," he adds.

The company has a two-sided focus, Kashork says.

"It started as a service-based company targeting small- and medium-sized companies to help them out with taking their existing websites mobile and creating mobile pages," he says. "On the other side, we've developed a software service platform using QR codes."

ConneQtive is rolling out that service under the name of Redsill.

The QR, or quick response two-dimensional bar code platform, enables people to upload their own content to personalized pages, which could include photos, videos, and other recorded messages, he says.

Kashork envisions such a service will appeal to gift-delivery services, such as florists, that could receive the QR-coded messages via email and attach them to the delivery items. Under that scenario, the recipient, using a smartphone, would access a personalized message rather than a conventional message, which can seem less personal when it has to be transcribed by the florist.

—Mike McLean

Event planning venture launches in Spokane

Spokane resident Jennifer Evans has founded a business called Encore Events & Presentations to assist companies and nonprofits with event planning.

"I specialize in corporate events," Evans says. "I'm also doing work with nonprofits to help them produce more effective and creative fundraisers."

Evans formally launched the home-based business in January when she left a full-time position as director of marketing and events for Spokane-based magazine publishing company Bozzi Media.

She says the new company will help clients plan events that can increase a business's visibility and client base, such as grand openings, product launches, and customer recognition days.

She also plans to hold classes on event planning, marketing strategies, and public speaking. Such classes likely will be held for up to 30 people at a price of $29 each.

"For people who can't afford to hire me to plan their events, I'd love to teach them about how to use events to market their business," she adds.

Evans is the sole employee and will work with contractors, such as caterers and public relation companies. However, she says she likely will need to hire one or two part-time employees by mid-year.

She expects to have at least 10 projects under way by the end of February. The company offers a free consultation, after which Evans presents a detailed scope of work and flat-fee estimate for the work.

Prior to starting Encore, Evans produced events in Spokane for more than four years, both for Bozzi Media and previously as director of events for LaunchPad Inland Northwest.

—Treva Lind

Prospectors reopens under original owner

Prospectors Bar & Grill has reopened under the restaurant's original owners, Mike and Cheryl Didier.

The restaurant, located at 12611 N. Highway 395 in the Wandermere area, had been closed for about a month after its previous owners filed bankruptcy, Mike Didier says.

The Didiers took ownership of Prospectors Bar & Grill again Jan. 1.

The 12,600-square-foot restaurant seats about 400 guests and currently has 43 employees, 10 of whom were employed at the restaurant prior to closing, Didier says. He says he also rehired the chef who was with the restaurant when he and his wife originally owned it.

The restaurant features a new menu that Didier says largely consists of comfort food. He says the restaurant has a lounge area and an outdoor patio that seats about 60 people.

Didier says he leases the land and building and has seven years remaining on that lease.

Prospectors Bar & Grill opened in spring 2004. The Didiers owned the restaurant until selling it in September 2010. They don't have any current plans for expansion, he says.

—Jessica Valencia

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