Spokane Journal of Business

Small Business Watch

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Fifth Jacob's serves java on South Hill

Jacob's Java LLC has opened its fifth drive-through coffee outlet in a newly constructed structure at the northeast corner of 17th Avenue and Ray Street, on Spokane's South Hill, says Scott Jacob, who owns the Spokane company with his twin brother Paul Jacob.

The Jacob brothers head an investment group, Lucky Dog Coffee LLC, which recently bought the property at 1621 S. Ray. Spokane commercial real estate brokers Kevin Edwards, of Hawkins Edwards Inc., and Colin Conway, of Kiemle & Hagood Co., also members of the ownership group, handled the transaction.

Kofmehl Inc., of Spokane, built the 400-square-foot drive-through structure after demolishing a building on the site that was last occupied by a bakery outlet.

The stand has five employees. Altogether, Jacob's Java employs up to 30 people.

"Business is good, and the location we found is great," Jacob says.

Jacob's Java brews coffee from beans roasted by its proprietary supplier, Gemelli Coffee Co., of Spokane, which the brothers also own.

The Jacobs opened their first location at the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Washington Street in 1992.

Other Jacobs Java outlets are located at the northwest corner of Fairview Avenue and Market Street, in Hillyard; at 624 N. Sullivan, in Spokane Valley; and at 12806 W. Sunset Highway, in Airway Heights.

—Mike McLean

Valley fitness center moves to new space

A Personal Fit LLC, which operates as a Spokane Valley fitness center, will move March 2 into a larger space at 1300 N. Mullan after operating on Trent Avenue for almost three years.

Co-owner Amy Brantner says the newly leased 1,400-square-feet location allows room for personal training sessions and group fitness classes that include yoga, Zumba, and cardio.

"We're able to offer a lot more group classes now," she says. "Personal training services were previously offered out of my home and now will be moved to this location because of the bigger size."

While Brantner works as a personal trainer, she also helps her husband, Gregg Brantner, operate the business. They opened it in May 2010 in a 900-square-foot space at 11415 E. Trent.

Brantner says the business employs two other people, including a personal trainer and a Zumba instructor. It offers personal training sessions for individuals or small groups of two to four people to divide the cost, such as developing a month's plan for diet and exercise options.

Personal training ranges in cost from $35 to $45 per session. Small-group training ranges from $20 to $30 per person per session, she says. Group exercise classes cost $5.25 per class for four weeks of classes.

—Treva Lind

Children's thrift store moves to bigger suite

A Spokane Valley children's clothing and merchandise resale store, Once Upon A Child, has moved to a larger suite in the same retail center at 14401 E. Sprague, says Tom Lewis, who co-owns the business with his wife, Deb Strohmaier.

The two owners are franchisees, operating the retail outlet through a company named Dorby LLC.

The store previously occupied a 3,000-square-foot storefront in suite B of the retail building and has moved to a 5,100-square-foot leased space, occupying suites D and E, Lewis says.

Lewis and Strohmaier remodeled the space before moving in, including installing new carpet, repainting, and tearing down a wall dividing the two retail bays. He says they also remodeled the bathrooms and dressing rooms. Lewis estimates the remodeling cost at between $85,000 and $90,000.

Once Upon A Child had operated out of its previous retail space for six years, Lewis says. The new space previously was occupied by a Spokane Art Supply store, he says.

"We spent the entire time right there, and plan on staying there for quite a few more years," Lewis says.

The store has five full-time employees, including Lewis, and seven people working part time. Strohmaier doesn't work in the store, Lewis says.

The pair hope to expand the current store and are eyeing the option of opening Once Upon A Child stores on Spokane's North Side and in Coeur d'Alene.

The Once Upon A Child chain includes more than 260 in the United States and Canada. Minneapolis-based parent company Winmark Corp. also franchises Play It Again Sports, and Plato's Closet, among other business brands.

—Jessica Valencia

Artisan pizza eatery expands to Spokane

Fire Artisan Pizza, which started in Coeur d'Alene in July 2011, has expanded by opening a restaurant in downtown Spokane, at 816 W. Sprague.

The space previously was occupied by the Moxie restaurant, and the new restaurant opened there Jan. 30, says Fire Artisan Pizza co-owner Doug Johnson, of Coeur d'Alene.

The company completed a remodeling project valued at about $350,000 that gave the space architectural and design features similar to its Coeur d'Alene eatery, Johnson says. Hissong Design Group LLC, of Spokane, performed the design and renovation work for both 2,500-square-foot restaurants, Johnson says. The company now employs about 44 people overall, mostly part-time workers, he says.

The company is developing another Fire Artisan Pizza outlet in Kennewick, Wash., Johnson says. He says that eatery could open this summer.

Fire Artisan Pizza offers appetizers, salads, and pizzas from wood-fired ovens. Johnson co-owns the business with partners Paul Cartee, of Liberty Lake, and John Cardosa, of Phoenix.

The Coeur d'Alene restaurant is located at 517 E. Sherman.

—Treva Lind

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