The newest iteration of The Man Shop barbershop has opened in 1,500 square feet of space at 2 W. Third in the recently completed Peppertree Plaza retail center downtown.
Co-owner Mike Howe says the relocation from another space along Third Avenue, three blocks to the east of its new home, has resulted in a 13 percent increase in revenue for that store in its early weeks.
“We’ve got what we’re looking for … central downtown, high volume traffic, and located in a new building,” Howe says. “In less than a month, it’s already the crown jewel among our stores.”
Howe declines to reveal store revenues and wouldn’t disclose annual revenues for the seven other barbershops he owns with business partner, Joe Lobb. They’re currently running five barbershops in Spokane, another in Pullman, and one in Missoula. Howe says the barbershops employ roughly 45 people in all.
The latest barbershop has a regulation-size basketball hoop standing 10 feet off the ground. Those waiting for haircuts or shaves can participate in free-throw shooting contests before getting trimmed, Howe says. A pool table, free video games, and a big-screen television are also available.
It’s been 12 years since the first store opened for business, and Howe says he’s still shocked by The Man Shop’s success.
“I can honestly say I never saw myself running barbershops. But it still makes perfect sense. I was going to a foo-foo salon, and Joe was at a place where he had his kids crawling across his lap,” Howe says. “It seemed like a brilliant idea where guys could go to a place, bring their guns and ammo, read Maxim, not talk if they didn’t want to and get their haircut.”
Spokane-area franchisees Barry and Sheri Kantner have opened their first Five Star Painting franchise here.
The couple is operating the painting business out of their home office, using the company’s online customer service center to book appointments. While most of their work is residential, the business occasionally takes on commercial painting jobs.
“We purchased the franchise this past December, but with licensing, training, and a number of other things, it took some time to get operational,” Barry Kantner say. “It was a busy eight weeks.”
The franchise serves the Spokane metro area, including Spokane Valley, and eastward all the way to the Idaho border. Kantner says the company is using subcontracted crews while it’s in the startup phase, but it will be looking to hire its own employees as business grows.
He says all first appointments involve a free estimate, with detailed measurements and discussions of color, number of coats needed, and type of paint.
“We do all of that on-site, and print the customer an estimate before we leave,” he says.
Kantner isn’t a painter himself, but says he has previous experience in working with startup companies, mostly in the telecommunications space. He and his family moved here in 2002, and this is their first foray into the painting business.
“I like franchises because they usually have great support systems behind them,” says Kantner. “Five Star in particular really honors their code of values, and I was impressed by that.”
Five Star is a painting company with more than 120 franchise territories across the U.S. and Canada. In 2015, The Dwyer Group—a service-based franchise company based in Waco, Texas—acquired Five Star Painting.
Barry Black and his wife, Kim Black, are working toward opening V Twin Brewing Co., at 2302 N. Argonne in Spokane Valley.
The brewpub will occupy 1,500 square feet of space next to a McDonald’s restaurant on Argonne, just north of Interstate 90. Barry Black says he and his wife will be the only employees to start. The brewpub will be able to accommodate up to 45 patrons comfortably.
“The equipment has been ordered, and we’re waiting for our federal license,” says Black. “We’re hoping to open in late July or early August.”
The Blacks will use a three-barrel brewing system they’ve ordered from Colorado Brewing Systems.
The kettles will be electric rather than gas powered, he says. Gas-powered kettles are the most common form of brewing, but electric brew systems are beginning to gain more popularity among brewers across the country for energy-efficiency reasons, Black says.
Black is passionate about Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and V Twin Brewing—referring to the engine configuration on Harleys—will have a motorcycle theme.
At present, Barry works full time at a Numerica Credit Union branch, and Kim works full time in the medical industry, he says.
Boise-based brand agency Pith Works LLC has expanded its reach in the Pacific Northwest by hiring Spokane-based Cher Merrill, as an account executive, says founder and owner Brandon Reidhaar.
Pith Works specializes in branding, marketing, search engine optimization, creative design, content management and motion design. The company’s clients include AT&T Inc., Micron Technology Inc. and Purina, but small-business owners make up the majority of its clients.
Merrill served as the director of public relations for Spokane-based Associated Industries from 2007 to 2014 before starting her own company, MerrillCom Communications. Reidhaar says he found Merrill on the business social media website LinkedIn.
Merrill praises Pith Works, which has a staff of seven full-time employees, as a “savvy young firm.” She says she and Pith Works are passionate about helping small businesses expand their reach to grow their customer base. She is one of three Pith Work contract employees across the Northwest and has been with the company for four months.
Reidhaar says the company worked out an agreement where Merrill can continue to operate her own company here while avoiding any potential conflicts of interest. He and co-owner Sean McDonald founded Pith Works in 2012. He says he is familiar with businesses in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.
“Spokane and Boise are very similar in size and both are experiencing strong business growth,” says Reidhaar, who has family connections in North Idaho.
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