Virtual golf facility tees up at Riverwalk
Virtual Golf Spokane Inc., which has three golf simulators used for play on virtual courses or to analyze technique, has opened east of downtown Spokane in the Riverwalk Plaza complex.
Co-owner Rich King says he and partner Richard Souza launched the venture in early March at 1003 E. Trent in a nearly 2,000-square-foot retail space formerly occupied by a fly-fishing supply business.
Clients using the simulators can play on one of more than 50 different virtual golf courses, such as Pebble Beach in California, using real golf clubs and balls, King says.
Virtual Golf Spokane charges a flat fee per simulator of $25 per hour during weekdays, and $30 per hour on weekends. Up to a foursome can split the cost.
Additionally, he says the business offers group sessions, including beginning golf for women, which costs $50 per person for four one-hour sessions on Saturdays, and an $80 kids' camp for ages 8 to 16 that will cover six one-hour sessions. It also plans to offer its venue for fundraising activities, such as one now planned to support breast cancer research.
The business also can arrange for lessons with PGA professionals. Virtual Golf will charge a client an agreed-upon fee for the private lesson that includes the simulator, and the business pays the pro, King says.
"The cost varies, because PGA pros charge different rates," King says. "Generally, I've heard it might be about $40 for a 30-minute private lesson. The use of the simulator is included in that cost."
Virtual Golf employs three people, including Souza, who formerly worked at Esmeralda Golf Course, as operations manager, and two part-time workers. King is a partner but works as a regional sales manager for a company that builds websites for the private country club industry.
Candy retailer opens in River Park Square
Coeur d'Alene Chocolates LLC has opened a store at River Park Square downtown, its first Spokane shop, says manager Max Yeager.
The 900-square-foot store is located on the second level of the mall, at 808 W. Main, and is the third outlet for the company owned by Yeager's parents, Tim and Edena Yeager. The new location will employ two part-time workers in addition to Yeager.
The store offers 60 candy varieties, including truffles, soft peanut brittle, and butter creams. Yeager says in addition to selling chocolates and other candy, the shop will sell gifts such as scarves, jewelry, and chocolate-infused soap.
"We wanted to kind of broaden our horizons a little bit," Yeager says. "We're promoting ourselves as a luxury brand."
He says the store is decorated with art, a throwback to when the family wasn't handling chocolate.
"We started out as an art gallery before we were making chocolates, so having all the art in here is kind of like going back to our roots," he says.
Prior to moving into its new space, Coeur d'Alene Chocolates repainted it and installed new countertops, Yeager says.
Companywide, Coeur d'Alene Chocolates employs 11 people. Its other two stores both are in Coeur d'Alene, with its main store at 412 E. Sherman in downtown Coeur d'Alene. The other store is located at 3650 N. Government Way.
The Yeagers started the company in 2009.
Asian eateries debut at two Spokane malls
Two eateries operating as Miso Fresh Asian have opened recently in former Edo Japan locations inside food courts at NorthTown Mall and River Park Square.
Owners Jay Underwood, former franchisee owner of Edo Japan in Spokane, and his wife, Stephanie Vigil-Underwood, news anchor on KHQ-TV, opened the new Asian-themed eateries through their company, Takahashi Restaurants LLC.
Spokane-based Paint Room Studios, owned by Dawn Kiki and Catherine Boles, designed the restaurant upgrades. Yost, Mooney & Pugh Contractors Inc., of Spokane, handled the construction, and Brand It Advertising, of the Spokane Valley, provided logo and branding services.
Each store employs eight people.
Edo Japan is a franchise tied to a Canadian parent company. Underwood says that after operating an Edo Japan franchise at NorthTown Mall for 20 years, he wasn't able to secure a renewal of a franchise agreement.
He says the River Park Square franchise operated about eight years, and the company agreed to an early contract termination.
Performing theater premiers downtown
Stage Left Properties LLC has bought a 2,100-square-foot building at 108 W. Third and expects to host the first production in the newly remodeled theater later this month, says Stage Left owner Robert G. Nelson.
The theater will house Stage Left Theater Association, a nonprofit performing arts group, and will be available to rent for other theater groups.
"All the small groups had a hard time finding a place to perform, and my plan was to provide a theater for small groups at a reasonable cost," says Nelson.
He also says that the cost to attend the plays will most likely be around $10 in order to compete with the movie theaters.
The first production is "Marx in Soho," a play by Howard Zinn, on April 19, in which Nelson will be playing Marx.
"If you want a good part, build your own theater," he says jokingly.
The second production will be "Stuff Happens," a play by David Hare, scheduled in July.
Stage Left bought the building for $90,000, and about $200,000 went into the remodel. Erik Nelson, with Kiemle & Hagood Co., handled the transaction.
Bales Construction Inc. was the contractor on the remodeling project, and Don Henrichs, of Design Alliance, was the architect.
Robert Nelson is a physicist and also owns a medical software company, PDE Solutions Inc., which he moved here from California about six years ago.
Stage Left will host an open house on April 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. in anticipation of its first production.
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