Valley insurance firm grows, changes name
Starr Starr & Totton, a longtime independent insurance agency in Spokane Valley, has added a partner and changed its name to Starr Starr Totton & Brown, says Brian Starr, one of four principals there.
Kirby Brown, founder of the now-defunct Spokane Valley office of Moses Lake-based Basin Insurance Associates Inc., is the new principal at the renamed agency, which is located in a two-level building with 2,000 square feet of office space at 219 N. Pines, Starr says.
Brown's wife, Tracy, formerly co-owner of the Basin Insurance office here, also has moved to Starr Starr Totton & Brown, where she works as an agent, Starr says.
The other principals are Larry Totton and Starr's father, Jim Starr, who co-founded the agency 30 years ago.
Starr Starr Totton & Brown handles business, auto, home, life, and health insurance policies, and certain retirement investments.
The agency has nine agents including the principals.
Music-venue owners change name, location
T.C. and Patricia Chavez are opening a music venue named The Hop, in a two-level, 5,000-square-foot space at 706 N. Monroe that formerly was occupied by businesses such as the Merq, the Mercury Cafe, and Espresso Delicioso.
The Chavezes formerly operated the Cretin Hop at 1317 N. Howard, but T.C. Chavez says he closed it in December. In addition to a stage for concerts, the new venue will have a restaurant and lounge.
The Hop will have a renovated music stage, new paint, and new flooring, Chavez says. It will seat up to 200 patrons, and, when weather permits, will include a beer garden on a 2,000-square-foot patio, he says.
Besides the couple and three other family members, The Hop will have two employees.
Chavez says the musicians he plans to book there will encompass a mix of musical styles, including alternative, contemporary pop, and acoustic. He says he is new to food service, so the restaurant primarily will offer sandwiches at first.
Business services company moves
Business Cents LLC, a small-business services company that sells business software and offers business coaching and outsourced bookkeeping, has moved its office to a 700-square-foot space at 1328 N. Whitman Lane, in Liberty Lake, from a smaller space in a nearby business development center, at 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane.
Mark Anderson, co-owner of Business Cents, says he and his wife, Steffanie, previously owned a construction company in Camas, Wash., and a commercial laundry in Portland, Ore.
"We've always been entrepreneurs," Anderson says. He teaches sales and marketing, as well as budgeting and planning, through Business Cents, while his wife handles bookkeeping.
The business currently has one part-time and two full-time employees in addition to the owners. It recently added a second outside salesman. Anderson says he hopes to grow the business to 10 employees in the next two years.
He says the Liberty Lake business development center provided "a good starter office" for eight months after Business Cents moved there from a home office last year.
Spike's restaurant to open on Francis
A new restaurant, called Spike's, is set to open on Spokane's North Side later this month.
Tom Guthrie, who will own the restaurant with his wife, Kim, says the establishment will occupy a 6,500-square-foot building at 715 E. Francis that has been remodeled into a sports-themed, family-friendly eatery. The building formerly housed Thumpers Bar & Grill, which closed about a year ago, and before that had housed a Spaghetti Station restaurant.
Guthrie says Spike's will feature a menu with more than 20 different kinds of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. He says all of the bread and meat for the sandwiches will be shipped here from Philadelphia to create a "truly authentic" experience.
The menu will also include burgers, chicken wings, and other traditional American fare, he says.
The establishment will have seating for up to 220 people and is expected to employ between 30 and 40 full- and part-time workers, Guthrie says. Along with the restaurant, it will have a full bar, which Guthrie is calling Da Dog House, and will have 26 50-inch flat-screen televisions scattered throughout the building, he says.
Guthrie formerly was the owner of the Flamin' Joe's restaurant in Spokane Valley, at 11618 E. Sprague, which he says he sold about three years ago.
Massage therapy outlet relocates
Whispering Falls Massage Therapy has moved its Liberty Lake operation to 1,400 square feet of leased space in the new Liberty Lake Health & Wellness Center, at 1334 N. Whitman Lane, from 700 square feet of floor space at 22910 E. Appleway.
"We wanted to be in the new medical building coming to Liberty Lake, since we are medical massage," says owner Charity Montgomery.
Whispering Falls offers relaxation massage; clinical massage for automotive and work-related injuries and other health concerns; cupping massage, which is a traditional Chinese technique intended to increase blood circulation and relax muscle tissue; and hot rock massage, its website says.
The business operates from four locations. It opened its first office at 1301 N. Pines, in Spokane Valley, in 1997, and then in 2007 added two more offices, at 9671 N. Nevada in North Spokane and at Liberty Lake. Last year, it opened its fourth office, at 417 W. First, downtown. Whispering Falls has a total of 25 employees at the four locations, Montgomery says.
Coeur d'Alene couple starts yogurt business
A frozen yogurt shop, Jamms Frozen Yogurt, has opened in a 1,200-square-foot retail space at 3500 N. Government Way, in Coeur d'Alene.
Joe Seaman, who owns the shop with his wife, Lora, says, "We were looking for a business to do. We love yogurt. The business model worked, so we did it."
Jamms Frozen Yogurt has 12 employees in addition to the owners.
Although the Seamans opened the yogurt shop this month, they began promoting Jamms on social-media sites in November, about 10 weeks before opening.
"We've had tremendous response from Facebook, and pretty good response from Yelp," says Seaman, who formerly worked in warehouse logistics and purchasing in Coeur d'Alene.
The shop offers self-serve Yocream frozen yogurt in more than 45 different toppings.
Irish-themed eatery opens at Suncrest
Farrell's Bar & Grill has opened at 5919 Highway 291, in the Suncrest area, in a 2,200-square-foot space formerly occupied by Rios Downriver Grill.
Co-owner Ellie Farrell says she was working at Rios as a bartender when the space became available in September. She and her husband, Spokane attorney Tom Farrell, formed Farrell Restaurant LLC and opened the restaurant in December.
"It's a family-run business," Farrell says. Her brother, Ryan Miller, manages the kitchen, and her parents, Mel and Donna Miller, do dishes there on weekends, she says.
The restaurant portion of the building seats 48 people, and the bar has 49 additional seats. Farrell's has one full-time and 10 part-time employees, in addition to the owners.
The restaurant has an Irish theme, Farrell says. It serves Irish steak stew made with Guinness ale and plays Irish music. The remainder of the menu is "eclectic, because we want to give everybody an option," she says.
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