Spokane Journal of Business

2018 Rising Stars: Ramsey Pruchnic

Entrepreneur ramps up his startup quickly after return from West Side

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-—Natasha Nellis
Ramsey Pruchnic started Strategy Labs in January in downtown Spokane, then co-founded Hello Sugar doughnut shop in Kendall Yards with his wife, Amy, in June.

Ramsey Pruchnic, 31, describes himself as both a creative thinker and a serial entrepreneur, having established two new businesses in Spokane—an online marketing company and a donut shop—within less than a year. 

Pruchnic says that for him, being a good leader is first about serving the people you lead.

“It’s about recognizing people’s strengths and needs and creating a work environment that allows them to feel fulfilled,” he says. “You have the most success when everyone is moving in the same direction, toward the same goals.”

Pruchnic holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Eastern Washington University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University. He spent several years living in Seattle, working in social media and online marketing at Microsoft Corp. 

Pruchnic says he and his wife, Amy, moved back to Spokane in 2016, with the intention of setting down some roots.

“In returning to Spokane, we wanted to develop businesses here that would create jobs and opportunities in both the industries we work in,” he says.

Upon returning to Spokane, Pruchnic spent time as vice president of relationship marketing and marketing systems for Red Lion Hotels, helping develop the company's loyalty program and online advertising.

“I came to realize there was a void here for a data-driven agency that could help companies to optimize their brand,” he says. “That gave me the confidence to start my own company.”

Pruchnic founded the online marketing company, Strategy Labs, in January.

“We help brands achieve business goals through online advertising,” he says. “Our focus is on building strong, mutually beneficial relationships with clients, so that our business grows through helping them to grow theirs.”

While his specialty is online and digital marketing, Pruchnic says he gets the most enjoyment out of building something new.

“The best part for me is being able to build things and put my own stamp on them,” he says. “With Strategy Labs, there was no starting recipe, and we’ve had to build our own systems and processes.”

In its first eight months, Pruchnic says Strategy Labs has grown from two employees to a 12-person staff and works with both local companies like The Great PNW and The Hardware Hut, as well as larger, national brands like Premera Blue Cross and
Fiserv Inc.

“I see the fact that we were able to start and grow so quickly as a great success for us as well as our clients,” he says. “A lot of businesses struggle in their first year, but we’ve created a stable, strong organization that continues to grow.”

In June, the Pruchnics co-founded the Hello Sugar doughnut shop, located at 419 N. Nettleton in the Kendall Yards neighborhood.

Going forward, Pruchnic says he hopes to continue to grow both businesses.

“I’d like to make Strategy Labs into a leader in digital marketing not just here, but nationally as well,” he says. “Hello Sugar has taken off like wildfire, so we also plan to further develop that brand by adding a second, Spokane Valley location.” 

With three children, a 10-acre farm in Spokane Valley, and two growing new businesses, Pruchnic says it’s sometimes a challenge to find a good work-and-life balance. 

“Regardless of career, it’s a challenge to find ways to streamline, and leaders sometimes have trouble letting go and delegating,” he says. “The key is to stay aware of it and use that awareness to help yourself and your employees keep a healthy balance.”

LeAnn Bjerken
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Reporter LeAnn Bjerken covers health care at the Journal of Business. A Minnesota native and cat lover, she enjoys beachside vacations and writing poetry. LeAnn has worked for the Journal since 2015.

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