Spokane Journal of Business

New Zip's restaurant being built along Trent in Spokane Valley

Restaurant is scheduled to be completed this fall, employ up to 25 people

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Zip's Trent LLC, of Spokane Valley, is building a 50-seat, 1,900-square-foot Zip's Drive-In restaurant at the northwest corner of Trent Avenue and Avalon Road, a block west of Evergreen Road.

Chad Fowler, who is co-owner of the planned restaurant with his father, Garry Fowler, says that construction began in late April, and the project owners are the general contractors for the restaurant at 13621 E. Trent. He says the eatery is expected to be completed by September. He declines to disclose the project value, but the city of Spokane Valley building permit for the project listed a $224,000 value.

Fowler says new construction of a Spokane-area Zip's Drive-In hasn't occurred for several years, although a few remodels of Zip's outlets have happened more recently.

The new restaurant is expected to employ between 20 and 25 people, mostly part time, he says.

A website for Zip's Drive-In restaurants lists 35 locations, a majority of which are in the Inland Northwest. All of the Zip's restaurants are privately owned and aren't considered franchise operations, Fowler says.

Robert "Zip" Zuber opened the first Zip's Drive-In restaurants in 1953 in Kennewick.

He later built a second store in Spokane that he sold in 1958. Today, longtime owners Ed Minor, Don Kelly, and Harold Fettig, along with members of their families and some former store managers, own and operate the eateries through different limited-liability corporations.

Fowler, who has worked as a Zip's district manager for some of the restaurants, is Ed Minor's grandson. He says his father, Garry Fowler, owns or has an ownership interest in six Zip's restaurants. They include a restaurant at 15808 E. Sprague, in Spokane Valley, and others in Colfax, Wash.; St. Maries, Idaho; Rathdrum, Idaho; Boise; and Post Falls.

Fowler says that the Zip's restaurant under construction is the first of the eateries for which he is an owner. Dan A. Schwalbe Inc., of Spokane Valley, designed the project.

"I was ready to build a store and be involved in a store," Fowler says. He adds that the location is attractive because of the amount of traffic on Trent. "It should be a good location for us."

Treva Lind
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