Spokane Journal of Business

Restaurants and Retail: In Their Own Words


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Desiree Seghetti-Sulpizio • Commellini Estate and Event Restaurant • 14715 N. Dartford Dr., Spokane

Commellini Estate Venue and Event Restaurant has been in my family for 79 years, since Albert and Leda Commellini first opened the business in 1941.

The venue was remodeled in 2009 and reopened as primarily a wedding and event venue. Since then, we have added cooking classes and our gourmet product line, which is sold on location and at local farmer’s markets.

Normally, we are preparing the venue for an upcoming busy season of both indoor and outdoor events. With COVID-19, we have been forced to reschedule our March 20 through May 4 events, but our coordinators are still working hard to help plan the future weddings and events, as we are optimistic that all events in June and beyond will continue as planned.

In the meantime, to keep our hardworking and deserving team members employed, we have launched a more robust line of Meal Kits 2 Go, along with our Gourmet Retail Line, and are offering curbside pickup. Our team has been extremely creative, even hosting a drive-thru Easter egg hunt to not only provide a fun and safe community event, but to help rev up business and marketing for our product line and other local businesses.


Jordan Tampien • Barnwood Social LLC, Brothers Brewing LLC, Checkerboard Tavern LLC, and Too Small to Fail LLC Spokane

We all expected an economic correction at some point in 2020, but not like this.

It feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath and you’re left trying to pick up the pieces.

We’re all trying as best as we can to create our new normal as quickly as possible, and more than ever we’re relying on the community for support and hope.

Not a lot of business plans account for a 76% reduction in revenue even in a worst-case scenario. Well, we’re all basically operating in that worst-case scenario right now.

But instead of dedicating any time feeling down about where we are, I spend the days being proactive about the future. Every day I’m talking with my business partners Matt Goodwin and my brother, Joel, about finding new and more efficient ways to operate and better serve our clients.

Another portion of the day is dedicated to applying for Small Business Administration loans, reaching out to current and past clients while looking for opportunities for all of us to grow through acquisitions or the repurposing of existing properties.

The biggest local impact I see was the complete shutdown of most construction sites across the area creating an extended backlog of projects that will take several months to get going. Subcontractors have pushed their schedules out. So, when the stay-at-home order is eventually lifted, they will have to rehire, and then prioritize their projects, effectively stalling many good projects for our community.

It’s going to be a time-consuming process.


Clay Cerna • River City Kitchen, SweetBox Delivery;  • 221 W. First Ave. Spokane

 Here are some of the ways we’re trying to help out the community in Spokane in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic. During the stay-at-home order issued by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, we’re discounting our bagels by 50% and are offering Spokane residents a bagel loan – eat now and pay later.

We’re actually going to be extending our delivery range to include the rest of the U.S. soon, so please check out our SweetBox Delivery Facebook page, and website under the SweetBox Delivery name.

Another way we’re trying to help is through the commercial kitchen we opened a little while ago, River City Kitchen. Now through June, I’ll be suspending rent for all users of the kitchen in order to help our small businesses stay afloat during this outbreak. The hope is that without overhead to worry about any food truck, caterer, etc., businesses might be able to afford to keep as much staff as possible employed.

Kevin Blocker
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