Spokane Journal of Business

Small Business Watch: November 25, 2009

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Martial arts school moves to larger space
Allen and Stephanie Gast have moved their business, Paradigm Martial Arts, from their home to a leased 1,150-square-foot space at 1510 N. Argonne, in Spokane Valley.

Allen Gast says he taught martial arts at Defense Arts Academy here for more than five years before starting his own school in a 280-square-foot home studio in May 2008. He says he has seen many positive changes in his students through their involvement in martial arts, and he wants to expand that influence.

Gast says he teaches tae kwon do, hapkido, and judo to students aged three to "can't move anymore." He also offers free women's self-defense classes every third Saturday of the month. Stephanie helps teach the Little Dragons class for ages three to six.

Gast says his future plans include offering bully prevention workshops for children, hosting two local martial arts tournaments yearly, and working with local companies that want to offer martial arts classes to their employees as part of their benefit packages.

Wholesale jeweler moves, adds retail
Kissinger Von Herr Co., a Spokane wholesale jeweler, has moved its offices to 9725 N. Division, where it plans to open a small retail showroom.

The company began operating in its new wholesale space at the beginning of November, office manager Kendra Glover says.

The company is owned by Scott Kissinger, and does mainly wholesale jewelry repair, sizing, and redesign work for Spokane-area retail jewelers. It will continue to focus on its wholesale business, but add a small retail space at its new location, Glover says.

At 900 square feet, Kissinger Von Herr's new leased space is almost twice the size of the space it leased for 15 years at 220 E. Wellesley, Glover says. The company employs five people, and doesn't plan to add any staff members, she says.

Kneubuhler opens ski museum, human performance center

Former Loulou's Sports Shop owner Louis "Loulou" Kneubuhler says he has started a nonprofit venture, The Ski Museum of Spokane & Human Performance Center, in part of a 16,000-square-foot building he owns at 428 E. Pacific.

The new enterprise, which Kneubuhler says he will operate by himself, occupies about 1,000 square feet of floor space there for now, but he says he hopes to expand it to about 10,000 square feet eventually. Kneubuhler, who is at retirement age, says he views the museum as a legacy, adding that the Spokane area has been good to him.

The museum will include displays outlining the history of western U.S. ski resorts, the development of the skiing industry, and the evolution of skis, boots, and bindings, he says. The museum is dedicated to the memory of Richard "Dick" Moss, a longtime ski racing supporter here, he says.

Through the Human Performance Center, Kneubuhler says he will work with people on physical conditioning and recovery, mostly through classes. "It's not just for skiers. It's for anybody who wants to take care of their bodies. It's all about prevention," he says.

The museum will be open weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and human performance instruction will be offered by appointment. Kneubuhler says he doesn't plan to charge any fees for either the ski museum or human performance center instruction initially.

Accountant, doctor buy assets, to run Two Wheel Transit
An accountant and a doctor here—both avid bicyclists—have bought the assets of longtime Spokane bicycle shop Two Wheel Transit Inc., which is located at 1405 W. First, west of downtown.

Geoff Forshag, a certified public accountant, and Dr. Bruce Abbotts, a pediatrician, say they'll continue to operate Two Wheel Transit at its present location through a new company, Abbotts Forshag Investment LLC. Forshag and Abbotts bought the business's assets earlier this month from Steve Loveland, Forshag says.

The store is a dealer for Trek Bicycle Corp., which makes Trek and Gary Fisher bicycles, and also sells Bontrager clothing, as well as cycling parts and accessories.

The business also offers full-service bicycle repairs and maintenance for any type or brand of bicycle.

The shop's new owners say they have created what they'll call a bicycle fitting studio there. Two Wheel Transit now will include the service with all of its bike sales. The shop occupies about 2,200 square feet of leased space on its main retail floor, and has about 2,000 square feet of basement storage space, he says.

Two Wheel Transit has two full-time employees and two part-time employees.

Forshag operates a consulting business called Strategic Advisory Services LLC. Abbotts works at Valley Young People's Clinic.

Wayne Vinson moves CPA office to NW Blvd.
Wayne E. Vinson CPA PS has moved his offices from 1310 N. Maple to a 3,000-square-foot building at 2132 W. Northwest Blvd. that he says he purchased from Elizabeth St. Clair for $230,000 and renovated for about $150,000.

"We've been looking at buildings for a couple of years," Vinson says. "We really needed some more room."

Vinson founded his CPA firm in 1993. It employs four full-time and eight part-time employees during tax season, and cuts back to four full-time and four part-time employees the rest of the year, Vinson says.

It offers tax preparing, consulting and planning, accounting and payroll services, audit services, and training in Quickbooks software.

Vinson says he hired Lilac City Construction Inc., of Spokane, to help renovate the building. The work included tearing out walls, replacing the electrical system, and remodeling ceilings, walls, and floors.

A beauty salon and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation counseling center formerly occupied the building.

Pizza restaurant set to open on Perry
South Perry Pizza Co. is preparing to open "within the next few weeks" at 1011 S. Perry, pending final inspections by the city of Spokane, says Krista Kautzman.

She and her parents, Pat and Sue Kautzman, have been renovating the 2,000-square-foot building on the property, formerly owned by Bozo Construction LLC, which they purchased in January for $120,000.

Krista, who recently graduated from Western Washington University, in Bellingham, and her mother, who is a labor and delivery nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital, will own the restaurant.

"We wanted to do something there that would contribute to the neighborhood," Krista says. "We wanted a communal place where people can come and socialize with people they live near."

The restaurant plans to offer a simple menu of salads, appetizers, house pizzas, and desserts. It has applied for a license to serve beer and wine. Krista says it will have two full-time and eight part-time employees.

Pottery studio opens outlet, its third overall, at River Park Square
Polka Dot Pottery has opened a third local studio, in a 1,900-square-foot leased space in River Park Square and is developing a 600-square-foot adjacent space for a classroom.

Owner Kimberly Geiger says, "I thought I would expand to Coeur d'Alene, but this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

She says the River Park Square location is a good place to sell her own pottery creations, whereas her other two studios, at 2714 W. Northwest Blvd. and 118 S. Pines, focus on selling bisque, or unfired pottery that her customers can paint, holding classes, and hosting events such as birthday parties and ladies' nights out.

Geiger says she owns the 1,800-square-foot building on Northwest Boulevard, where she opened her first studio in 2003, and the 3,000-square-foot building on Pines, where she opened a studio in 2007. She has one full-time employee and five part-time workers, and hires additional temporary help for large events.

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