Spokane Journal of Business

Small Business Watch


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Sweet Frostings opens mall kiosk


Spokane-based baking company Frosting Cupcakes LLC, which does business as Sweet Frostings, has opened a 170-square-foot kiosk in the NorthTown Mall, at 4750 N. Division, says owner Sally Winfrey.

The kiosk is the fourth location for the business. Its flagship bakery occupies about 4,500 square feet in the Hutton Building, at 15 S. Washington downtown. It has another location north of Spokane, at 12501 N. Division, and an additional kiosk that opened about a year ago in the Spokane Valley Mall, says Winfrey.

Winfrey describes Sweet Frostings as a cake and cupcake bakery, but it also makes other goods. It bakes for weddings and operates a deli in its downtown location. The company’s best sellers are its cupcakes, followed by its macaroons. Both are available at the NorthTown kiosk, she says.

The company has about 35 employees, five of whom work at the NorthTown location.

Sweet Frostings’ NorthTown kiosk is open during mall hours. Typical mall hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. However, those hours will be extended on certain days during holiday season, she says.

—Samantha Peone



Aerospace publisher to debut magazine


Spokane Valley-based publisher Dean Cameron plans in February to publish the inaugural edition of Northwest Aerospace Newsmagazine, which will center on stories about all levels of aerospace suppliers.

“It’s a periodical that’s focused on those companies that are the ones that truly get the planes off the ground,” says Cameron, who retired after a 27-year career as a sales manager at Spokane-based Multifab Inc. 

As tier one aerospace companies, Airbus and Boeing are household names. However, the more than 2,000 contractors and suppliers across the Pacific Northwest aren’t nearly as well known, Cameron says.

He says he’s working with a half-dozen writers, most of whom are currently working in the aerospace sector.

He says he has established a mailing list of 5,000 industry professionals nationwide who have subscriptions.

Cameron says the magazine has both regional and national advertisers.

—Kevin Blocker 


Lilac City Bakery opens near Gonzaga


A new bakery has opened in what was formerly the White Box Café space at 1215 N. Ruby, near Gonzaga University.

The business, called Lilac City Bakery, is co-owned by Joe and Amber Owens, who also own two Celebrations Bakery shops and Casual Friday Donuts.

“We originally wanted to have a larger space for production and storage,” says Amber Owens. “Our other locations are smaller and don’t have the systems we needed for high-production, high-volume items.”

Owens says the couple began leasing the 2,200-square-foot space in June and put considerable effort into remodeling prior to its late October opening.

She says the shop currently has about 10 employees, some of whom move between Lilac City Bakery and the couple’s other bakery outlets.

Lilac City offers a large selection of baked goods, including cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, breads, muffins, scones, and cinnamon rolls. In addition to its bakery items, the shop also offers sandwiches, soups, and salads.

“We had planned on a production facility with a small retail section featuring items not available at our Celebrations locations,” she says. “But after opening, we also discovered customers in this area were looking for more lunch options, so we modified our business structure to more of a café setting.”

As the space’s previous occupant, White Box Café, was known for its gluten-free options, Owens says the couple also decided to add select gluten-free items.

“We recognized there was a huge market here for gluten-free stuff, so we’ve added a gluten-free flatbread as well as some gluten-free sweets,” she says.

Owens says the shop is doing well despite the challenges involved in expanding its menu and operations.

“It’s different from what we’re used to but we have a good rhythm going now,” she says. “All our customers seem pretty excited to have us in this space.”

—LeAnn Bjerken


Laser tag operator plans Valley arena


Strike Zone Arena, a Coeur d’Alene-based laser tag and dart arena operator, plans to open in a second location later this month in Spokane Valley.

The company, which operates as Strike Zone LLC, is owned by Chris Thomson and his wife, Jessica. The couple also own Bounce Time Rental, a Valley-based business that rents bounce houses and slides, as well as mobile laser tag equipment.

“We purchased Strike Zone from the former owners back in 2015, and we’re now taking this opportunity to expand the business into Spokane Valley,” says Thomson. “We live in the Valley, so we wanted this location to be close to home, a place where we can easily bring friends and family.”

Thomson says the Valley arena will be located in 12,000 square feet of leased space at 10614 E. Sprague, next door to a Rosauers supermarket. The new space is slightly larger than Strike Zone’s Coeur d’Alene location, which employs five people, he says. 

“We’re not sure yet how many people we’ll hire for the Valley space, as it depends on the volume of customers,” he says. “We’ll likely have around five employees there as well, but we are expecting this location to be a bit more popular than the first one.”

Thomson says the Valley arena will have one added feature the Coeur d’Alene arena lacks, an indoor soccer field.

“This type of business is very weekend orientated, as that’s when people tend to host gatherings and birthday celebrations,” says Thomson. “By adding indoor soccer, we’re hoping to give area soccer players a place to practice indoors during the off season, as well as hosting clinics and summer camps.” 

While he’s currently focused on preparing to open the Valley location, Thomson says he and his wife also hope to expand their inflatables business. 

“Maybe someday we’ll merge all of our entertainment businesses in one large indoor space,” he says. “But for now we’re just taking things one step at a time.”

—LeAnn Bjerken

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