Spokane Journal of Business

Small Business Watch


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Specialty garment retailer opens store

CustomFit Spokane LLC, a new retailer of garments with both medical-treatment and athletic uses, has opened its first store, CustomFit Compression Garments, on Spokane’s North Side, says Seattle-based co-owner Mike Donahue.

Located in Logan Square at 1601 N. Division, the store has just over 1,400 square feet of floor space.

Traditionally, Donahue says, compression garments have been used by people with swelling or vascular conditions. However, more recently, the garments have become popular with athletes as a way to support joints and increase blood flow, he says. Patients who come to the store will be fitted for the garments by CustomFit’s compression specialists, he says. 

Both Donahue and Spokane-based business partner Ryan Bishop have backgrounds in medical supply sales. Donahue also owns wholesale medical compression garment supplier North American Medical Inc. 

Donahue says he and Bishop wanted to move from the wholesale industry to the retail industry with this venture. He says the two originally thought about opening a wholesale business, but decided to go into retail so they could work directly with customers. 

The store currently has two employees, one of whom is compression specialist and fitter Joan Johnson. The company will be adding a third employee, Donahue says, and could possibly add more if demand rises. 

The partners also plan to open a store in Western Washington and another in Arizona, Donahue says. 

Guy Byrd, with Cornerstone Property Advisors LLC, represented Logan Square in the transaction, and Colin Conway, of Kiemle & Hagood Co., represented CustomFit in the transaction.

—Katie Ross

Malted dog-treats business launches

Spokane residents Peter Franz and Katie Wardall have started a dog-treat making business, called The Malted Mutt INW LLC, which uses recycled beer grains and all recycled packaging, Franz says.  

The couple launched the business in February from their North Side home, Franz says. 

Malted Mutt takes the grains left over from brewing beer and bakes them into dog treats, he says. 

“Usually they give it away to farmers for feed; we just take a five-gallon jug and turn it into batches and batches of dog treats,” Franz says. 

The grain is mixed with different organic ingredients, such as peanut butter and molasses, to make the treats, he says. The treats contain no alcohol, hops, wheat, soy, corn, or preservatives. Currently, Malted Mutt gets grain from local breweries, including River City Brewing, of Spokane, and English Setter Brewing Co., of Spokane Valley. 

Franz says the two came up with the idea for the company after finding a similar business while shopping in San Diego for a thank-you gift for their dog sitter. 

“We found a similar company, bought the treats and then decided there’s no one doing this in Spokane,” he says. “We were like, we love dogs and we love craft beer.”

Franz has a background in the bar industry as a bartender at Waddell’s Neighborhood Pub & Grille on the South Hill, where he still works part time. Wardall has a background in social media management and event coordinating, Franz says, and is working on Malted Mutt full time. 

—Katie Ross 

Vintage decor store relocates to Hillyard

After being in business for almost five years, Leslie Willmann and her husband, David Stillwell, owners of vintage furniture store Orphaned Décor, have moved the retail shop from 2030 N. Hamilton to 5210 and 5202 N. Market Street in Hillyard, to gain needed additional room. 

Together, the new spaces represent about 5,000 square feet of floor space, part of which is leased out to various vendors. Willmann says between the two spaces, there are 11 vendors who sell repurposed furniture, vintage items, and handmade gifts. 

Willmann says business has been “really good,” which has been both a blessing and a curse, but she declined to discuss revenue. 

“We just ran out of room at the other store,” Willmann says. “But it’s great to be up here with other antique dealers. We have a big following on Facebook and we’ve had additional traffic from walk-ins who go up and down antique alley up here.” 

Willmann and her husband sell older furniture they rebuild, refurbish, and repurpose, as well as custom pieces. Willmann, formerly a nursing director, says she retired after 25 years in that profession to open the retail store on north Hamilton Street in 2009. She and her husband do all the work on the furniture as well as sales. 

“We kind of do everything,” she says. “We’ve kind of always done this on the side. We do custom paint jobs for people, and we’ve been doing that for about 13 years.”

Willmann says the store name just kind of popped into her head one day. She says it just seemed right for their kind of business.

“The name just came to me,” she says. “Because we sell stuff that’s been left behind and we take it and make it new again.”

Willmann also carries a line of chalk paint and waxes and teaches classes in how-to use chalk paint to refurbish old furniture. 


—Judith Spitzer

Restaurateur opens Papa John’s outlet

Spokane restaurateur Matt Goodwin has opened a new Papa John’s Pizza store at 2926 S. Regal, on Spokane’s South Hill, under the business name of Big Papa S. LLC.

Goodwin says he will have eight full-time employees and 14 part-time employees at the 1,400-square-foot outlet, which will be open seven days a week. Goodwin says he is excited to be opening the store on the South Hill.

“It’s certainly a great location, and we think the community will be happy with this new great food option,” Goodwin says. “We think this is a good time to be opening a new business here in Spokane.” 

Papa John’s Pizza offers carry-out and delivery of precooked pizza products, which start at about $12. The store also offers side dishes and desserts. 

Papa John’s Pizza is a franchise founded in 1983 by “Papa” John Schnatter in Jeffersonville, Ind. Today there are more than 4,000 Papa John’s Pizza restaurants, including more than 3,200 in the U.S. and two others in the Spokane area. 

In addition to the new Papa John’s restaurant, Goodwin owns the Volstead Act, a craft cocktail bar at 12 N. Post, and Fast Eddies Bar and Grill, at 1 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., as well as the Boiler Room, an artisan pizza restaurant and bar at 6501 N. Cedar, in the File Mile area of northwest Spokane. 


—Judith Spitzer

Rusty Moose Gifts opens on South Hill

A&T West LLC, doing business as the Rusty Moose Country Gifts, has opened a new home décor and gift store at 3028 S. Grand Blvd., on Spokane’s South Hill, says owner Angela Solinsky. 

Solinsky is leasing 2,500 square feet of space for the store, which is located across Grand Boulevard from the Manito Tap House. The store sells various gift items such as candles, wicker baskets, decorated wine glasses, and purses, as well as small furniture and other home décor items such as pillows, framed artwork, and guest towels.

Solinsky opened the store on April 11, and currently employs four people there, three of them full time and one part-time, as well as her husband, Terry, who handles marketing for the business.

Solinsky says she has been a business manager for several companies through the years and is talented in home decorating. She says she travels to gift shows in Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, and Las Vegas to buy merchandise for the new store. She uses many antiques to display her merchandise, but says all of her products are new rather than repurposed or vintage.


—Judith Spitzer

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