Small Business Watch
-March 12th, 2015
Hayden woman buys leak-locating service
Hayden, Idaho, resident Margaret Cassidy has acquired the American Leak Detection franchise for the Spokane area and North Idaho from longtime owners Joe and Patti Godwin.
ALD offers water, sewer, and gas leak detection services. Cassidy finished training in December 2014 to become a certified “original leak specialist” and formed the new ALD operation.
“I knew I wanted a change in my life,” said Cassidy, who spent 25 years in international manufacturing, in a press release about the transaction. She said being able to operate the franchise is ideal for her because she’s always wanted to operate her own business.
American Leak Detection of the Inland Northwest, as the franchise is named, employs five people and offers services throughout much of the Idaho Panhandle and to locations in Eastern Washington as distant as the Tri-Cities, Yakima, Moses Lake, and Wenatchee. Cassidy says 19 water districts operate in Eastern Washington, and her team of leak specialists and technicians covers all of them.
Cassidy says other ALD franchises primarily offer services to residential and industrial clients, but she hopes to expand into municipal and rural services as well.
She says her team has two trucks that employees use to visit client locations, and she plans to acquire a third truck.
Board game-themed café slated downtown
Jennifer DeHart, a mother of two with 16 years of experience in the hospitality trade and three years in retail management, plans to open a board game-themed café in downtown Spokane called Around the Board Café. She has a Kickstarter campaign to raise $8,500 for it that’s due to end March 15.
The shop’s opening isn’t contingent on the success of the Kickstarter campaign, DeHart says.
She says she is in lease negotiations for a location in downtown Spokane, and adds that she hopes to open Around the Board by mid-April. Around the Board will feature a wall dedicated to finding Waldo in Where’s Waldo, a large chalkboard wall for Pictionary, and four built-in tabletop games, she says.
DeHart says she plans on having an extensive library of board games at her café so that customers can come and play for free. The entire décor of the building, says DeHart, will be board game themed; the café logo even is inspired by the board game Sorry.
On her Kickstarter page, titled “Around the Board, a Board Game Cafe,” DeHart describes Around the Board as “an awesome place for an all-around relaxed, fun environment,” with menu items including espresso, sandwiches, and baked goods.
“My main focus is to have something family-friendly,” she says.
Online talk show set to launch here
Spokane Talks Online, a 24-hour, online business and news radio station, plans to launch here March 30.
The website, SpokaneTalksOnline.com, will offer live streaming audio and video, podcasts available on YouTube and iTunes, and iPhone and Android phone apps.
Kent Adams, a Spokane broadcast veteran and executive producer of Talk Radio West, is the executive producer of Spokane Talks.
Last summer, Talk Radio West took morning radio time at KJRB 790-AM for a talk-radio program targeted at baby boomers. Adams says the company ceased operations in November due to costs, but found that the program’s content was popular, so it decided that switching from radio to the Internet would be both convenient and cost effective.
Spokane Talks Online is “an offshoot from what we’ve been doing the past couple years,” says Adams. He says from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Spokane Talks will have a variety of talk shows covering local business and community happenings.
Former KJRB programs, such as “Business Talks” that Adams hosted, will be offered by the new online station, as well as entertainment, real estate, and health segments, among others. Spokane Talks intends to steer away from sports and politics, says Adams, since it is already covered extensively. He says he hopes that continued coverage of local business and news topics will provide an opportunity for more conversation within the community.
The primary target audience of Spokane Talks will be men and women ages 25 to 65 who have access to the Internet and are involved in social media, says Adams. At night and during early-morning hours, Spokane Talks will play oldies music, from the 1950s and ’60s, he says.
Spokane Talks is working to finalize a downtown location for its studio, Adams says.
Cider maker sees growth, adds staff
Liberty Ciderworks, a hard-cider house located at 164 S. Washington in downtown Spokane, expects to see its sales more than double this year, says co-owner and cider maker Rick Hastings.
The company has hired a sales manager and hopes to add a full-time cider maker in the future, he says.
The sales manager, Kaci Pratt, has worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years. Her responsibilities include meeting with current customers, finding restaurants to put Liberty’s cider on the menu, and traveling to Seattle where Liberty Ciderworks also distributes.
Hastings says he and co-owner/business manager Austin Dickey both have full-time day jobs, so they aren’t able to get out to promote their products as much as they would like. Liberty Ciderworks self distributes, he says, so it was important to have a full-time employee who could meet with clients.
“We’re excited about (Kaci) coming on,” says Hastings.
He adds that Pratt’s experience in the restaurant industry lends itself well to the cider business, since “cider pairs wonderfully with a number of foods.”
Liberty Ciderworks makes English and American style, hand-crafted hard ciders from locally grown apples.
Corefit relocates to larger quarters
Corefit Inc., a locally owned fitness center, has moved to a larger, recently remodeled 5,500-square-foot building at 225 S. Hatch, just east of downtown Spokane.
Formerly located downtown, Corefit opened at its new location Feb. 1, says founder and master trainer Kurt Salquist.
Corefit is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, providing workouts that Salquist says are a hybrid of the popular Crossfit workout philosophy. He says his team also provides boot camp workouts, personal training, and nutrition guidance.
Moving to a larger building “gives the opportunity to create more with our workouts,” says Salquist, adding that fitness center also has been able to add more equipment since the new Corefit building is almost three times as big as its former space.
Corefit originally opened in 2008, and Salquist says it has been growing ever since. The ‘Core’ in Corefit, is an acronym for Cross-training with Obstacles, Resistance, and Endurance, says Salquist.
“We have built a great community here,” says Salquist, he adds that safety and injury prevention is a key component for workouts at Corefit.
The fitness center will hold a grand opening March 28 that will start at 9 a.m. with an open workout for anyone in the community.
Vegan restaurant to open this month
Allie’s Vegan Pizzeria and Café, plans to open later this month in a leased, 1,800-square-foot building at 4803 N. Nevada, on Spokane’s North Side, says owner Atania Gilmore.
Gilmore says she wants to offer a new look into vegan food; she says she wants to show people they can have “real food” that is still vegan.
“A lot of people say to me, ‘Don’t you get tired of salads?’” says Gilmore, adding that a vegan diet isn’t entirely restrictive. It means no food with animal products.
Gilmore says Allie’s will offer what she calls familiar foods, such as pizza with dairy-free cheeses and peppers, and some more adventurous dishes, like Thai peanut pizza with crispy tofu, or a macaroni-and-cheese pizza. She says it also will offer cold sides and salads, hot soups, local craft beers and wines, espresso, and made-to-order organic juices.
Pizza dough will be made fresh every day, and Gilmore says the restaurant will use a gas-fired brick oven for a more New York-style pizza.
Allie’s will employ around 12 people, and Gilmore says she may hire more, as the restaurant will open every day for lunch and dinner.
The restaurant will have two seating areas, one of them a large space and the other more enclosed area that Gilmore says can be used for meetings and get-togethers. The restaurant walls feature art from local artists, which Gilmore says they will rotate through to showcase various artists.
Gilmore says her main goal is to offer the community healthy food that is still appealing.
Former C of C exec starts own business
Certified health coach Eldonna Shaw-Davis, who formerly served as president and CEO of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, has launched a new business with her husband, Larry Davis, called Food Flavor Fit.
Food Flavor Fit is designed to offer classes providing recipes, resources, and tips on cooking healthy. Shaw-Davis also will offer individual health coaching and is writing a blog, foodflavorfit.com, which will include her recipes, health tips, and local food news.
“I want to help people enjoy cooking at home with attention to lower calories,” says Shaw-Davis, “as well as demonstrate that healthy food can taste good.”
Starting March 21, Food Flavor Fit will hold classes at 11 a.m. every other Saturday in the community room at Sprague Union Terrace, at 1420 E Sprague. Each class will last 90 minutes and will involve discussion, demonstrations, and tastings, says Shaw-Davis.
Shaw-Davis says she became a certified health coach last summer through the Center for Obesity Prevention and Education at Villanova University and Take Shape for Life.
Prosthetics, orthotics clinic opens in Valley
Evergreen Prosthetics & Orthotics LLC, based in Portland, Ore., has opened a clinic in Spokane Valley.
Located at 626 N. Mullan, the 800-square-foot branch is intended to serve patients locally so they don’t have to travel elsewhere for the prosthetics and orthotics services and products, says Matt Hammond, the company’s business development manager.
Hammond says services provided at the new Valley location include prosthetic and orthotic evaluations, off-the-shelf and custom bracing, custom-made diabetic shoe inserts, and custom designed and fabricated artificial limbs. He says Evergreen also offers support groups and one-on-one consultations.
The Valley branch of Evergreen P&O is led by licensed prosthetist/orthotist Alexandra Gates.
Evergreen P&O was founded in 2005, says Hammond, and has become one of the largest privately owned P&O practices in the Northwest, with 10 clinics in Oregon and Washington.
Stir Krazy Coffee plans outlet here
Stir Krazy Coffee Co., which was established in Lacey, Wash., in 2009, plans to open a coffee shop this month in a leased space at 3145 E Trent.
Owner Rannae Cooper says she has family and friends in Spokane, so she knows this area and visits often. After spending time here, she says, she thought Spokane would be a good area to expand her business with a second outlet.
Cooper says the 200-square-foot Spokane coffee shop will start out with three employees, and they will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closed on Sundays.
Cooper says she plans to offer the same food and drink items here as at her Lacey location.