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Hawkins eases from day-to-day duties

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East Wenatchee

Hawkins eases from day-to-day duties

Buell Hawkins, longtime co-owner of Valley Tractor and Rentals, announced July 6 that he’s hammered out how and when he’ll give up the reins of running the business.

That doesn’t mean that Hawkins, 63, is retiring exactly. He’ll act as a manager emeritus. But it does mean that Dale Hall, 28, with a work history in ag production, will assume day-to-day management responsibilities on Jan. 1.

I didn’t want to die sitting here at this desk with no transition plan in place,” said Hawkins. “So here I am — transitioning.”

Hawkins joined Valley Tractor in 1979 and a decade later became a partner in the business with Brian Nelson. Since then, the pair have built their tractor sales-and-service business into one of the largest dealerships in North Central Washington. The store has 28 employees, with 22 of those working full time.

An industry survey released late last year showed that 56 percent of all tractors sold in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties in 2011 were Kubotas from Valley Tractor, reported Hawkins. The store has also had consistently high industry rankings in customer service, he said.

Hawkins said 2011 was a record year in sales and profits for the 66-year-old company.

My philosophy for success is to work hard to maintain customers for life,” said Hawkins. “And it’s working. Right now, in some cases, some families have been our customers for four generations.”

Kubota also announced July 6 that Valley Tractor had won the company’s Kaizen Award, an honor based on performance in sales, branding and growth in market share. Only about 27 percent of Kubota’s 1,100 dealerships earned the honor this year.

This award is a commitment to continuous improvement and growth,” said Jeff Evans, Kubota’s regional manager, who presented the award. “And these guys deserve it.”

Valley Tractor opened its doors in 1946 and has, over the decades, offered a variety of tractor brands, including Ford and John Deere. Over the last two years, the store made the switch from John Deere to Kubota, completing the transition at the beginning of this year.

New manager Dale Hall, the son-in-law of co-owner Brian Nelson, is a Wenatchee High School grad who attended the University of Texas-Arlington on a baseball scholarship and graduated in 2009 with an MBA. Since then, he’s worked as a product supervisor for ConAgra Foods and a manufacturing supervisor for Tree Top.

Hall started work full time at Valley Tractor on June. 1. For the next six months, he’ll be rotating through and learning the ropes of the company’s five departments — parts, sales, service, administration and rentals. He’ll take the manager’s chair at the beginning of next year.

Profiles of two new businesses:


Open: Bella Vita

Owner: Shayna Olson

What: A salon that embodies the allure of the city

Where: 521 South Chelan Ave.

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or later by appointment

What you’ll find: “The beautiful life, a place for beautiful people,” says owner Shayna Olson. After living and working in Seattle, Olson wanted to bring city style to Wenatchee. This is especially apparent in Bella Vita’s interior, which comes from a salon near Pike Place market. You may even smell the flowers and fresh fruit of Pike Place Market when you walk through the door. The salon sees more than 20 customers per day who receive haircuts, color, or facial waxes. Bella Vita also offers a variety of hair and beauty products, including an organic line.

Any surprises? Recent issues of Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan are on the countertops, ensuring that you and your hair are fully entertained, not to mention well educated.

Contact: Call 888-3933 or visit their Facebook page.


Open: Froyo Earth

Owner: Steve Kraft

What: An eco-friendly frozen yogurt shop

Where: 283 Highway 2, Leavenworth

When: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

What you’ll find: More than 50 toppings, including peppermint patties, chocolate-covered pretzels, mini-macaroons, peach rings, and fruit of all kinds (including juicy raspberries). Froyo Earth also offers a variety of delicious swirled flavors. The shop strives for a “treat well, be healthy” philosophy and lessons learned from Mother Nature. Its froyo is stored in cartons made of recycled materials, and customers are offered recycled paper cups for their creations. You can even put your froyo in a waffle cone, which your body gladly recycles after you gobble it up. Froyo Earth leaves few environmental traces, maybe just a few dribbles on your lederhosen.

Any surprises? Froyo Earth was the first of its kind in Eastern Washington when it opened in downtown Spokane three years ago. It has five locations, and an upcoming store in Chelan. For those of you who are confused, the word “froyo” isn’t referring to a yo-yo from Antarctica. “Froyo” is another way to say frozen yogurt. Use this phrase when you’re feeling especially hip, which is everyday at Froyo Earth.

Contact: 888-7201, or visit froyoearth.com, or the company’s Facebook page.


New financial services firm opens

A local accounting firm has a new name, new location and its owner new credentials.

The Resource, a 15-year-old accounting and financial services firm, has been renamed Augustedge by owner Tricia McCullough, who’s now a CPA.

The firm has new offices at 521 S. Chelan Ave., Suite B.

Augustedge’s services includes tax returns, bookkeeping, payroll, insurance, technology solutions, business succession, retirement planning and executive consulting. Augustedge also conducts training and seminars.

McCullough received her certified public accountant’s license earlier this year. She’s lived in the Wenatchee Valley since 2006 and founded her accounting firm in 1997.

For more info, call 494-8500 or visit august-edge.com or the firm’s Facebook page.


Tom Campbell joining family’s resort

Tom Campbell has returned home to help run his family’s fifth-generation resort on Lake Chelan.

Campbell, a Seattle real estate appraiser who specialized in hotels, has joined his father Art, brother Eric, aunt Sally and cousin Clint in day-to-day operations of the 111-year-old Campbell’s Resort.

Campbell, born and raised in Chelan, worked at the resort as a youth and through college. In 2006, he graduated in business from University of Puget Sound and has worked since then for CB Richard Ellis, a commercial real estate firm.

Campbell and his wife Mia will relocate to Chelan soon. “We could not be happier with our decision,” said Campbell. “I’m looking forward to contributing in anyway I can to our business.”

For more info on the resort, visit campbellsresort.com.


Sporting events here scored big in June

Sports tourism dollars in the Wenatchee Valley topped $1 million in June, the second time in the last three months, according to the Wenatchee Valley Sports Council.

Matt Kearny, the council’s marketing director, said an estimated $1.28 million was spent here in June by athletes and fans at cycling, baseball, swimming and other competitions.

Top revenue producer, said Kearny, was the three-day Apple Capital Swim Meet, which drew $225,000 in tourism spending. In all, 11 sports events in June each earned over $40,000.

June fell about $15,000 short of earnings in April, when the Triple Crown Baseball Tournament drew 116 teams from outside the area.

Sports tourism dollars are measured using formulas derived from university tourism studies and surveys by sports councils across the country, said Kearny.

East Wenatchee

Massage the scalp and bathe the toes

Cindy McCarey wants you healthy and beautiful.

No lie. The 48-year-old skin care therapist and nutrition adviser wants your skin to glow and your eyes to shine. And she’s got the gumption and gadgets to do it.

McCarey, born in Brewster and schooled locally in cosmetology, has run the Chelan Valley Spa in Chelan for the past three years and just opened a new space at Dermatech in East Wenatchee.

That’s where she offers Wenatchee Valley clients bionic hydrotherapy foot baths, micro-current facelift treatments, European facials, waxing, body scrubs, upper body massage, permanent cosmetics and nutritional advice.

I’ve always been interested in the steps people take to stay healthy,” she said. “Steps like exercise, nutrition and skin care than can really make a difference, really make you look younger.”

So the facials include a couple of cleanses, exfoliation, a masque and a massage of the face, chest, neck, upper back and scalp. “Everyone loves scalp massages. No, really … people go crazy over scalp massages,” she said.

But what about the bionic hydrotherapy foot baths?

Here’s how it works: A client immerses her feet in water (infused with sea and Epsom salts) on either side of big electric magnet that McCarey claims has benefits for skin and joints.

And micro-current treatments? McCarey uses electric diodes that she said encourages faster cell renewal by increasing production of collagen and elastin. “It tightens the skin, reduces wrinkles,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

McCarey laughed. “Yes, this all sounds kind of New Age-y, but many clients love these treatments and come back week after week.”

Details: Call Cindy McCarey for appointments at Dermatech, 858 Valley Mall Parkway, East Wenatchee, 884-1865; at Chelan Valley Spa, 136 E. Johnson Ave., Chelan, 888-6304.

Moses Lake

Big Bend aviation program taking off

Wanna fix some airplanes?

Big Bend Community College announced in July that more students will be accepted in the college’s aircraft repair program with the help of a state Department of Labor grant to expand aviation maintenance programs at nearly a dozen community colleges.

Beginning fall quarter, BBCC will add 18 slots to its current 24 in the school’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program, where students learn how to repair, rebuild and service aircraft. The program offers training and two-year associate degrees for FAA mechanic certification in airframe and powerplant maintenance.

Awarded in October, the $20 million grant from the Department of Labor will help fund a network of aviation programs, called Air Washington, at 11 community colleges and one industry apprenticeship program.

BBCC will receive $1.8 million over the next three years to expand its aviation program. The state grant will also fund $700,000 at Wenatchee Valley College for student training in aviation electronics.

BBCC operates one of five airframe and powerplant schools in the state. Other community colleges in the consortium provide degrees and certificates in precision machining, aircraft assembly, composite materials and electronics and avionics.

The college’s aviation maintenance program has a fully operational Boeing 727 to use as a classroom. The jet was donated by FedEx in 2007. The college hangar also adjoins the Grant County International Airport — a busy training facility with one of the longest runways in the western U.S.

As skilled workers retire from the aerospace industry, there’s an increased demand for mechanics and technicians,” said Clyde Rasmussen, dean of Professional-Technical Education at BBCC. “The shortage of skilled workers is slowing the growth of some aerospace companies as positions go unfilled.”

Air Washington’s goal is to train more than 2,600 workers to enter the state’s aerospace workforce over the next three years, said Rasmussen. The focus will be on degrees and certificates that can be completed in two years or less.

Dan Moore, a BBCC aviation maintenance instructor, said he recently met with a Boeing executive who said demand for mechanics is increasing in the aerospace industry.

Right now, Boeing has openings for 170 certified mechanics and estimates a need of 50 more per year for the next five years,” Moore said.

Because of demand, chances of landing a high-wage, high-skills job at the end of two years of training are high,” Moore said.

One recent BBCC aviation graduate landed his first job at up to $55,000 per year, said Moore.

Plus, it’s not just Boeing looking for skilled workers, said Rasmussen. Washington is home to the largest cluster — more than 650 — of aerospace companies in the world, he said, and they need to hire 21,000 new workers in the next 10 years.

One industry study says 25 percent of the current aerospace workforce will be eligible to retire by 2014, according to a BBCC press release.

For more info, call (509) 793-2222, or visit bigbend.edu.


Vet finds support, friends and then a job

In today’s job market, Joe Hanson’s impressive resume got him nowhere.

A veteran Navy Seabee. Sixteen years in the steel industry. Expert in emergency response and haz-mat procedures. Mercury-removal specialist. Project management training. Well-spoken. Well-groomed. Good people skills. Good humored.

But nearly a year after being laid off from a mill in Tacoma, the Gulf War veteran remained jobless. He’d sent out more than 70 resumes, answered dozens of classified ads and applied online at a score of businesses.

Job offers? Zero.

I couldn’t get a job at the end of a shovel,” said Hanson. “I was at a low point. I was getting a bit desperate. I realized I couldn’t do this on my own, but I wasn’t even sure where to turn.”

Enter WorkSource Wenatchee, the practical-minded, job-finding branch of the state Employment Security Department. The agency’s local office now devotes time and personnel to help vets of all ages, all wars, to spit-polish their resumes, translate military training into civilian skills and target that know-how toward local industries.

The department has become a hub for job-hunting veterans, said Adrianne Wiegenstein, business services specialist for WorkSource, as local, state and federal programs crank up to help vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan — along with vets from other conflicts — ease into the civilian workforce.

Wiegenstein estimated that two to three veterans a day seek job advice at WorkSource. “Last week, we served nine veterans in one day.”

Programs include job fairs, workshops, face-to-face networking and counseling in resume writing, people skills, proper attire and interview etiquette. WorkSource advisers also help vets enroll in programs such as the federally-funded Gold Card Services, a career assist program for 9-11 era vets.

Now, two months later, job hunter Hanson can declare victory. The 37-year-old Navy veteran was hired in June as a full-time safety coordinator for Wenatchee-based McDougall & Sons, one of the major fruit packing and marketing companies in the region.

He gives full credit for his quick employment turnaround to WorkSource Wenatchee and its connections to local businesses, industries and local nonprofits — particularly Vets Serving Vets, a clearinghouse of immediate aid and long-term services for local veterans.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” said Hanson. “It’s a truth I learned the hard way. It wasn’t until I met the right people, people who know how to network, who know local employers, that I got a chance to find a job.”

Hannah Schoepp, veterans employment rep at WorkSource, said that when Hanson first entered her office “he had all the right qualities to find a good job, but he wasn’t packaging them properly.”

Schoepp said she helped Hanson rewrite his resume to identify military and steel-industry skills — discipline, organization, strong work ethic, emergency and safety know-how — and target those skills to appeal to local employers.

Our goal is to get their resume to float to the top of the pile,” she said. “We help vets package themselves in the best way possible. It’s sort of like a 60-second commercial (on paper) about that one individual — this is who I am, this is what I do — and it gets right to the point.”

Then networking kicks in, said Schoepp. “We introduced Joe to people we thought could help him.” That’s how he found Vets Serving Vets.

Tucked in a storefront in a strip mall off North Wenatchee Avenue, Vets Serving Vets provides food, clothing, housing, fellowship and guidance — career, medical, financial — for vets from all military branches.

They welcomed Hanson with open arms. “I found an immediate kind of camraderie with people who understood what I was going through,” said Hanson.

Organizers of Vets Serving Vets assessed Hanson’s needs and, within days, began working their extensive network of community contacts to help him find work. “I was out there meeting people, shaking hands, looking them in the eye, finally talking to face-to-face with people who could really offer me a job. It was incredible,” he said.

Duane Broaddus, president of the group, said, “We have a mission to take care of veterans and fill their needs. Joe (Hanson) needed help. We could offer that help. It’s why we’re here.”

After two weeks of hard networking, Hanson hooked an interview with McDougall & Sons, where he was soon hired as a safety coordinator in charge of the company’s non-food safety programs at processing plants, warehouses and controlled-atmosphere facilities. “It’s right up my alley,” said a smiling Hanson.

Joe’s an incredible success story,” said WorkSource’s Wiegenstein, “but he’s just one special guy in a huge group of vets that need help in finding work. We like to think their starting point is right here, in this office, at this very desk.”

Added veterans rep Schoepp, “And the one thing veterans might want to know before they come here is that we really do care about this. We want to help. Our hearts are in it.”


New cafe aims to boost the burger

There are burgers, and then there’s the Mon Ami Burger.

Hormone-free Kobe beef, sautéed mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and roasted garlic aioli. Maybe served up with a side of sea-salted sweet potato fries and a dipping-dollop of smoked pepper mayo.

I’ve been dreaming for years about doing this kind of burger,” said Christina Forchemer-Zucktriegel, 44, a veteran Leavenworth restaurateur and dedicated “foodie” since she was six. “It’s a chance to remake that ol’ American standby into something new, delicious and, when it comes to blending tastes … simply perfect.”

Seven weeks ago, Christina and husband Richard Zucktriegel opened Fresh Burger Cafe, a gourmet burger and sandwich shop where Christina let loose her tastebuds to create a menu filled with international flavors. Think New Mexico, Hawaii, France, Cuba, Vietnam and, of course, Germany.

Definitely Germany. After all, Leavenworth is a Bavarian theme town where for 16 years Christina and Richard have run the upscale Cafe Mozart, a European-style restaurant offering slow-roasted sauerbraten, seared duck breast, grilled Tyrolean ham and … well, it ain’t a burger joint.

We love Cafe Mozart, but we needed a place that’s more casual, more informal where we could expand our ideas,” said Christina, sitting in the shade of Fresh Burger Cafe’s front deck. “We think this is the place.”

The couple, along with college-aged son Martin, transformed a 98-year-old house — formerly a residence, an antique store, a music studio — into a “colorful, trendy space that feels, you know, alive and youthful but comfortable enough for families and retirees. Kind of like you’re at home.”

The hand-written menu on the cafe’s big blackboard pretty much sets the tone, said Christina. “Customers read down a few lines and start finding suprises. Not your usual sandwich shop ingredients.”

Such as? Pickled jalapeños, pickled green tomatoes, pecan-wood smoked bacon, curried ketchup, corn beef simmered in locally-made ale, cornmeal-crusted buttermilk fried chicken, homemade beignets with raspberry dipping sauce. And more.

At every turn, said Christina, her family has worked to make the food interesting, healthy and affordable. Prices for burgers, sandwiches and salads run from $4.50 to around $9.

One thing we tried not to do is replicate dishes from other Leavenworth restaurants,” Christina said. “We wanted to set ourselves apart as much as possible and, honestly, not get into that whole scene of stress and struggle and competition.”