Wenatchee Valley Business World




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Business Roundup: ‘Where love and cherries grow’

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Guests wait for the wedding party inside a refurbished barn at Hampton Hideaway Oct. 4.

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Where love and cherries grow’

Up a country lane, past the livestock chute and below a hillside cherry orchard stands a renovated barn, now a local wedding venue, that truly lives up to its name: Hampton Hideaway.

It’s where couples yearning for a rustic, country ceremony — with a touch of luxury, of course — can stage their dream wedding, say owners Katie and Tim Libby. It’s all there: Authentic farm setting, green pastures and mountain views, classic antique barn with soaring church-like interior.

We provide a blank canvas where a couple can paint their perfect wedding scenario,” said Katie. “We think it’s a great place to have a good time.”

Hideaway slogan: “Where love and cherries grow.”

Six miles south of Wenatchee off Squilchuck Road, Hampton Hideaway hosts weddings and other events — anniversaries, family reunions, corporate retreats — from May 15 to Oct. 15. Packages include the barn, use of a nearby rental home (sleeps nine) and all the country-themed photo settings a couple could want. Add-ons may include options for decorating, catering, music and lodging.

We tell couples that we’ll be involved, or uninvolved, in their wedding as much as they want,” said Katie. The Libbys do all set-up, tear-down and clean-up on all events. They’re also on-site through every gathering to help with special requests for foods, lighting or hanging lace streamers.

Our hospitality experience made us realize the importance of being customer-service oriented,” said Katie. “We tell the bride and groom that we’ll do anything within reason to make their ceremony as perfect as possible. Well, almost anything. It has to be legal.”

She added, “One bride called the night before to request hay bales. I was on the phone at 9:30 p.m. calling neighbors to find a few stray bales. They were here the next day in time for the wedding.”

The 1,500-square-foot barn was built in 1946 as a centerpiece for 600 acres of farmland, orchard and forest owned by Katie’s grandfather, Wilmer Hampton, a co-founder of Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort.

Two years ago, the Libbys were working together at a big resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, when they realized they could use their hospitality skills to start a business of their own. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s move home and do something fantastic,’” said Katie.

About the same time, an Oregon couple they knew expressed interest in having a “barn wedding,” and that spurred the Libbys to action. Tim spent months cleaning out the Hampton barn, sanding down and staining the wood floor, beams and rafters and, in general, transforming the big wooden structure from a working barn into a wedding barn.

Now the three-story-high venue sports new windows, a 900-square-foot deck, separate dressing rooms for bride and groom, portable bar, a sound system and enough tables and chairs to seat 150 guests.

The doors opened to Hampton Hideaway on Aug. 2 for its debut wedding, and since then the Libbys have hosted 10 more. The barn also welcomed the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce for a leadership retreat. Nine wedding parties have already reserved the barn for the 2015 season.

We’re excited about our first full season (next year), which is shaping up nicely,” said Katie. “I’ve discovered that every wedding is a big deal not only for the couple, but for me, too. It’s something I’m passionate about.”


Papa Murphy’s Seaford receives company honors

Take-and-bake pizza chain Papa Murphy’s has named local pizza maven Shannon Seaford as its national Owner-Operator of the Year.

Seaford, who owns Papa Murphy’s stores in Wenatchee, Ephrata and Moses Lake, received the award at the company’s recent convention in Anaheim, California.

Shannon’s outstanding performance and community involvement have earned her this recognition,” said Craig Weiss, vice president of the pizza company’s north division. “It’s helped her grow her stores and ensure the company is recognized as a first-choice brand.”

Seaford’s pizza career began 19 years ago when her parents, Richard and Sharon McDonald, opened their first Papa Murphy’s franchise in Wenatchee. She worked in the store, eventually became a store supervisor and ultimately a franchise owner.

Papa Murphy’s has more than 1,400 stores in 38 states, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.


Central Cycle named one of nation’s best bike shops

Cycle Central in downtown Wenatchee has been named one of America’s Best Bike Shops for 2014 by the National Bicycle Dealers Association.

This year, 200 bike shops out of 4,000 across the country earned the honor. Cycle Central’s owners Greg and Carmen Frislie traveled in September to Las Vegas to receive the award at Interbike, the bicycling industry’s largest convention.

What an honor to be chosen,” said Greg. “It’s a huge win for those who support us. We still wake up every day thankful that we are able to be a part of the lives of the people of the Wenatchee Valley.”

To earn the honor, bike shops were asked to fill out a detailed application describing what sets them apart from the average store. Mystery shoppers then evaluated the business in more detail by visiting the store, reviewing their website, and contacting the shop by phone to assess the performance from a consumer’s perspective.

The shops are also rated on their efforts in community support, as well as their local and national support for bicycle advocacy.


Tails waggin’ for arrival of new pet shop

A brand a new pet store — Firehouse Pet Shop —is set to open here sometime late this month, the owners announced Oct. 18.

We wanted a business that’d be both fun and helpful to the community,” said Allen Larsen, who with his wife and co-owner Jennifer are renovating the old Miller’s Camera space at 17 S. Wenatchee Ave. “I mean, what’s more fun and rewarding than dogs and cats?”

The Larsens are specializing in serving the Wenatchee Valley’s canines and felines with food, supplies, grooming, animal adoptions and, maybe down the road, training.

Most recently from Edmonds, the Larsens have roots in the region. Jennifer’s extended family has been vacationing at Crescent Bar since 1978, and the couple now lives in a family condo on the Bar’s island. Both Jennifer and Allen worked for more than two decades in management for Fred Meyer, and our East Wenatchee store was once part of Allen’s territory as a regional supervisor. Jennifer now works there part-time, at least until the pet shop opens.

A few anticipated Firehouse features: A self-service pet wash in the basement, where it’s dry, warm and somewhat private; a focus on fresh and healthy pet foods, including raw and organic ingredients; an in-house bakery (make that “barkery”) for crafting homemade treats such as cupcakes (make that “pupcakes”).

The Larsens have already met with Wenatchee Fire Chief Stan Smoke to figure out ways their pet shop — after all, it’s called Firehouse — can help raise money for firefighters and equipment. “We’re not exactly sure how this will work,” said Jennifer, “but we know this is one way we want to give back to the community.”

Which brings up the question: Of all the pet store names in the world, why “Firehouse”? “It’s part nostalgia and just part fun,” said Allen. “There’s always been a connection between dogs (think: dalmatians) and fire departments. It’s a strong image.”

All in all, said Jennifer, “This business just feels good to us. It feels right.”

Details: Firehouse Pet Shop, 17 S. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee. Phone: 668-7387. Web: firehousepetshop.com and on Facebook.

East Wenatchee

Numerica branch on the rise

The city’s skyline took on a new silhouette last month as construction crews hoisted roof beams into place on Numerica Credit Union’s new branch building.

Shelbyco Construction of Benton City placed the wooden beams, which support the roof and will be part of the 3,784-square-foot building’s modern interior. Crews are on schedule to complete the building sometime in early 2015, said Numerica spokeswoman Kelli Hawkins.

The building, located on the corner of Grant Road and Eastmont Avenue, is designed to be “bright, open and even relaxing,” said Hawkins. The interior will include a tech bar with iPads for customers to access online banking, learn about Numerica services or check email. It’ll also feature a refreshment bar and comfortable chairs and sofas.

Demolition of the original Numerica building included removal of a mature Norway maple that had become a safety hazard. “We had to make a tough call and take it off the property,” said Hawkins. “But we took steps to ensure East Wenatchee wouldn’t have one less tree.”

Numerica’s East Wenatchee staff planted a ginkgo biloba tree at the city’s Tedford Park to replace the removed tree. “We had a tree planting party,” Hawkins said.

The credit union branch — along with its seven employees — has temporarily relocated across the street to Eastpoint Plaza, 509 Grant Road, near Mountain View Fitness.