Wenatchee Valley Business World




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Business Roundup: Holaday spirit sparks muffler shop’s move

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Chad Holaday welds a muffler pipe in a work bay at his business’ new location.

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Holaday spirit sparks muffler shop’s move

Chad Holaday, owner with wife Amanda of Holaday’s Custom Muffler & Fabrication, has installed so many exhaust systems in the last seven years that he can fit, bend and weld a new Honda Accord muffler pipe with hardly a second thought.

Welding mask in place, he talked excitedly (and a bit muffled) last month about his business’ new location at 400 S. Columbia St., Wenatchee. The new pipe snugged perfectly into place, and the welding sparks flew.

We’ve been aiming for years to own our own building and have our operation set up just the way we’ve always dreamed,” he said above the welding machine’s crackle. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point, and we’re happy with how it turned out.”

The new 2,550-square-foot shop is about one-third larger than the old space and sports four work bays — three more than before — along with high-tech lighting and a long list of new equipment and tools.

The business’ new office, designed by Amanda Holaday, sports earth tones and rustic tile floors “to help our customers feel more comfortable,” said Chad. “That’s not something that was top of my priority list,” he laughed. “But Amanda knew it’d be a good thing to do, and she was right. She’s always right about this kind of thing.”

For Chad, relocating his business to the new building was a sort of homecoming. He got his start there a decade ago fixing mufflers for Jerry and June Wentz, owners of The Muffler Shop, which then filled the building. “They taught me just about everything I know,” he said. “Jerry’s like a second father to me.”

Ahead of their five-year business plan, the Holadays bought The Muffler Shop’s building in 2012 but told the Wentzes they could stay as long as they liked. Last October, the Wentzes decided it was time make a move and relocated their business to 221 Park St. in South Wenatchee.

Now, Chad offers installation of custom exhaust systems for just about any kind of vehicle and machine — cars, pickups, RVs, tractors, orchard sprayers, fire trucks, construction equipment, you name it. He’s also a metal fabricator of “just about anything you can sketch out,” he said. Sample items include handrails, braces and truck racks.

The business also specializes in installation of after-market vehicle accessories, such as running boards, nerf bars and tonno covers.

The new space gives us more room for better productivity,” said Chad. “It’s better for the customer and, for us, a dream come true.”

Details: Holaday’s Custom Muffler & Fabrication, 400 S. Columbia St., Wenatchee. Phone: 888-0128.


Chelan airport study receives state funding

A Chelan County study on extending city water service to the Chelan Municipal Airport has received a $22,500 grant from the state Community Economic Revitalizaton Board (CERB).

The funding is part of $412,500 in state grants for seven projects statewide.

CERB grants help expand business and create jobs, said a press release from the state Department of Commerce.

Funding for the Chelan airport study — which aims to boost development at the facility — is matched by $7,500 in local money.

Other projects approved for CERB grants include $150,000 to the Port of Othello for construction of an industrial site, $45,000 to the Quileute Tribal Council to develop a broadband plan and $50,000 to the city of Aberdeen for a tourism project.


AVHRA receives top national award

A local human resources group has recently been awarded one of its industry’s top honors for its “highly notable contributions to the HR profession.”

Based in Wenatchee, the Apple Valley Human Resource Association received the Pinnacle Award from the national Society for Human Resource Management. AVHRA was one of 12 human resource associations to win the award in 2014.

We are honored to receive this award from SHRM,” said AVHRA program director Jenny Fasching. “Our board members have dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy towards revitalizing the organization and giving back to its members. We are thrilled for the recognition.”

In 2006, the AVHRA nearly lost its chapter designation due to “board disengagement” and other factors, said Fasching. Since then, members have rallied to improve the chapter, revitalize the board and spotlight the chapter’s efforts in the community.

Winners of the Pinnacle Award also received a $1,000 prize from ADP, Inc., a global payroll service, in November at SHRM’s annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C.

SHRM represents 575 affilitated human resources chapters in 160 countries.


New pet shop unleashed in downtown Wenatchee

Firehouse Pet Shop, the new supplier for Fido and Bootsy in downtown Wenatchee, opened last month with aisles chock-full of gear and tasty pet goodies.

After two decades of supervisory jobs for Fred Meyer, Firehouse owners Allen and Jennifer Larsen bought and renovated the old Miller Camera space at 17 S. Wenatchee Ave., where they’ve decided to specialize in serving the Wenatchee Valley’s canines and felines with food, supplies and animal adoptions. Grooming and training will come later.

One key feature: Wholesome, organic treats homemade at an off-site bakery. Er, make that “barkery.”

Plus, on opening day last month they also had their first two cats ready and waiting in the store’s “Search & Rescue Room,” an in-store space set aside for adoptions. Helping find homes for abandoned cats and dogs will be a priority for the shop, said the Larsens.

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

Moses Lake

Columbia Basin group sets officers for 2015

The Columbia Basin Development League continues to have four board members from North Central Washington following last month’s election of officers and trustees.

The league, which promotes extension of irrigation services within the Columbia Basin Project, re-elected Mike LaPlant and John Moody, both of Ephrata, to the board. They join Chet Pedersen , Quincy, and Richard Stevens, Soap Lake, who were not up for re-election.

Longtime farmer Orman Johnson, of Connell, was elected chairman of the league’s 30-member governing group.

East Wenatchee

Leonard Evans dies at age 84

Longtime local auto dealer Leonard Evans died Dec. 27 of a heart attack after nearly 60 years in the car business. He was 84.

A self-declared motor-head, Evans sold popular brands of cars — including Chrysler, Plymouth and Hyundai — along with boats and mobile homes. He had his biggest success, however, in bucking industry trends to lease used cars during tough economic times.

He was active in the business right up to the end,” said his son, Garrett Evans, who took over operation of Leonard Evans Used Car Superstore in 1980. “He was here every Thursday — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — to check over the accounting and chat with customers. Seems like he knew everybody in town after so many years in the business.”

Born March 14, 1930, in Wenatchee, Leonard Evans moved to East Wenatchee in 1954, the year before he bought a combination service station and truck stop on the corner of North Wenatchee Avenue and Maple Street. The family’s used car dealership still operates at that location.

In 1963, Evans bought the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership and opened Evans Lease to handle leasing and financing of autos and other vehicles and equipment. Around the same time, Evans’ Mobile Village mobile home sales lots expanded to four locations — Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Brewster and Omak.

But in 1974, Evans began to rein-in his interest in boats and mobile homes when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. His son Garrett Evans, a noted regional auto racer, took over the car business six years later.

Joan Evans, married to Leonard for 61 years, said, “He was a hard worker his whole life, right from the time he was a boy.” She described the young Leonard working as a paper boy who scoured Wenatchee’s taverns to find new customers and bought unsold papers from tired cohorts to resell on the streets.

Later, he’d fix-up old cars and sell them to friends and acquaintances, even teachers at Wenatchee High School. “He was an only child,” she said. “And he grew up fast.”

Outside of his family, said Joan, his greatest love was Lake Chelan. “My, he absolutely loved that lake,” she said. “We’d spend summers there, and he’d be off in his boat, heading up the lake.”

Through the decades, the Leonard Evans dealership has supported community events and youth sports, including funding installation of lights at East Wenatchee’s Eastmont Park for Little League baseball games. He also contributed to the local chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He served generations of families over the decades,” said Garrett. “He’d reach out to help people get the car they needed.”

Evans is survived by his wife Joan Evans, and sons Garrett Evans and Steve Evans.


Pak-it-Rite to pack it up for new digs

Pak-it-Rite will soon pack up for a three-block move to a new location and a more direct focus on what they do best — packaging, shipping and the selling of local products.

The business is always evolving,” said owner Adam Campbell. “We’ve had steady customers in a great location for the last 14 years, but fine-tuning the business means we just don’t need all this space.”

Pak-it-Rite relinquished its current location at 126 N. Wenatchee Ave. — “a great building on a busy downtown corner,” he said — for a move on Feb. 2 to a space in McDee’s Art Center, 34 N. Chelan Ave. The space was formerly occupied by Ridgeline Graphics.

At around 4,000 square feet, the new store is about half the size of Pak-it-Rite’s current location, said Campbell, but “it has maximum exposure to one of the city’s busiest streets. It seems like about half the valley’s population drives past that corner every day.”

The new location is “still part of downtown, which is important to us,” said Campbell. Plus, it has lots of nearby parking, which is important to people lugging items to be shipped.

For years, Pak-it-Rite has specialized in home decor, garden items, locally-made foods and crafts, baskets and boxes of premium fruit and packaging and shipping. The latter two services “are at the core of business and deserve our full attention,” said Campbell.

So, he said, Pak-it-Rite’s staff will say good-bye home decor and garden items at the new location. But look for continuing inventory of locally-made foods, wines, crafts and jewelry, plus lots of apple-themed souvenirs and stationery.

This is really a great opportunity for us to concentrate on our strengths and provide customers with the best possible service,” said Campbell. “We’re excited about the changes.”