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Business roundup: Tough scrape on the Avenue

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Dalton Wiyrick, at left, and Bart Gooch scrape the old paint off light poles along Wenatchee Avenue in September in preparation for painting. Downtown light fixtures in Wenatchee were repainted by A Central.

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Tough scrape on the Avenue

Up and down. Up and down. When you prep and paint light poles, there’s a lot of vertical movement.

Painting crews found that out last month while refurbishing about 120 light poles and fixtures in downtown Wenatchee. Beginning last Aug. 25, they first tackled 57 antique-style poles between Second and Yakima streets, removing the multiple layers of old paint and then brushing on a new coat.

It’s takes a lot of scraping to prep the poles just right,” said Linda Haglund, executive director of the Wenatchee Downtown Association, which is spearheading the project. “It sounds simple, but it’s really a lot of hard work.”

The prep and painting was expected to be completed in September. Larger poles, some more than 15 feet tall, required night work using a hydraulic lift.

In addition, the Wenatchee Downtown Association has ordered 114 gaslight-style, energy-saving LED fixtures — two for each of the 57 old-style poles — that will be installed in the next couple of months.

Contractor on the project is Wenatchee-based A Central, a general contractor specializing in asbestos removal and painting and a company that also worked on the recent remodel of the Wenatchee Convention Center. Six crews of two or three workers are prepping the poles and then applying a “bronze-ish black” paint, said company owner Rob Witheridge.

Total cost of the street-light refurbishment is just under $110,000, with half paid for by the City of Wenatchee and half by the WDA through grants and donations. Painting of the poles costs around $9,000.


Craft beers now on tap at Pybus Market

Pybus Public Market has added another major food group to its expansive offerings. In addition to meats, fish, seafood, cheese and veggies, we can now find beer.

The Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company, which opened Sept. 4, features 18 Northwest craft beers (varying by the season) and one hard cider on tap. You can buy them by the pint or in gallon-sized growlers (big jugs for take-home brews). Northwest wines by the glass are available, too.

The new brew pub also offers some pretty interesting lunch and dinner items. Roasted broccolini, bison sliders, slow-roasted barbecue ribs, Dungeness crab macaroni and cheese, oysters, and made-to-order pizzas. It’s all whipped up by Chef Genarro Criscuolo, who has 30 years of culinary experience.

The Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company is owned and operated by Dan Bass and family, who have been “home brewing together and bonding over a shared love of quality beer for years,” according to a press release. They hope to offer their own brewed delights sometime early next year.

The new pub “respresents what one family can accomplish when they share a common vision and pull together to reach that goal,” said Bass. “Each of us brings something useful and essential to the table.”

Details: Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company, in the Pybus Market at the foot of Orondo Street, Wenatchee. Phone: 888-8088. Web: Facebook (keywords: wenatchee valley brewing). Open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


Dino no fossil with fresh paint, new ‘habitat’

She’s back, and she’s lookin’ good.

Now repaired and repainted, the landmark dinosaur statue on South Wenatchee Avenue trundled back Sept. 5 to its improved “habitat” after a nearly five-month absence.

Yes, she’s a beauty all right,” said Robert Dearie, manager of Plaza Wenatchee, the Latino market where the dinosaur — more specifically, a huge triceratops — has stood watch over a busy intersection since June 2013. “It’s nice to have her back on the property.”

The popular metal creature, custom-made in Mexico, was removed in April so that dings, dents and bent spines could be hammered out and rusted surfaces polished and painted. Formerly a bronze color, the dino now sports a snazzy multi-colored coat — deep purple to green to gold — with orange eyes (and exaggerated eyelashes) that can be spotted from across the street. The paint was sprayed on, said Dearie, using a process similar to auto painting.

Dearie and a crew of five friends hauled the dinosaur to the site and then gently lifted the statue into position. “It’s not really that heavy,” said the manager, “and doing it by hand prevents scratches to the paint.”

Some stats: this dino’s height is 10 feet 4 inches. Width is 8 feet 8 inches. Length is 21 feet. Weight is 540 pounds. Cost was about $5,000. Awaiting its facelift, the statue stood for months in the yard of Dearie’s parents in Quincy.

In the giant reptile’s absence, the site where it stands was spiffed-up with new landscaping: trees, shrubs, bark cover, concrete curbing, basalt columns and even a rough-hewn stone bench. Very prehistoric.

The improved dino site is part of an agreement with the city of Wenatchee to bring to city standards the planting strips and landscaping in Plaza Wenatchee’s parking lot. The city’s building department had delayed final inspection of the market’s 2,950-square-foot addition until the landscaping upgrades had been made. That inspection took place in May.

There’s still lots to do when it comes to the landscaping,” said Dearie. “It’s our way to help beautify one spot on South Wenatchee.”

The triceratops and its new landscaping are located at Plaza Wenatchee, 908 S. Wenatchee Ave., in Wenatchee.


Food company tightens safety controls, puts products back on market

A small food products company that in July voluntarily recalled some jarred pickles and sauces has revised its processing and labeling methods and reintroduced products to the marketplace.

Homemade of Leavenworth has worked with the state Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in recent months to confirm food production safety controls are in place and has revised labeling to include expiration dates and batch codings, said a WSDA press release.

The newly manufactured pickle and sauce products now include labels that read, for example, “Expiration 2016 or When Empty,” said Lucy Severs, a manager with the WSDA Food Safety Program.

In addition, the products’ containers will include an added date to its coding that indicates a product’s release day. For example, coding “ILQ215” indicates the 215th day of the year.

On July 14, Homemade recalled eight products following a routine sampling by the state Department of Agriculture that determined a jar of Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles had a pH level high enough to allow the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism.

To date, no illnesses have been associated with the products. Consumers were warned, however, not to use the products even if they didn’t look or smell spoiled. Recalled products included several varieties of pickles, beets, chili sauce and barbecue sauce.

Most of Homemade’s products are sold from small retailers and fruit stands in Chelan and Douglas counties.

For more info, contact the WSDA Food Safety Program at (360) 902-1876.


Crunch Pak seeks new company leader

Crunch Pak is searching for a new honcho.

The Cashmere-based sliced apple snack company said Sept. 10 that they’ve begun a nationwide search for a new chief executive officer following the departure of Scott Sargent, who joined the company in August 2013.

No specific reason was given for Sargent’s departure. A company press release said he’ll spend time with his family before pursuing other professional opportunities.

While the CEO search continues, Crunch Pak will split leadership duties between John Graden, a company founder and former CEO, who will run the slicing division, and Tony Freytag, senior vice-president of sales and marketing, who will oversee the company’s branding and sales efforts.

Sargent was a former exec for the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, an employee of the technology consulting firm Booz Allen and a manager of emergency planning for Delta Airlines. He was also a Navy veteran with five years of service.

Working with the team at Crunch Pak has been one of the great privileges of my career,” Sargent said. “I am proud of what we accomplished.”

Mauro Felizia, Crunch Pak’s chairman, said he and the board of directors appreciated Sargent’s contributions. “We are now poised for continued growth, and we look forward to writing the next chapter of our innovation story.” he said.


Workshop set for managing cider and perry orchards

A workshop on growing the perfect fruit for cider and perry will be held here next month.

The one-day, hands-on Cider & Perry Orcharding Workshop will feature orchardist Gary Moulton, who will address critical issues of growing specialty fruits for cider and perry. Perry is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears.

Moulton will stress managing an orchard not for “pretty fruit meant to be eaten fresh, but for tree health, yield, harvest and the unique characteristics of juice that creates and defines artisan ciders,” said a press release.

Hosted by the Northwest Cider Association, the workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Quincy Fire Station, 1201 Central Ave. S., in Quincy. Cost is $95 per person and includes beverages and lunch.

Topics will include choosing the right cider and perry varietals. soil fertility and amendments, orchard layout (planning and planting), pest control, grafting, pruning and fruit thinning. The day will culminate with a tour and cider tasting at the award-winning Snowdrift Cider Company in East Wenatchee.

To register, visit agbizcenter.org. For more info, email Karen Mauden at karen@agbizcenter.org.

Walla Walla

Effort to win best community contest is ‘all about people’

The Wenatchee Valley’s efforts to snag a $3 million prize in a contest to name the nation’s best communities revolve around local folks connecting and cooperating, not bricks and mortar.

From what we’ve seen, this is a unique approach in this contest for envisioning our future,” said Alan Walker, leader of the local team crafting Wenatchee’s entry in the America’s Best Communities (ABC) contest.

We’re trying to figure out how we can work together to better our community,” he said. “Not improve a product, not remodel a building, not find a new marketing angle. For us, it’s all about people.”

The five-member team developing a regional plan for community involvement and improvement — called “Our Valley … What’s Next?” — traveled in September to Walla Walla to present their ideas and meet representatives of the contest’s sponsors, including Frontier Communications, DISH Network and The Weather Channel.

The meet-and-greet gathering was held in conjunction with the annual Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days, which featured country western star Vince Gill. The award-winning singer has been enlisted to help promote the ABC contest and was at the gathering to encourage contest participants.

The Wenatchee Valley team was one of four groups — two from Washington, two from Idaho — to spotlight their ideas for improving their communities. All four are ABC quarter-finalists, chosen from hundreds of communities, who received $50,000 in prize money for making the contest’s first cut. Now the teams will compete in semi-finals with a winner to be announced in January.

With $10 million in total prize money, the ABC contest runs for more than two years. Final winners will be announced in early 2017.

The Wenatchee Valley team includes Walker, executive director of United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties; Steve Sandman, local manager for Frontier Communications; Shiloh Schauer executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce; Lisa Parks, executive director of the Port of Douglas County; and Stacy Luckensmeyer, director for the Center of Entrepreneurship and Continuing Education at Wenatchee Valley College.

The major thing we learned from the Walla Walla gathering,” said Walker, “is that we’ve taken a route — focusing on people — that’s different from the other communities.” Other cities are looking to develop their riverfronts, industrial areas or infrastructure to attract tech companies.

The Wenatchee team has used its $50,000 prize money to hire a community development consultant and marketing pros to help design and promote the “Our Valley … What’s Next?” regional plan.

Part of what we’re trying to do is gather ideas and information from residents and business people,” said Walker. “We need to know what they think is important for our future, which directions we should head.”

To gather those ideas, the group has scheduled two public meetings: 4 to 7 pm Oct. 1 at Town Toyota Center, 1300 Walla Walla Ave., Wenatchee, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at Pybus Public Market, 3 Worthen St., Wenatchee.

The ideas will be incorporated into the group’s semi-final presentation on Nov. 26 in hopes of snagging an additional $100,000 in prize money.

Win or lose, we gain knowledge and momentum from just completing the process of looking forward and planning our future,” said Walker. “The process that helps bring us all together is the real prize.”


IRIS summit to showcase success stories

How healthy is our environment? How do we reduce waste and encourage sharing? How do we reach across generations to learn and grow?

Those topics and others will highlight discussions at the 6th Annual North Central Washington Community Success Summit, a showcase of success stories from the region’s rural communities.

The summit — entitled “A Great Place to Come Home To” — will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 12 at the NCW Fairgrounds in Waterville.

Hosted by the Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS), the event will feature Waterville School District faculty and students in identifying and discussing their community’s assets and issues. The summit will also include a catered lunch, live music and a presentation of interviews on why Waterville is such “a great place to come home to.”

Organizers anticipate more than 160 attendees at the summit, which is also an IRIS fundraiser.

For more info, contact Nancy Warner, IRIS program manager, by phone at 881-1812 or by email at nwarner@applecapital.net. Find a full agenda and registration information at irisncw.org.


Dirty dogs cleaning up at new self-wash spa

Hey, you dirty dogs, there’s a new pet spa in town that’s worth sniffing out.

Allen and Jennifer Larson, owners of Firehouse Pet Shop in downtown Wenatchee, have converted their store’s basement into a clean-pet paradise — designed mostly for doggies — that offers facilities for pet lovers to bathe and shampoo their furry friends.

Opened in June, the Firehouse Self-Wash Spa has already served around 250 dogs — “And maybe a few cats,” said Jennifer — and is now seeing a steady flow of canine customers. Sizes range from Chihuahuas to Great Danes.

We supply just about everything a person needs to wash their dog,” said Jennifer.

Such as: Three huge bathtubs with non-slip mats, a ramp for older dogs and risers to put even the tiniest mutt at an easy-reach height, modern spray heads for long and short coats and variable-speed dryers that start softly and slowly increase in force.

Around the room, shelving holds different types of shampoos, conditioners, after-bath fragrance sprays, washcloths, towels, ear and eye wipes and even a few grooming tools. Customers are under no time limit, so settle in, Fido, and luxuriate.

To prevent the spread of disease and other yuckiness, the Firehouse staff bleach sanitizes each tub after every use and tosses in an extra sanitizing every morning and night.

Best of all, everything is included in the price, with no surprise add-on costs. Prices are by weight: $12 for dogs of 20 pounds or less, $16 for pets weighing 20 to 60 pounds and $20 for pets over 60 pounds. Bring in two dogs and get a $4 discount on the total cost.

Many dogs just love their baths,” said Jennifer. “You can tell this is a great experience for them.”

Details: Firehouse Pet Shop, 17 S. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee. Phone: 668-7387. Facebook (keywords: firehouse pet shop).