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Business Roundup | Pybus unveils new motto and logo

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Pybus unveils new motto and logo

WENATCHEE — How many times have you been to Pybus Public Market in the last few years? Plenty, right?

Capitalizing on its success as a popular gathering spot, Pybus Market announced Nov. 15 that the waterfront restaurant-and-retail hub has a new motto — “Where Community Meets” — and a new logo to go with it.

The new motto was the top vote-getter in a community poll and reflects what Pybus Market has become after 4.5 years of operation,” said Kristin Lodge, chair of the marketing committee for the Pybus Market Charitable Foundation.

The committee then hired local graphic designer Lars Ringsrud to come up with a logo “that reflects the strong, iconic Pybus building,” Lodge added. The logo was “overwhelmingly voted as the public’s favorite and reflects the image of what people love about this special building.”

Ringsrud said the public, Pybus board and staff worked together to decide on the new motto and logo. “We exchanged ideas, values and concepts,” he said. “What grew from that interaction is a brand that, like the market itself, is … inviting, fresh yet classic and built to serve the community for a long time.”

The motto and logo “will be incorporated into all things associated with Pybus Market in the coming weeks,” said Executive Director Steve Robinson.


Lego stacks up as NCW’s top toy

WENATCHEE — For the third straight year, North Central Washington’s top must-have toy will be — drum roll, please — Legos.

That was the word last month from toy aficionados Tom and Gust Kallas, owners and operators of Wenatchee’s Hooked on Toys, one of the region’s top toy and sports retailers. The Kallas brothers have spotlighted the season’s No. 1 toy for at least three decades.

Based on continuing sales and trade show buzz, “We could see as early as last summer that Legos would again be at the top of kids’ wish lists,” said Tom. “It’s a perennial favorite that keeps growing in popularity.”

In past years, the Kallases have foretold with accuracy each year’s favorite holiday toy. Miniature helicopters, drones, Kendama toys all made the list in recent years.

But then in 2015 came the Star Wars Lego sets — with poseable Darth Vader figure — as a tie-in with the blockbuster movie “The Force Awakens.” That boosted Legos to the No. 1 spot on the Kallases’ list and subsequent movies have helped keep it there. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opens Dec. 15.

Details: Hooked on Toys, 1444 N. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee. Phone: 663-0740. Web: hookedontoys.com.



Leavenworth: A top-25 holiday town

LEAVENWORTH — The snow! The lights! Old Saint Nick! Well, heck yeah, Leavenworth is one of the nation’s best holiday towns.

The website CarRentals.com announced Nov. 15 that the Wenatchee Valley’s own Bavarian Village is one of the 25 Most Festive Holiday Towns in the U.S. It ranks up there with New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and, of course, North Pole, Alaska, and Santa Claus, Indiana.

Leavenworth earned the honor because of its touted Bavarian architecture, annual Christmas Lighting Festival (which attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators) and the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum (home to over 6,000 cracking devices).

They didn’t mention the live caroling, strolling St. Nicholas or downtown sledding. But we know those activities add to the festive atmosphere.

The website isn’t exactly clear if the list of Festive Holiday Towns is an actual ranking. But it’s worth noting that Leavenworth is No. 12, while New York City is No. 1, Chicago is No. 6 and San Francisco is No. 24.

For the complete list, go to ow.ly/gUE830gBnTX.

This year, Leavenworth’s Christmas Lighting Festival — a holiday turn-on with over 500,000 lights — runs Dec. 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17. For more info, visit ow.ly/41Ju30gBnDZ.


Council extends wireless moratorium

EAST WENATCHEE — The City Council on Nov. 14 extended a moratorium on new wireless communication installations so it can review and likely rewrite city code to govern placement of cell towers and smaller attached devices.

It comes down to not having city codes that address these new technologies,” said Lori Barnett, the city’s community development director. “We need some time to learn what’s new, how it affects us and what we have to do.”

Wireless installations have evolved from giant towers to include smaller devices that can be attached to power poles, buildings or other strategically placed structures. The devices deliver or strengthen cell signals in hard-to-reach locations.

We need some kind of guidelines in place,” said Barnett, “or we’ll have these things placed every 50 feet. Maybe that’s good, but we’re not sure. We need to study the situation.”

The council originally declared the moratorium in January for a six-month period. They voted to extend the moratorium in September for another six months but were required to hold a public hearing on the matter within 60 days of the extension declaration.

The moratorium affects only new installations and not upgrades to existing facilities.


See’s Candies kiosk sweetens pot for kids, local causes

EAST WENATCHEE — It’s not too early to start making your own personal list of holiday essentials. Such as: Family, snow, turkey, jingle bells, Santa Claus, another boxed set of support hose for Aunt Betty and — of course — chocolate.

See’s Candies holiday kiosk, sponsored by the Apple Valley Kiwanis, began selling holiday goodies Nov. 17 at Wenatchee Valley Mall in East Wenatchee. It’s the group’s 18th year of holiday sales that includes not just Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

The kiosk is separate from a larger See’s Candy holiday shop that opened earlier in a commercial strip in the mall’s parking lot.

Our goal is fundraising for kids and local causes,” said Kay Ryan, a past president of the Apple Valley Kiwanis and spokeswoman for the kiosk. “All our profits go right back into the community.”

Every year, said Ryan, the Wenatchee-based group donates $4,000 to $5,000 to help fund efforts for homeless youth, FFA groups in area schools, a YMCA scholarship and other causes. “The money comes from our loyal customers who for years have made See’s a part of their holiday traditions,” she said.

The Kelawani Kiwanis group began selling See’s candies (and the companies other goodies) back in 1999 at what was then Valley North Mall (now Valley North Center). Over the years, they moved to a few different locations and turned over operations to Apple Valley Kiwanis. In 2009, the kiosk found a home at Wenatchee Valley Mall.

Details: See’s Candies holiday kiosk, inside Wenatchee Valley Mall, 511 Valley Mall Parkway, East Wenatchee. Open through Christmas Eve during mall hours (see wenatcheevalleymall.com).


Affordable housing panel tackles tough task

WENATCHEE — A committee to develop recommendations for more affordable housing in the Wenatchee Valley has been formed by a local community advocacy group.

Our Valley Our Future’s Housing Solutions Group, who met for the first time Nov. 1, is made up of residents from a cross-section of the community and housing industry, said an Our Valley press release.

The group has been assigned to research local housing challenges and recommend ways to create more housing in the region, both in the short- and long-term.

The group is “an opportunity to develop new common-sense tools to increase housing across the entire region,” said Steve Maher, Our Valley project coordinator. “This is a complex issue and there are no easy answers. But we believe we can make in-roads by collaborating and seeking common solutions.”

Maher said formation of the Housing Solutions Group is one of the final steps in Our Valley’s regional housing project, which aims to alleviate the growing housing crunch and its negative impacts on the area’s quality of life and the economy.

Our Valley received nearly 1,800 responses through its regional housing survey in July and August and a community forum in September. Maher said the survey found residents struggling to find and afford a home in Chelan and Douglas counties due to an inadequate supply of reasonably-priced homes. Renters also cited in the survey a low inventory of rental units as a primary challenge in the two-county area.

Community leaders have said the housing crunch is making it hard for employers to fill positions, has forced families to double up in homes and has led to a slowdown in real estate activity, said Maher.

No timeline has been set for the Housing Solutions Group to deliver its recommendations to the community, said Maher. But he anticipates the work taking at least three to four months.


SCJ Alliance earns top engineering awards

WENATCHEE — A civil engineering firm with a branch office in Wenatchee has been named as one of the best engineering-and-design companies in the U.S. and Canada.

SCJ Alliance, headquartered in Lacey with a local office at 25 N. Wenatchee Ave., was one of nine firms to receive the Zweig Group’s top three awards — Best Firms to Work For, Hot Firms and Marketing Excellence — a “trifecta” that honors a firm’s overall success, workplace practices, leadership and marketing.

The Hot Firms list recognizes the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. and Canada.

Founded in 2006, SCJ Alliance has grown from three employees at one location to more than 80 employees at five locations in the state. The company specializes in engineering, transportation planning and design, environmental and urban planning and architecture.

The Arkansas-based Zweig Group, an architecture and engineering consulting group, helps engineering firms expand, merge and refinance, along with other services. The company’s annual award conference was held in September in Seattle.


No headaches: Entrepreneur cleans up in sales of natural cleaning products

WENATCHEE — When the pain first hit 10 years ago, doctors weren’t sure what was causing Erika Burlingame’s searing headache.

Days, weeks, months went by, and it didn’t go away,” said the 42-year-old Wenatchee entrepreneur. “I was scanned, poked and prodded, but doctors couldn’t discover the source. It began to affect my energy levels, my lifestyle, even my marriage.”

Finally, years later, one physician queried Burlingame about her work of running a thriving home-cleaning company. “Aren’t chemicals involved?” asked the doctor. “Strong and maybe toxic chemicals?”

Well, heck yes. Burlingame said her mind was opened to the obvious. “It was a ‘duh’ moment for me,” she said. “I regularly cleaned showers with my eyes burning from the bleach. And I never figured it out.”

At its peak, Burlingame’s cleaning business had eight employees and serviced 85 homes and businesses in southern California. She sold that business but continued to clean homes when she and husband Jeremy moved to Wenatchee in 2007.

But a problem remained — her cleaning business depended on strong chemicals to get the job done. Bleach, ammonia, harsh soaps and scrubbing agents had helped establish her reputation as a meticulous home cleaner who could make things sparkle.

She didn’t think anything could replace the home-cleaning products that she’d come to rely upon.

Then, out of the blue, a longtime friend suggested a French company — H2O at Home — that uses European-style cleaning processes and all-natural products. “It’s a company that has a different approach to cleaning,” said Burlingame. “And it changed my life.”

H2O sells cleaning tools and products, along with personal care items, through multi-level marketing (similar to Amway or Avon) that relies on home parties and social networking to find new salespeople and customers. H20’s salespeople are called advisors. It operates in France, Belgium and the U.S.

Burlingame said that six months after switching to H2O’s eco-friendly products, her chronic headache disappeared. “Years of pain gone,” she said. “I was blown away.”

Plus, “H2O’s products actually work,” said Burlingame. “And they work better than the harsh chemicals I had used for years.”

At the heart of H2O’s cleaning philosophy is the “chiffonnette” (French for rag or towel), a multi-fiber cloth woven in different ways to address different tasks — scrubbing (for stains, mildew), trapping (for dust and dirt), polishing (for glass, mirrors, TV screens) and detail (for smudges on stainless steel and other surfaces). Many tasks call for a cloth dampened with only water; some tasks require the addition of an H2O soap or powder.

Six months after her headache disappeared and a year after first trying H2O products, Burlingame joined the company as an advisor.

Since then, she’s built her home-based business into “the most fun, most profitable job I’ve ever had.” She’s signed on 65 advisors in North Central Washington and beyond, hosts up to four home parties a month and attends several more as a coach for new salespeople.