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Business Roundup | Cashmere Veterinary Clinic is homeward bound

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Cashmere Veterinary Clinic owner Veterinarian Megan Kelley, Lead Tech Lynett Robertson and Practice Manager Matthew Kelzenberg are organizing eqiupment and supplies in preparation for the clinic's debut June 2.

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Cashmere Veterinary Clinic is homeward bound

CASHMERE — Veterinarian Megan Kelley is reopening the hometown Cashmere Veterinary Clinic in June, picking up where Mick and Sheryl McDevitt left off when they retired in 2015.

The clinic has been dormant since then.

The McDevitts founded the practice in 1977 at 401 Aplets Way before moving in 2006 to the former Braun’s Funeral Home building at 227 Cottage Ave. As retirement neared, they had hoped to find another veterinarian to carry on, but nothing materialized, so they closed the doors while the hunt continued.

Kelley heard about the opportunity and was tempted.

I thought that would be so awesome, but the timing wasn’t right,” she said. Her second son was about to be born.

Now, three years later, I’m in a better place for taking on the adventure of owning a business,” she said. “It was fortunate for me that they were still wanting to sell after all this time.”

Kelley spent her early years in Cashmere — her family moved to Wenatchee when she was in third grade — and remembers when the clinic was on Division Street (now Aplets Way).

She graduated from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 and has been practicing since then, cutting back on hours when the kids were born, but picking up again as family schedules permitted. During college, she got interested in integrating holistic veterinary medicine — techniques like acupuncture and spinal manipulation — with conventional medicine. She added a certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2011 and became a fellow in the College of Animal Chiropractors last year.

When she wasn’t on call with the Animal Hospital of Wenatchee or working as an emergency veterinarian for BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tacoma, for the past several years she has been building a mobile practice providing acupuncture and spinal manipulation to large animals — mostly horses.

Her vision for Cashmere Veterinary Clinic is to continue that work while providing integrated service to small animals at the clinic. She expects eventually to hire additional veterinarians for the small animal side, which would allow her to focus on building the mobile large animal holistic practice.

I want to provide safe, high quality and effective pet care that incorporates conventional medicine with acupuncture, chiropractic and laser therapy,” she said. “Our motto is natural pet care in everything we do.”

She approached the McDevitts last year to see if the clinic was still for sale.

It was. She wrote her business plan and searched for a lender. She needed to pay for the building and state-of-the-art equipment, including digital X-rays, ultrasound machine, laboratory diagnostic equipment and the Class 4 therapeutic laser, plus the usual things like phone and security systems. The process was daunting.

Because the business had been closed for three years, the banks considered it a startup,” she said, even though it was the same building, using the same name and phone number. “They said startups are too risky. I had no idea that would be an issue.”

She didn’t give up.

I believed in the vision of the integrated service and that Cashmere should have a vet clinic,” she said. “I was disheartened, but I didn’t stop.”

Jim Fletcher at the Small Business Development Center, who had helped her write the business plan, suggested she apply for a Small Business Administration loan and approach local lenders.

By then, she had crystalized her business plan into a fine-tuned 50-page document.

Seven presentations later, she found success with Banner Bank.

They embraced the business plan and the dream,” she said. “They’ve been enthusiastic from the beginning.”

She admits the SBA loan paperwork was extensive and seemed to be never ending, but it all came together on April 25. She said if all goes according to plan, she will have the loan paid off in less than 10 years.

Since then, she has hired staff, including Lynett Robertson as the lead technician, and Matthew Kelzenberg as the practice manager. The equipment is on order. The outside has been painted and landscaping is underway. The inside paint, including a mural, is scheduled. The phones were turned on Wednesday.

The building has 2,446 square feet of space on the main floor for the reception, treatment area, surgery suite and storage. It also has a full basement.

The official opening day is set for June 4, but an open house is set for noon to 4 p.m. June 2.


Subsplash signs on as port’s first incubator tenant

WENATCHEE — Subsplash, a Seattle-based software company that focuses on apps designed for churches, will be the first incubator tenant in the Port of Chelan County’s newly-leased space in the Pybus Annex.

The company — subsplash.com — has signed an 18-month lease and is expected to move in by July 1. The company expects to ramp up to 15 employees at the location during the first year.

We’ve been trying to attract them to establish a beachhead here in Chelan County for the past year,” Port Executive Director Pat Jones said. The company toured several other locations, but didn’t find anything to suit.

According to the company’s website, 2017 was a record year for the company, with more than 5,000 churches using the Subsplash platform and some 700 million impressions and 80 million sermon plays.

Subsplash CEO Tim Turner founded the company and has been building it together wit his wife and co-owner Kristy Turner, who grew up in East Wenatchee.

Jones said one of the items on the company owner’s requirement lists was to be within walking distance of Pybus Public Market.

It’s difficult to get any closer.

The annex, the building directly next door to the market, is undergoing a $1.2 million renovation to update heating and air-conditioning systems and acoustics. Windows and door openings are being added to improve the views from the event center and offices. That project is expected to be completed in May.

In March, the port signed a five-year lease for 1,950 square feet of office and meeting space on the second floor of the annex, with the intent of creating a business incubator targeting technology startups. The lease with the foundation is for $3,250 a month for five years, and includes a five-year extension option.

The port’s business incubation strategy is to lease the space to a startup for 60 percent of the market rate to start and step that up on a quarterly basis, with full market rate ($20 a square foot) kicking in after the first year and continuing through the next six months.

When 18 months is up, the incubator tenant is expected to move into a space of their own somewhere in the valley.

Jones said Subsplash is offering its current employees a relocation package and some of the company’s officers have been looking at houses on the market.


East Wenatchee sets fees for temporary business licenses

EAST WENATCHEE — Temporary vendors, peddlers and door-to-door solicitors in East Wenatchee will soon have to pay for licenses.

City Council on May 8 approved amending the municipal code to set fees for temporary business licenses. The change went into effect May 18.

Fees are $5 for one day and $25 for 30 days.

Mayor Steve Lacy said the update allows the city to license vendors for festivals and other events, as well as people who resell produce.

The old ordinance provided for 90-day licenses or less than a year, but not just for, say, a week,” he said.

Nonprofits and service clubs are exempt, and state law allows farmers to sell their own produce without a license.

Lacy added, “We’re not trying to regulate somebody’s home-lemonade stand.”


Manson chamber hires first executive director

MANSON — Debbie Conwell has been hired as Manson Chamber of Commerce’s first executive director.

The new part-time position was created earlier this year and is the chamber’s only paid position.

Conwell, co-owner of the Green Dot Subshop, is one of six people who applied for the post. She started in April.

She has more than 30 years of administration management experience and has been actively involved in the community, including leading the “Night to Remember” awards banquet for years. “We can’t be more excited to have Debbie on board,” said Chamber Board President Sandy Day. “She will not only manage the weekly operations of the chamber, but be the face of the organization as we move to the next level.”

Chamber board member Eric Featherstone said the board recognized a need for a part-time executive director at the beginning of the year. The position is funded through operating expenses, which come from membership dues and event sponsorships.

Manson is an unincorporated community on the north shore of Lake Chelan. The area is a destination resort community featuring vineyards, orchards, dining, arts and recreational activities.

The chamber has more than 80 business members.


Morley hired as new NCW Fair manager

WATERVILLE — Carolyn Morley has been hired as the new NCW Fair manager.

She’s a Waterville local, I guess you might say,” said Douglas County Administrator Jim Barker. “She grew up here, moved away and came back. She recently moved from East Wenatchee to Waterville.”

Morley currently is the executive director at Bonaventure Senior Living in East Wenatchee and will start at the fair as soon as her duties there end, Barker said. She previously was the marketing director for Bonaventure.

The fair manager, working with with the volunteer fair board, puts on the annual fair, including agriculture, horticulture and livestock exhibits. The fair attracts competitors of all ages, along with entertainment and related activities.

The manager also is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the fairgrounds and promoting the facilities for other events. The county funds the fair manager post, as well as a secretary and maintenance worker.

Ed Daling, who served as fair manager several decades ago and returned to serve as interim manager off and on for the past three years, will work with Morley through this year’s fair, Barker said.

We want to take advantage of having a seasoned manager providing guidance and training through the upcoming fair. He is in the perfect position for that,” he said.

Morley is the fair’s third manager in three years. Eric Granstrom left in 2016. The county hired Loni Rahm about a year ago. She left about a week after last year’s fair ended.

Barker said county commissioners interviewed six candidates since the job was posted late last year.

We got an excellent candidate and believe with the training period are looking at a tremendous success for this year’s fair,” Barker said.


Remodel planned for Rocky Reach Dam visitor center, museum

WENATCHEE — Rocky Reach Dam’s old visitor center and museum could get some new life in the next year.

Chelan County PUD commissioners have reviewed a $2.4 million redesign that would include moving the museum’s historic exhibits from the powerhouse to remodeled space in the existing visitor center, which sits outside the dam.

The move would increase visibility for the Museum of the Columbia and security in the powerhouse, said Casey Hall, project manager.

The project would provide the first major upgrades to the visitor center — now called the Discovery Center — since it opened in 1962. It would include a new roof and much-needed repairs plus remodeling to make room for the museum exhibits. If approved, work could start this year to be finished in time for the 2020 season.

The funding would come from the dam’s operating and capital budgets.

Dam tours, the park, fish viewing and the café would remain open during the construction.

Hall also requested commissioners consider using $1 million in Public Power Benefit funds to rebrand the museum’s “story” and develop additional exhibit space.

The Public Power Benefit program was launched in 2015 to use revenues in excess of PUD operating and capital needs to enhance the quality of life for Chelan County residents. Commissioners have allocated about $3 million a year to projects since then, including build out of the fiber network and parking passes for day use at the three PUD parks managed by the state.

Board members will be asked to decide on the Public Power Benefit funding for 2019 on June 4.


Ward’s Funeral Chapel says farewell

LEAVENWORTH — The community gathered May 16 to give Ward’s Funeral Chapel a fitting send off, 48 years to the day after Jim and Wilda Ward started the venture that has provided support and solace to Upper Valley families.

After today, there will still be someone around for a little while, taking care of things in process,” Ward’s Funeral Director Dan Scott said. “We will still be here for a month or two to button up all the loose ends.”

Wilda Ward, who turns 80 this year, continued to operate the business with the help of family members and employees since Jim Ward Sr. died in 2008. They started the business at 303 Pine St. in 1970.

The family announced its final plans for the business on April 18, in the form of full-page newspaper ads.

In the Spring of 1970, a home grown Leavenworth boy and his bride began their journey as small town caregivers. There they dedicated themselves to serving all who placed in them that sacred trust to be shepherded through the loss of a loved one, a ministry guided by compassion, dignity and professionalism. …It is with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment for us to proclaim that on May 16, 2018, our 48th Anniversary, Ward’s Funeral Chapel will cease operations and say farewell,” the ad reads, followed by an invitation to the open house — food and drinks provided.

Scott, who has worked for Ward’s Funeral Chapel for 17 years, as did his father before him, said he spent the days following the announcement answering a steady stream of phone calls.

Everyone wanted to know, ‘What now?’” he said. “It was a shocker to everybody.”

For Scott, the move provides an opportunity to consider switching careers to something that doesn’t require being on call 24/7 and allows him to be home on evenings and weekends.

But that decision will come later. The current job isn’t yet finished.

Today we stop receiving any new business,” he said Wednesday, “but it’s not the day we stop providing service. That has to continue until it’s completed. It’s a time to focus on the families we have served in the past to make sure they have everything they need.”

That includes those who have pre-planned services.

We have a ton of pre-need files. We need to talk to them and see where they want to go,” he said.

Ward’s also has shelves of unclaimed ashes.

We are in the process of putting together notifications for families to come and pick them up or let us know what needs to be done. That’s a No. 1 focus. We want to make sure folks in storage here are properly taken care of,” he said.

In addition to finding homes for the cremains, he is also awaiting several memorial markers.

Those get delivered to the funeral home and we need to make sure they get to the right cemetery,” he said.

Wrapping up those kinds of loose ends is important, he said, and one of the reasons the business will be missed in the community.

We do more than just funerals. We’re doing things at the cemetery, placing flags on Memorial Day, putting together the Memorial Day service programs,” he said. “In the early days, the funeral home also operated the ambulance service. We provide more service than just to the deceased.”


National stats show Wenatchee workers earn less

WENATCHEE — Wenatchee workers in 2017 earned $2.88 an hour less than the national average, according to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The statistics cover employment counts and average pay rates for all jobs in the area.

Here are some of the highlights:

The average hourly wage in the U.S. was $24.34 in May 2017, while the average worker in the Wenatchee area made $21.46 per hour. That’s about 12 percent less.

Management occupations in the area made the most per hour, at $45.59 per hour, followed by health care practitioner and technical occupations at $38.55 an hour.

The average wage for personal care and service occupations ($17.12 per hour) was 31 percent above the national average.

Office and administrative support occupations accounted for the largest share of local employment with 5,900 jobs, followed by food preparation and serving-related jobs (5,230) and sales and related occupations (5,000).

For the detailed list, go to http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_48300.htm


Mack’s Lure widens its smile

WENATCHEE — Wenatchee-based Mack’s Lure Inc. continues to add new twists to its signature spinner blade.

The fishing tackle manufacturer released several new Smile Blade designs in the past year, including the UV Mirror series and, building on that, the UV Diamond Series, which combines the mirror base a with holographic design. It comes in two sizes and five colors.

The additions were prompted by customer demand.

It’s imperative that we’re always tweaking, innovating and manufacturing the next best fishing tool, which includes colors, size, etc.,” said company spokesman Britton Ransford. “When consumers began inquiring about a holographic/UV design, we took action.”

The company now has about 50 Smile Blade designs, he said.

All the new designs are field tested, Ransford said, a process that takes several months.

We felt comfortable releasing the new blade design/style after successful results in the field and after carefully reviewing feedback from our pro and guide staff, which is in excess of 150 anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada,” he said.

Locally, Mack’s Lure products are available at Stan’s Merry Mart and Hooked on Toys in Wenatchee at Sportsman’s Warehouse in East Wenatchee, or MacksLure.com.


Construction heats up as jobless streak ends

WENATCHEE — The metro Wenatchee area’s jobless rate hit 6.3 percent in March, ending a 17-month run of declining unemployment rates.

But there were 2,900 construction jobs in the area in March, up from 2,300 the year before, “ranking it as the fastest growing local industry” in the metro area, according to the state Department of Economic Security.

Until Marche’s jobless rate, announced April 30 by the state, each month’s rate since October 2016 had been lower than the same month the year before.

This year’s March matched the 2017 March rate of 6.3 percent. It was 7.5 percent in March 2016.

Compared to March 2017, the state jobless report in March 2018 saw:

  • A 4.2 percent increase in non-farm jobs, from 42,900 to 44,700. (The state’s non-farm growth was 2.9 percent for the same time.)
  • Continuation of a 71-month streak of increased or stabilized non-farm employment dating to May 2012.
  • An increase of 0.1 percent in the civilian labor force. The pace of growth has slipped for the past three months.
  • Job growth in private education and health services, a combined area that has seen growth for 54 straight months through March 2018. There were 7,200 jobs in 2017 and 7,600 jobs in 2018.
  • Leisure and hospitality bounced back from a smoky 2017, hitting 6,600 jobs, up from 6,100 the year before.

Retail employment also increased in the last two quarters of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.


Lisa Bee’s events spark ‘agritainment’ discussion

EAST WENATCHEE — Music, painting parties and trivia nights might be good for Lisa Bee’s balance sheet, but they could be violating county code.

That is the concern of Douglas County commissioners who May 15 questioned whether events helping attract customers to Lisa Stanton’s fruit stand qualify as “agritainment,” one of activities allowed on orchard property.

The debate, according to the three commissioners, was prompted by an anonymous complaint. The county’s code enforcement officer reviewed the issues and found some potential violations. He stopped by Lisa Bee’s in early May to break the news, Stanton said.

She attended the May 15 commission meeting to ask for clarification.

I don’t know what I’ve done wrong, if it’s a safety issue or a noise ordinance,” she said. “It’s my belief I fit in the code.”

Touted for its bistro, bakery and produce, Lisa Bee’s, 13023 Highway 2/97, is in a 5-acre agriculture commercial zone, designed to provide a variety of lifestyles while protecting commercial agricultural activities. Fruit stands, produce markets and agritainment are allowed, as are duplexes, bed and breakfasts and riding stables.

The county code lists agritainment as day-use recreation and entertainment activities centered on an agricultural theme, like corn mazes and sleigh rides.

Stanton said her customers attend her events because of the orchard, which fits that theme.

She bought the fruit stand and 20-acre orchard in 2015 from Bob and Karen Rogers who operated it as First Fruits. Their operation included weekend trips to farmers markets in Seattle. Stanton, with two young children, could not make that work.

I needed to find another way to make the mortgage payment,” she said.

Her first move was to add a commercial kitchen to the existing fruit stand, which allowed her to serve pastries and fruit smoothies, in addition to the fresh fruit and produce and local retail gifts like honey and cider. She also obtained a liquor license. She secured permits from the county, Chelan-Douglas Health District and state Liquor Control Board.

She lost money that summer.

The next year, she added espresso and expanded the building, bakery and menu. She hosted a few events, including cider tasting and a Christmas party. She still lost money, she said.

In 2017, she added hard ice cream and started catering on and off-site events.

She also hosted 20 private parties as well as family Lego nights, cider tasting, trivia nights, an egg hunt, a family talent show, a pumpkin hunt and booked live music on three occasions. She lost less money.

This year, she decided to add more events and has booked live music on Friday and Saturday evenings through Labor Day weekend.

They’re not concerts like those at The Gorge or the Town Toyota Center, she said.

I hire people with guitars to play music,” she said. She anticipates attendance between 75 and 100 people, though her largest event last year had about 140 people.

She also expanded the parking lot to provide capacity for more than 80 customers plus her 15 employees. Her occupancy permit allows for 50 people inside and she has space outside on the patio for 100.

The events are in addition to the seasonal produce and fruit, sandwiches, pastries, ice cream, coffee, local beer and wine and locally made retail gifts.

Commissioners said their intent is not to make things more difficult.

We want to facilitate small business, to help people with businesses be successful in Douglas County,” Commissioner Dan Sutton said. “The fact that you’re struggling to keep a profit line is acknowledged. It’s a tough business. I get that, too. What we have to deal with is how do we get around what has been complained about and how to address potential code violations. How do we help you come into compliance?”

Stanton said she believes she is in compliance, though she is willing to apply for an additional conditional use permit for hosting private events, if necessary.

In the meantime, commissioners said they will work with staff on the definitions in the code to see what needs to be clarified.

We have some gaps in language, in the code,” Commissioner Kyle Steinburg said. “We’ve talked about looking into addressing the gray areas that can be interpreted one way or another. I think we need to develop some parameters and more accurately define ‘agritainment.’”


Moses Lake airport gets to keep radar facility

MOSES LAKE — Grant County International Airport will keep its radar control facility after all.

The Federal Aviation Administration is not recommending closure of the Terminal Radar Approach Control facility. The decision follows a review of similar facilities across the country, a study ordered by Congress that has taken several years.

State Rep.Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake drafted legislation in 2017 to argue the benefits of keeping TRACON in operation, including providing opportunities for future pilots. He said is pleased with the decision.

The TRACON facilities in Grant County, along with the Grant County International Airport, provide a number of jobs and services vital to Washington’s aerospace and military sectors in the region,” he said. “If TRACON had relocated or closed, we could have lost the ability to blend important needs of our military and aerospace sectors.”