Bookstore turns page, opens downtown shop
Just when you think the old traditional book — bound pages? remember? — might go the way of the dodo, downtown Wenatchee is getting a new bookstore.
Well, sort of new. Odd Hours Books, whose shelves now bow under the weight of nearly 50,000 used books, last month closed its East Wenatchee location and reopened Sept. 1 at 23 Orondo Ave. in the historic Wenatchee Hotel Building.
Cindy Davis, owner of Odd Hours for 12 of its 18 years in business, said she thought she might have to close the store altogether because of lease complications. But in stepped her daughter, 29-year-old Kim Davis, with new enthusiasm for running the store and an itch to relocate.
“Kim was practically raised right here among the books,” said Cindy. “So it feels good to pass the store along to family. I’m just thrilled.”
The East Wenatchee location, 132 Eastmont Ave., (next to Taco Time), had 1,800 square feet of books, said Cindy. “And the new store will have even more.”
That means there’s enough room, she said, for Kim to continue the store’s Internet cafe (hourly computer rentals) and … well, try a few new things that neither woman is ready to announce yet. “But Kim has some interesting ideas,” laughed her mom.
The new location for Odd Hours is part of a mini-resurgence in business for lower Orondo Avenue that includes the bookstore, the just-opened iLa Yoga studio and the new location of One Shot Firearms. The street is the corridor that will lead down to the new Pybus Public Market, the renovated factory building that’ll house the farmers market, craft-artisan spaces, shops and restaurants.
Info: 884-7028 or visit oddhoursbooks.com.
Join the Club
Town Toyota Center unveiled a new campaign Aug. 14 to sell more of its upper-end seats — the plush ones that come with pre-event buffets and celebrity meet-and-greet photo sessions.
A roomful of folks listened to the arena’s General Manager Mark Miller and Director of Sales Anthony McCarty give a fairly convincing pitch on why these seats are worth $850 a year.
At the heart of the campaign is The Club, which seat-holders instantly become a member of. Membership provides access to the VIP Lounge, a season ticket to all Wenatchee Wild home games, a chance to hobnob with visiting performers, a wider, cushier seat that comes with a cup holder and all kinds of other perks.
During his intro talk, Miller mentioned the arena’s deep financial problems but didn’t dwell on them. Instead, he urged the crowd of business and civic leaders to use their influence for positive publicity for the facility. “We need you to help spread the word on how to enjoy this really wonderful arena,” he said.
According to McCarty, the Club has 426 seats in sections 113 and 114 — a prime location for watching hockey action — with about 225 still available for new members.
Well, make that 221 available. Four seats sold on the spot following the presentation.
Burger King cooks up remodel
Owners of East Wenatchee’s Burger King had it their way last month — updating the restaurant with a snazzy exterior design, a more comfortable dining room and (take note, parents) an indoor playground.
Crews were at work through August to strip away the outlet’s exterior facade and indoor decor (furniture, floors, windows, signs, sheetrock) to return the building to its bare-bun beginnings. If all went according to plan, owners expected to be open sometime just after Labor Day.
Steven King, project foreman for California-based Tricon Building Solutions, which has done a lot of BK remodels, said installing an interior design package is the main component of the remodel.
The local BK, at 610 Grant Road, belongs to RU Hungry, a California franchiser that owns a number of West Coast fast food restaurants. Online sources peg the new BK redesigns for other locations at about $200,000 to $300,000.
The big picture? Parent company Burger King Worldwide, Inc., has cooked up all kinds of changes and improvements at its 12,600 locations around the world (McDonald’s has 33,000), including remodels of many restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.
In the last few months, BK freshened up its menu with salads, wraps and smoothies, and the changes have apparently paid off. Company earnings rose 60 percent in the second-quarter of this year, mostly on worldwide sales (think China). But U.S. restaurants showed about a 4.4 percent jump in revenue which, apparently, is a big leap for fast-food joints.
Pitch ideas at StartUp Weekend
Now’s your chance to crank up that business you’ve been dreaming about.
StartUp Weekend, one in a series of entrepreneurial workshops held around the world, will be hosted here Oct. 5-7 by the North Central Washington Economic Development District and the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wenatchee Valley College.
The two-day event features lectures, skills assessments and networking opportunities. At its center is a workshop session in which participants pitch a startup idea and receive feedback from peers and guidance from business coaches.
Through the weekend, teams form around the top ideas, determined by popular vote, followed by sessions on creating a business model, design and marketing. The weekend ends with presentations in front of local business leaders and more critical feedback on each project.
Weekend events begin at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 with registration and dinner, runs 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 6 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 7. All sessions will be held on the Wenatchee Valley College. Cost is $99.
To register, visit northcentralwashington.startupweekend.org.
StartUp Weekend is a Seattle-based nonprofit with local organizers in over 200 cities around the world. The organization helped host more than 400 events in 100 countries in 2011, according to an organization press release.
SCORE offers two new workshops
Two new business workshops have been scheduled by SCORE, a group of local professionals who offer free business advice and mentoring.
Workshops include “How to Start a New Business” on Sept. 12 and “Small Business Marketing and Sales” on Sept. 26.
Both workshops will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in SCORE’s conference room at 300 S. Columbia St. Cost is $10 per business.
SCORE’s regional chapter also offers workshops in Omak, 826-1880; Chelan, 682-3503; and Moses Lake, 765-7888.
For more information or to register, call 662-2116 or visit centralwashington.score.org.
Wenatchee hooks seafood restaurant
Chuck’s Seafood Grotto, a popular fish market and family restaurant in Snohomish, opened last month at the old Hart’s British Fish-N-Chips location, 609 N. Wenatchee Ave.
“This’ll be more than fish and chips,” said Stewart Saner, head of the crew that transformed the old fish restaurant into the new fish restaurant. “It’ll have crawfish flown in fresh from Louisiana and lots of good fresh stuff from right here in the Northwest.”
Owner Chuck Gibbs has operated the Snohomish restaurant for more than 17 years. A few years ago he moved to Leavenworth and, just recently, jumped at the chance to open an east-of-the-mountains location.
In Wenatchee, a nine-foot refrigerated display case is the Grotto centerpiece, Saner said. It’s chock full of fresh fish, which can be selected, cooked and eaten right there in the dining room or taken away for a home-cooked fish feast. It also has a small bar serving beer, wine, oyster shooters (eight different kinds of oysters) and shrimp cocktails.
The Grotto’s online menu shows fresh steamed clams, garlic prawns, steak and king crab, catfish po-boys, smoked salmon salads, oyster stew and tons of other goodies. Prices range from about $8.95 to $25 for surf-n-turf.
For a bigger taste of what’s available, visit chucksseafoodgrotto.com
Ridge hires marketing and sales directior
An avid skier and snowboarder with a degree in public relations has been hired as the new director of marketing and sales for Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort.
Jordan Lindstrom, 30, a former newspaper journalist, was hired for the position on Aug. 1 by resort owner Larry Scrivanich.
“My job — marketing and sales — is to get people skiing at the mountain,” said Lindstrom, who earned his journalism and public relations degree at Western Washington University in Bellingham. He’s worked at newspapers in Ferndale and Kirkland.
Hiring Lindstrom is part of a retooling of management and marketing direction at the Ridge begun by Scrivanich earlier this year. In June, he hired Josh Jorgensen, a base operations manager at Snoqualmie Pass Ski Area, as Mission Ridge’s new general manager.
Lindstrom, wife Gretchen and their 7-month-old son, Oscar, will be moving to the Wenatchee Valley at the end of this month, the new marketing director said.
Craft megastore could be coming
Sharpen your scissors. A hobby center bigger than any craft store in North Central Washington could take shape here soon.
Hobby Lobby, the privately-held $2.3 billion chain of arts and crafts stores, has submitted detailed designs to the city’s planning department to transform the former Top Foods grocery store into a mega-outlet for craft supplies, fashion fabrics, silk flowers, party supplies, furniture, candles and tens of thousands of seasonal craft items.
According to city documents, the 63,733-square-foot building at 10 Grant Road, across from Fred Meyer, would have a Hobby Lobby sales floor of 52,300 square feet and 7,159 square feet of storage, with the rest used mostly for office space.
By comparison, the size of Craft Warehouse at Wenatchee’s Valley North Center is around 10,000 square feet, according to store staff.
Vincent Parker, a spokesman for the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, said cost estimates and a construction timeline have not yet been announced because no lease contract has been signed.
“We always submit plans to the city when looking at putting a store in an area to help expedite the process if a contract is signed,” he said. “We have no signed contract yet.”
Work crews have already begun sprucing up the exterior of the former grocery store, which closed nearly 10 months ago after nullifying its lease because of nearby highway construction. It’s been vacant since then.
By Aug. 15, work had been completed on the building’s roof, the Top Foods sign had been removed and metal facing replaced on the front exterior. Members of a work crew said they were about the paint the entire exterior in preparation for a new tenant.
The city requires a review of detailed construction plans as a first step toward obtaining a building permit. Other permits and paperwork could follow, depending on the scope of the project and who does the construction.
Hobby Lobby submitted its plans July 19 for renovating the building. It normally takes about four to six weeks for a city review to be completed.
Parker said Hobby Lobby typically renovates or builds stores that are 55,000 to 60,000 square feet. About 30 to 50 employees are hired to run each store, he said.
Hobby Lobby began in 1972 in a 300-square-foot space in Oklahoma City as part of a miniature picture frame company, according to the company website, hobbylobby.com. Today, Hobby Lobby has 514 stores in 41 states with more than 21,000 employees. The company is set to open 30 stores this year, according to Parker.
Founder and CEO David Green runs the company using a set of “commitments,” which are openly Christian oriented. The stores are closed on most Sundays and Christian holidays. Christian-based music is fed by satellite to every store, according to the company website.
Woodworker’s art, day job dovetail into lifelong craft
Fine art that comes with drawers? Dave Cleveland’s hand-crafted storage chest is, literally, just such a case.
The 49-year-old woodworker originally designed his three-drawer, award-winning cabinet as a high-class toolbox. But now, he humbly admits, the intricate piece marks a culmination of skills learned from a life in woodcraft.
“A lot of what I know how to do is right here,” he said, running a hand over the polished wood’s flowing grain.
Last month, Cleveland’s Craftsman-styled, Asian-accented storage chest was named overall winner in an annual woodworking contest sponsored by Lombard’s Hardwood Supply of Wenatchee. The contest drew 15 entries in three categories — high school, amateur and professional — for an exclusive display of furniture and art pieces by some of the Wenatchee Valley’s top woodworkers.
Pieces were judged by professionals from four local cabinet shops on each work’s style, creativity, finish and joinery, said the supply house’s owner Mark Lombard. “But (Cleveland’s) stood out above the rest because of his attention to detail and precision woodworking. Everything about it is near perfect.”
Made of mahogany and curly maple with drawer pulls and accents of hand-shaped African ebony, Cleveland’s cabinet measures 24 inches wide, 16 high and 14 deep. It weighs 20 pounds and took 100 to 120 hours to design and build. It’s one of a trio he made simultaneously. The other two were gifts for his wife and boss.
The cabinet is the kind of project favored by woodworking schools to teach novice builders how to choose woods, use hand tools and make the different kinds of joints, said Cleveland. “I started with something simple like that, and the design grew from there.”
Before beginning, Cleveland sketched the box’s front view so he’d know, roughly, the piece’s style and proportions. “But the rest of it … well, it just emerged as I went along,” he said. “Grew organically. Took shape kind of on its own.”
The cabinet’s larger pieces were initially cut with a power saw, said the woodworker. But a nearby spread of hand tools — chisels, mallet, saw, plane, marking knives, compass and square — were used to make most of the mortises, tenons, dovetails and pegs holes that hold the cabinet together.
Plus, he said, working with hand tools has its own rewards. “This kind of work can be exacting and challenging,” said Cleveland. “But there’s also a meditative quality that allows me to shove aside all the mental clutter and” — he laughed, a little embarrassed — “find a kind of clarity.”
Cleveland, of East Wenatchee, began woodworking in high school and, after college, went on to build houses in southern California. He’s worked in Leavenworth for 18 years as a cabinet and furniture maker at Traditional Woodcraft, a supplier of kitchens, entryways and wall-sized display fixtures for high-end homes in the area.
Cleveland uses Traditional Woodcraft’s shop after hours to build two to three personal pieces a year. Next project, he said, could be a full-sized desk.
Company owner Jay Acheson said Cleveland’s wood skills cross over to his day job, too. “Dave brings a real artisan’s touch to the job that you don’t see in many cabinet shops,” he said, using an iPad to show photos of Cleveland’s hand-crafted tables, bathroom vanities, and elaborate doors. “Some of his work is pretty amazing.”
Cleveland picked up his favorite dovetail saw. “The more you use these hand tools — whether it’s a big commercial project or a smaller personal one — the more you learn how the process works. The cutting edge, how it acts on wood, how the wood reacts, how it all fits together.”
He smiled. “And the more you learn, the more satisfying the process becomes.”
Summer floats along at Slidewaters with Lazy River
Vacationing dad Scott Rowley tramped across the Slidewaters’ parking lot followed by five kids, two rolling ice chests, armfuls of beach towels and tote bags of snacks, sunscreen and eye shades.
Within the hour, Rowley, of Olympia, would join two other dads, both friends, and another gaggle of kids to spend much of the day staying wet and keeping cool at the newly-expanded pool-and-plunge park, one of Chelan’s most popular family attractions.
It was an outing only for dads and kids, Rowley explained, perhaps a bit wistfully. Their lucky wives would spend the afternoon sipping fine wines on a tour of local vineyards.
“We vacation in Lake Chelan every summer and try to do it all,” he said. “We swim in Manson, we swim in Chelan, we do the wine thing, and we definitely spend a day or two at Slidewaters.”
Grabbing a chunk of recreation time from each of Chelan’s hundreds of thousands of summer visitors is the splashy goal of Burke and Robert Bordner, the two cousins who own and operate the three-decades-old waterpark.
“We understand that people have lots of choices when they vacation in Chelan,” said Robert, 33, the park’s general manager. “So we know visitors are likely to spend only part of their time here. Our expansion strategy is to keep growing and evolving to make sure we appeal to every member of the family.”
Sales and attendance figures aren’t released for the privately-owned facility, but every year from Memorial Day to Labor Day the 29-year-old park attracts tens of thousands of guests to its 14 water features, concession stand and gift shop.
This summer, Slidewaters unveiled the Lazy River, a 500-foot-long winding watercourse that’s tailor-made for slow tubing and casual conversation. It’s designed, said Robert, to attract customers — say, moms with tykes — who want sun and water without the speed, splashes and wait-times of the park’s more wild-and-whoosh features.
The river is an attraction, said Robert, with virtually no waiting lines. It can accommodate upward of 200 tubers and waders in its zero-depth entry pool and 32-inch-deep channel. That’s in stark contrast, he said, to the park’s top feature, the Purple Haze with its enclosed chute that allows only one customer at a time. Lines lengthen as the daily crowds grow.
The Lazy River is at the heart of the park’s broader 3-acre expansion that includes a pavilion for hosting large groups, an Olympic-sized beach volleyball court (with white sand imported from north of Spokane) and a spread of newly-turfed lawn for games, picnics, weddings, quinceañaras or corporate gatherings.
“This is all situated to take advantage of the park’s location, with its views of the lake and mountains,” said Robert. “We think people will find this setting to be — well, take a look — it’s really remarkable.” He pointed uplake, past sailboats and parasails, to the North Cascades.
Addition of the river and adjacent amenities nearly doubles the facility’s size and gives “a resort feel to the park,” said Burke, 36. “Now there’s something for nearly everybody — people who want thrills and people who want something calmer but still cool.”
Slidewaters opened with nine waterslides in 1983 and changed hands twice before Burke Bordner bought the facility in 2008. Robert joined the business a year later as managing partner to run most day-to-day operations. The cousins, born and raised in Redmond, grew up next door to each other and have remained close all their lives. They now live in Chelan and are active in family and church activities, said Robert.
The park has about 85 employees on payroll — some full-time, many part-time — and most are trained, said Robert, as “shallow water attendants” with courses in CPR and first aid. The deepest water in the park is 36 inches.
The cousins’ management of the park maintains the facility’s core principles of overall safety with a focus on families and fun, said Robert. “But Burke and I bring a — how do I say this? — a youthfulness, a shot of energy to the place that I think employees and customers can feel and appreciate. It really is a fun place to work and play.”