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Everday Business | Hastings expands into RC cars, pet toys, skateboards, big TVs

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Jessica Thune, customer service manager for Hastings Books Music & Video in Wenatchee.

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Hastings Books Music & Video didn’t kid around last month when they vastly expanded their store’s inventory.

We’re carrying more lifestyle, hobby and sports items,” said Jessica Thune, customer service manager for Wenatchee’s Hastings. “It’s part of the company strategy to be an ‘everything store,’ to give us an edge against the competition.”

Walls were torn down and aisles rearranged (yes, they’re slightly narrower) to give the store a fuller, brighter look, said Thune. But nothing was lost in the transition.

We have the same amount of books, CDs and DVDs as before,” she said. “Loyal customers won’t feel shortchanged — we didn’t cut back on what people know us for.”

So what’s new? Disc golf supples (think: Frisbee brands), paintball guns and gear, hundreds of radio-controlled cars, model-making tools and accessories, racks of skateboards, an expanded line of musical instruments (many guitars), electronics (including big-screen TVs), pet supplies and toys, camping gear … well, the list goes on.

Hastings’ buy-back services have expanded, too. For years, the store has bought used books, CDs and DVDs from customers. Now they’ll also buy back vinyl records (owning vinyl is a growing national trend), comic books and vintage video games.

These latest changes are the store’s biggest expansion since it opened in 1994, said Martha Linn, book department manager. “We’re all about entertainment, and these new items — thousands of them — help keep us relevant” in the changing marketplace, she said.

Time for a Klock award

Who’da thunk that selling fizzy water would be such a big deal? Wenatchee’s own Kevin Klock, that’s who.

You’ll remember that Klock is the CEO of Talking Rain and, in the last three years, oversaw huge gains in the company’s sales of Sparkling Ice, a flavored, low-calorie bottled water. We’re talking gains of … let’s see … $340 million since 2011.

So it’s not a complete surprise that he’s been recognized as the Pacific Northwest’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, the global financial-advisory company. They pegged Klock for his “success in innovation, financial performance and personal commitment” to the his company’s people and products.

Klock picked up his award June 20 at a gala event at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue. We’re guessing he didn’t wear his Wenatchee “tux” — an AppleSox T-shirt and cargo shorts.

Spud president in a hairy situation

Nelson Cox, the new chairman of the Washington State Potato Commission, didn’t return our calls, and we don’t blame him.

We had no intention of asking any kind of penetrating reporter-type questions about potatoes — not the size of this year’s crop, nor the reach of global marketing, nor how to fight rhizoctonia stem lesion.

Instead, we were interested in Cox’s mutton chops. Gotta admit, the guy has a nice set of chops.

The WSPC’s latest press release had a photo attached that showed a smiling Cox sporting 6-inch, pure white mutton-chop sideburns.

They’re real beauties that beg the questions: How long have you had them? How long did it take to grow them? Do they interfere with you slurping potato soup?

Cox farms near Warden and has served on the WSPC since 2008.

Sliced apples are Marvel-ous

Crunch Pak, the Cashmere-based sliced apple snack company, announced last week that Spider-Man and the Avengers are joining Mickey Mouse on labels of some of its kid-aimed packaging.

Marvel Super Heroes represent an active lifestyle as they embody aspirational attributes like responsibility and discipline,” said Michael Jerchower, director of licensing for Marvel. “Being able to pair our exciting characters with fresh produce is a winning combination.”

Crunch Pak has cultivated lots of relationships in the entertainment industry, particularly with Disney, which owns Marvel. Crunch Pak’s apple slices have been spotted behind the scenes at the Academy Awards, the Kids Choice Awards, the County Music Awards, the Miss America Pageant and the Super Bowl.

This weekly column is compiled from “Everyday Business,” a blog by World reporter Mike Irwin. You can reach him at 665-1179 or irwin@wenatcheeworld.com.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business or follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

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