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Everyday Business | Don’t you want to buy a nice hotel?

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Wenatchee’s Red Lion Hotel

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No takers yet for the Wenatchee Red Lion Hotel, which has been up for sale since last November.

But company spokeswoman Pam Scott said Thursday that potential buyers have shown lots of interest in the 149-room hotel on 3.5 acres near one of Wenatchee’s busiest intersections. Asking price: $4.5 million.

It’s a great property with great business and a long history of serving the Wenatchee area,” said Scott. “But so far, no one’s bought it.”

The subject arose last week when the Spokane-based Red Lion company announced the sale of two more of its older, larger hotels — in Kennewick and Twin Falls, Idaho — to franchisees. Earlier this year, the company sold its properties in Yakima and Kelso-Longview, also to franchisees.

The franchisees will own the property and buildings but retain the corporate Red Lion name. As part of the purchase, they’ve agreed to update guest rooms, spiff up exteriors and make improvements to landscaping and parking lots — enhancements that’d be nice, too, at the Wenatchee hotel when it gets new owners.

Last November, Red Lion put six older properties on the market. Four sold fairly quickly, and two — Wenatchee and Pocatello, Idaho — are still up for grabs. The sales are part of Red Lion’s new growth strategy to trim away under-performing hotels in small cities and focus instead on franchise properties in larger metro areas.

In case you’re wondering, as of last week Red Lion owned 53 hotels across the Northwest with a total around 12,000 rooms.

Freytag tagged as Produce Man of the Year

Tony Freytag, Crunch Pak’s director of sales and marketing, earned his industry’s top award Wednesday for “convincing consumers to crave a product they don’t even know they want.”

Yep, he’s the 2014 Produce Man of the Year, as designated by The Packer, the newspaper and website for the latest news on the fresh fruit and veggie industry. They’ve been reporting about cukes, zukes, apples and lots of other crunchies since 1893.

That quote about “convincing consumers to crave …” came from Packer editor Greg Johnson, who introduced Freytag at a big wingding in Chicago, and who praised Freytag as an innovator, collaborator and mentor.

Johnson quoted Freytag as saying folks thought he was crazy to concentrate on sliced apples. But “with the help of a couple of similar minded innovators,” said Johnson, “they worked out the technology for apple slices that wouldn’t turn brown, and then started marketing it.”

One of Freytag’s marketing innovations, said Johnson, was to link up with Disney and its subsidiary Marvel Comics. Pretty soon, Crunch Pak’s packs of apples, cheese and pretzels sported the likes of Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man and Captain America. “That’s as good a strategy as any to get sliced apples into the diet of kids across the country,” Johnson said.

Cashmere-based Crunch Pak produces more than 1 billion apple slices a year for its 43 snack products, which have been served behind-the-scenes at the Academy Awards and Super Bowl games and advertised in neon above Times Square in New York City.

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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