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The Blog - What's Going on in Business

By Craig Vanderhart, Travis Hornby
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance

WENATCHEE — Devil’s Gulch, a well-known and loved mountain biking trail, has long been the main attraction for riding in Central Washington. This iconic trail never fails to reward anyone willing to speed down its 11 miles of smooth single track.

But this trail has done more than make its users happy. It has also been a reason to come together, once a year, and care for its well-being and the future of mountain biking in Central Washington in general.

Less than a decade ago, local members of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance started an event called Devil’s Fest. The original goal was simple. The festival, normally in September, featured a trail work day, a shuttled ride, and at least one evening of enjoying food, local craft beer, and conversation. This festival was an opportunity to thank our landowners, the U.S. Forest Service, and give back with shovels and loppers in hand.

This original goal of simply giving back has now grown to include partnering with several local organizations that are not primarily focused on mountain biking. Evergreen is all about raising mountain biking awareness, building trails, and giving back to our communities. While we might be the only mountain biking club in town, we found that we were not the only organization concerned about trails and community service.

This past September, Devil’s Fest was re-launched with the Dark Side Festival. Several new partners helped us promote and run the event. Our local road cycling organization, the Wenatchee Valley Velo Club, put on a night ride, which they have traditionally called the Dark Side Ride. RunWenatchee, a club run and racing organization, helped put on a night run and a hike, while AdventureWenatchee and Two Bar Productions took the lead roles in promoting the event. And our local ski resort, Mission Ridge, gave us the best possible location for the festival.

Even though individual aims differ, each club or business saw the value in working together to promote the work being done by Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and its volunteers. More than 200 members of the Wenatchee community and beyond were in attendance. Some participated in the Dark Side events, some came to volunteer for the trail work party, and some just came to enjoy the music, local craft beer, and to help support our mission. The next Dark Side Festival is set for Sept. 26, 2015, again at Mission Ridge.

Looking forward, the Central chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance wants to continue to build local relationships as we strive to increase mountain biking options in our valley and beyond. With miles of trails to maintain and several more miles to be built, we cannot achieve our goal alone.

RunWenatchee’s club runners have already come out to help us build single track trails at Squilchuck State Park, which is already equipped with a pump track, jump lines, and other skills areas.

Many more projects are underway just 30 minutes west or 50 minutes east from the Wenatchee Valley. In Chelan, the U.S. Forest Service has teamed up with Evergreen and our junior high mountain biking club to build more single track at Echo Ridge. More advanced riders will be happy to know that in Leavenworth work is nearing completion on Rosy Boa (now a legal downhill trail) and the old Freund Canyon descent is getting a bike park worthy makeover.

With all of the projects combined we have seen 11 miles of miles of trail built using more than 3,700 volunteer hours. We could not be this successful if it were not for the hard work of our volunteers. We are also firm believers in community partnerships. With the help of other clubs and organizations along with many local businesses, we are even more poised to accomplish our ultimate goal of making the Wenatchee Valley a mountain-biking mecca.

This story first appeared on AdventureWenatchee.com. Craig Vanderhart and Travis Hornby are members of the Central Washington chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The chapter is based in Wenatchee.


Flirting With The Social Media Conversation

Life in Wenatchee Valley is a beautiful thing. We still talk face-to-face with our neighbors, meet with friends for lunch (or coffee) and say “hello” with a smile to strangers we pass on the sidewalk.

Is there anyway to improve upon that?

It appears there might be.

While social media seems to have become a “buzz” phrase, there is one thing for sure – it’s not going anywhere. The tabu associated with it though, can be a bit much to take.

What does any business owner / manager need to know about this shift in our way of life?

It isn’t as scary as the evening news makes it out to be

I have to admit, I stopped watching the evening news a few years ago. It’s just too depressing. Rarely do they start the broadcast with “Breaking News: Man risks his life to save a dog (he didn’t know) from an icy lake” {true story, by the way}

When it comes to social media, all you see reported in the news are the worst-case-scenarios. Which causes such a panic for anyone who hasn’t explored the digital lifestyle.

What you can do:

Start with your industry association. Research ways other businesses are succeeding with their social media efforts.

    • What sites/apps do they use?
    • How are they finding the time to get it all done?
    • Who do they enlist for their consumer engagement(s)?
      • employees, ambassadors, VIPs?

My best advice?

Play around with one of the social media channels you’re interested in (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin). Once you understand the culture of the channel as an individual, you can begin to see how you would interact with your community as a business.

Go ahead, give it a try! Then let’s meet back here next month to keep the conversation going.

Next up: Setting Realistic Social Media Expectations

April Welch is a Social Media Trainer and recovering organizing expert. She spends her days helping marketing decision makers become social media superstars with their online communities. When not connected to the internet she can be found dating her husband, watching her son’s sporting events or giggling with friends and family in her kitchen (where she burns water on a regular basis). Find out more at FlirtingWithSocial.com or during one of her local workshops

A Grand Award was given to Seattle Uncorked, for the event, “Belltown Crush”, an exclusive event showcasing the Cascade Valley Wine Country region and wineries of Lake Chelan, Leavenworth and Wenatchee.

The Washington State Wine Awards, presented by the Washington Wine Commission, honors exemplary individuals and businesses that champion Washington State wines and the local wine industry, took place January 26th at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall.  Seattle Uncorked, organizers and promoters of the Cascade Valley Wine Country (CVWC) event “Belltown Crush”, received a Grand Award for the category, Best Wine Event Pouring Washington State Wine.  Cascade Valley Wine Country’s director, Susan Trimpe worked closely with David LeClaire and Melinda Wells of Seattle Uncorked to coordinate the exclusive Cascade Valley Wine Country event.

This was the first year for the block party styled event, which took place September 28th, in Seattle’s Belltown on Bell St. between 2nd and 3rd.  It featured Cascade Valley Wine Country as the exclusive wine region with 15 wineries from Lake Chelan, Leavenworth and Wenatchee areas pouring their premier wines. The successful event also featured three local bands, food by “Where Ya at Matt”, and a grape stomping competition featuring Miss Seattle and her entourage.

CVWC chose to participate in this event because it showcased our regional wineries to wine enthusiasts in Seattle.

The following wineries participated:

Baroness Cellars                                                       Legend Cellars

Boudreaux Cellars                                                    One Wines

Chateau Faire Le Pont                                              Plain Cellars

Fielding Hills                                                              Silvara Vineyards

Goose Ridge Winery – Leavenworth                      Stemilt Creek Winery

Hard Row to Hoe                                                      Swakane Winery

Icicle Ridge Winery                                                   WineGirl Wines

Jones of Washington

Pybus Market is pleased to announce that Royal Sports LLC will run a “pop-up” Seahawks Fan shop for the next 3 weeks at Pybus Public Market.

Royal Sports LLC is an Ellensburg company run by Randy Crimp (Washington State University grad) and Jan Ramirez (Central Washington University grad).  They are a sports apparel store, specializing in headwear for PNW teams.  Given the timing of the year, most of their apparel will be Seattle Seahawk related.

Crimp and Ramirez operate a full “brick and mortar” store in Ellensburg.  Last May, they won a State-wide Entrepreneur of the Year award at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Conference.  Read more 

Royal Sports will be open daily, 11:00 – 6:00pm through February 7th.

“Last year, I visited Pybus Market and fell in love with it and ever since, we’ve been looking for the opportunity to open a business here, said co-owner Randy Crimp. “The Seahawks fateful win over Green Bay made that dream possible,” added Crimp.

New events and growth in existing ones led to a record year for sports tourism spending in the Wenatchee Valley in 2014. Tourism economic impact for tournaments and events totaled $7,575,240, up 3.0% over 2013 according to Wenatchee Valley Sports estimates. “The key once again was the variety of opportunities here for event organizers” noted Matt Kearny, sports tourism coordinator for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Of the top ten events of the year, nine represented different sports, which is a key component moving forward when showcasing our area for potential future events.” The top 10 included running, cycling, swimming, soccer and figure skating, combined with others that have a long history here, such as youth baseball, softball, skiing and the Special Olympics Washington Winter Games. Overall, nearly 50,000 visiting participants, their accompaniment and out of area fans attended 163 events. This resulted in 26,353 hotel room nights, an increase of 4.3% over 2013. Both the economic impact and room count numbers are the highest in the Wenatchee Valley since tracking began in 2007. These numbers are for tournaments and events only, and also do not track spending by locals.

Wenatchee has been named the 5th most fitness-friendly city in America (out of 369!) by smartasset.com, a financial website that is often referred to for people looking at relocating. Here is the article and list.

Individuals and organizations seeking regional support for economic development projects are encouraged to send a Letter of Inquiry to the North Central Washington Economic Development District before February 28, 2015, when the open solicitation closes. The EDD can connect local economic development projects in North Central Washington to a wider and broader range of grants, partnerships, business development assets and helping hands than they might ordinarily locate on their own. Details of what the Letter should include are at www.ncwedd.com or at (509) 421-0475 or admin@ncwedd.com.
“It’s simple and straightforward,” says Karen Rutherford, NCW EDD Chairman, “and starts with receipt of your letter. After the 2015 call closes, every letter will be reviewed to consider the regional aspects and benefits of your project and what we can do to help it succeed. Sometimes, the EDD’s regional reach and support for public/private partnership can be extremely helpful. We choose the projects we can support and ask those sponsors to submit more detailed proposals. The proposals are rated for regional significance and presented to the full board at a later date.”
The EDD supports projects as diverse as Plug-In NCW, the public/private partnership linking electric car charging stations to the world’s first electric highway (Cascade Loop) and feasibility studies for recreational development that will be shared by neighboring communities to help guide their decisions. See www.ncwedd.com/priority-projects for these and other examples.
Economic Development Districts were created and funded by the federal government to provide a forum and focus on regional economic development. Thirty board members represent municipalities, public agencies and private enterprises throughout Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties and the Colville Confederated Tribes.
“A rank of high regional significance is a big plus for private equity and public funding sources,” says Chris Branch, incoming EDD Chairman. “The district’s ranking lifts regional project visibility at state and federal levels. All projects located within North Central Washington are eligible and encouraged to apply.
NCWEDD promotes the North Central Washington economy with collaboration and communication at the regional level. The special purpose district was created by the EDA as a conduit for economic development information as well as priority state and federal Economic Development Agency funding.

For more information, please contact: Amy Massey, NCW EDD 509-421-0475 admin@ncwedd.com

NCWEDD  PO Box 4107, Wenatchee, WA  98807

WENATCHEE, WA.  Have you ever had an interest in volunteering to sit on a City Advisory Board but were unsure about the requirements or time commitment?  If you are looking for a way to learn more about the operation of the city, have a voice in city policies and projects, you may be interested in serving!  The City is currently creating a list of volunteers for city advisory boards and looking for interested citizens.  Information meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th at 5p.m. and Friday, January 16th at Noon at Wenatchee City Hall, 129 S. Chelan.

City Advisory Boards include:  Arts Commission, Cemetery Advisory Board, Civil Service, Code Enforcement Board, Diversity Advisory Council, Historic Preservation Board, Lodging Tax Advisory Board, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Planning Commission and Tourism Promotion Area Board.

This meeting is also available for any community member who sits on an advisory board for a public agency that requires adherence the Open Public Records Act.  A short training video will follow each informational presentation.

For more information, contact the City at (509)888-3604.

Anthony Brown will present a music documentary of Paul Robeson’s life in his words and songs for the WVC 75th anniversary winter-quarter lecture series, “I Go On Singing.” The performance takes place Thursday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. in The Grove Recital Hall, Music and Art Center. During the reception at 5 p.m., attendees are invited to enjoy appetizers, tour the MAC Gallery exhibit, and enjoy new artwork throughout the building from the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) Art in Public Places Program.

The lecture series is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and registration is required. Go to EventBrite,  to reserve a seat, or call anniversary coordinator Jennifer Korfiatis at 509.682.6907 to reserve space for groups of six or more.

In this 90-minute presentation, which includes piano accompaniment, narration and archival video, Brown describes Robeson’s role in American history and as a champion for peace and human rights during the 20th century. The presentation uses many first-hand accounts from Robeson’s autobiography, Here I Stand. Pete Seeger, a musical colleague of Robeson’s, discusses their friendship, music and turbulent times that they lived in during the video portion of the presentation.

Robeson was born in 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey. At 17, he earned a scholarship to Rutgers University, where he received honors in debate and oratory skills, excelled in varsity sports and became class valedictorian. He went on to Columbia University’s Law School, where he married fellow student and journalist Eslanda Goode, and then worked briefly in law before moving on to a career in acting. Robeson moved his family to Europe, where he established a stage, singing and film career.

Robeson spoke out frequently against racial injustice in a variety of ways, which included anti-Nazi demonstrations and performances for Allied forces during World War II. He continued his stage work in the United States, but during the Cold War era he was labeled a communist and barred from renewing his passport and from performing in the states. He published his autobiography, Here I Stand, in 1958 and was again permitted to travel internationally. Robeson’s family returned to the U.S. in 1963. He died from a stroke in 1976.

Brown is an American baritone singer who promotes peace and reconciliation through his music. His work has taken him to Africa, South America, Europe and Asia. He is also the director of the Peacing It Together Foundation.

“As I now travel the world singing and speaking out for peace and justice, I am reminded that Paul Robeson paved the way for me,” Brown states on his website, I Go On Singing.

This event is part of WVC’s 75th anniversary celebration. For more anniversary events and information, visit www.wvc.edu/75.

# # #

Wenatchee Valley College enriches North Central Washington by serving educational and cultural needs of communities and residents throughout the service area. The college provides high-quality transfer, liberal arts, professional/technical, basic skills and continuing education for students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Visit our website, www.wvc.edu.

Each new year, we typically take time to reflect on the previous twelve months, contemplating what we can do in the new year to improve ourselves.  Some of us even make new year’s resolutions, making a promise to ourselves to improve our life in some way.

For 2015, I’m taking one of the most common resolutions: getting in shape.  To that end, I’ve already joined a gym and made a one year commitment.  Frankly, exercising is not the high point of my day, but it needs to be done so that I can improve my health.  It’s been tough to get started, but even after the first week, I’m already feeling improvement.  I know that to reach my goal of personal fitness, I’ll need to stick with it and be consistent with my exercise program.  But I also know it will get easier as I get used to the routine.  I plan to “mix it up,” alternating between elliptical workouts, group classes and weightlifting so that I don’t get bored.  I have no aspirations to be a “gym rat,” but I believe that I can make the commitment to work out for 30-60 minutes 3-4 times a week and do it consistently.

I propose that you make a similar New Years resolution for your business’ health by implementing a social media plan and committing to it for 2015.

If you’re like many business people, the thought of writing blogs and posting updates about your business to social media is outside your comfort zone.  It’s also difficult to imagine doing this 3-4 times a week.  However, just like my quest for fitness, you can do this if you break it down into manageable steps, mix it up to keep it interesting and have realistic expectations for your time.

First, schedule time on your calendar to work on social media.  Consider them appointments that you have to keep.  For most businesses, 3-4 times a week for 1/2 hour should be plenty.

Next, mix it up, but on a schedule. For example, one day you can take a picture of something in or related to your business and describe how it’s important to what you do.  The next day, tell your audience an interesting fact about your profession the average person does not know.  The next, write a shout-out to another business or person you do business with.  The day after that, share a testimonial from one of your customers.  And once or twice a month, write a 200-300 word blog about something you found exciting in your work the previous week.  Come up with your own list of themes like this, and then rotate so you’re doing a different one each day.

You’ll find that if you make the commitment and mix up your routine to keep things interesting, over time, managing your business’ social media will get easier, and eventually become second nature.  Before you know it, your business will achieve “social media fitness.”

Make a business resolution for 2015 and get that social media campaign started.  Good luck!

Russ Alman and Dominick Bonny are co-owners of Digital Media Northwest, LLC, providing social media support, website design, video & photography and content creation services for NCW and western Washington businesses.