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It was exciting to see the enthusiasm generated at an early June press conference at Town Toyota Center announcing the Wenatchee Wild joining the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Ever since the team was formed several years ago, it has been a talked-about move that has so many positives. From a sports tourism standpoint, it has the potential to move the meter due to the much closer proximity of the teams, as a vast majority of BCHL franchises are in the southern portion of BC. Marketing efforts are already being planned to entice visiting fans to come south of the border. And I’m sure that will be reciprocal with many Wild fans planning a weekend or two to follow the team on the road. Affiliation with the NAHL served its purpose, but when your division ‘rivals’ are in Alaska, Kansas and Texas, somethings just not right. BCHL executives have long been impressed not only with the Wild organization and the outstanding facility in which they call home, but also the fan base. This past season, the Wild were 2nd in the NAHL in attendance out of 24 teams, more than 14,000 ahead of #3 Amarillo. The BCHL truly is where the franchise belongs.

Also last week, we received official confirmation that The US Figure Skating Northwest Pacific Regionals will be returning here in October 2016. This will mark the 2nd time in 3 years that the Wenatchee Valley will be awarded this prestigious competition. The announcement from US Figure Skating was the result of a collaborative bid process that involved The Wenatchee Figure Skating Club, Town Toyota Center and Wenatchee Valley Sports. There will be nine regionals nationwide, in locations such as Scottsdale AZ, Ogden UT and Lansing MI. The fact that USFG officials were highly impressed with the organizational efforts of our local club and the Town Toyota Center facility itself during last fall’s competition played a major role in their unusual decision to award a return here so soon.

Also, the renovation of the Apple Bowl is well underway. Among the improvements is the installation of new field turf, new lights and expanded and refurbished locker rooms. The field will be lined not only for football, but soccer and lacrosse as well, giving those sports a much-needed quality facility. The new turf will allow the field to be used more regularly, without the fear of turf damage from overuse or bad weather. This is a great addition for locals, and will be an attractive asset in the world of tournament recruitment. Much needed improvements are also planned at Recreation Park this summer. Good news indeed!

Matt Kearny is coordinator of sports tourism for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 509-662-2116 or matt@wenatchee.org

Preliminary figures released today by the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) indicate that tourism in Washington State improved slightly in 2014, but inconsistently throughout various counties in Washington and comparatively slower than the state’s overall taxable sales growth.
“The research underscores the importance of maintaining the WTA’s current marketing programs,” said WTA Board Chair Cheryl Kilday. That includes the Washington State Visitors’ Guide, destination web site, call center and international marketing, as well as the need for a long-term, industry led and funded tourism marketing program.
Direct visitor spending in Washington was $19 billion in 2014, up 5 percent over 2013, according to preliminary data compiled for the WTA by Dean Runyan Associates in the report State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume 1991 -2014. This compares with 7.1 percent growth in overall state taxable sales during the same period, according to figures released by the Washington State Department of Commerce earlier this month.
WTA’s new research also reported on tourism employment and tax revenue. The travel and tourism industry supported more than 163,400 jobs in 2014, up 2.7 percent from 2013. Local and state travel-generated tax revenue was $1.7 billion, representing roughly 5 percent of all state and local tax revenues and generating $600 in tax revenue for each Washington household.
“Robust worldwide travel, combined with the individual tourism marketing investments of the state’s major cities, port districts and private sector companies, have helped buoy our industry for the past four years since the state tourism office closed,” said Kilday

“We’re also grateful for some interim funding from the legislature the past two years which has helped sustain our state visitor guide, web site, visitor call center and other essential visitor services. This support, in conjunction with the nation-wide travel and tourism growth trend, has been absolutely critical to keeping Washington tourism alive until our industry funding plan can be deployed.”
Nevertheless, WTA officials worry about loss of tourism market share in the absence of a legislatively approved, industry funded long-term marketing program. “Our latest research illuminates the disparity in tourism impact in eastern and western Washington,” said Kilday. “Annual spending growth for the eastern state counties was 3.1 percent, versus 5.5 percent for the western counties. Employment growth was 1.3 percent for eastern, 3.1 percent for western.”
“Seattle, Spokane and other destinations with local tourism promotion areas (TPAs) have raised marketing funds to offset the closure our state tourism office three years ago, but research continues to suggest that this cumulative return is not enough for our state as a whole,” said Kilday. “Our tourism marketing investment must be statewide to make a broad impact.”
Senate and House bills supporting WTA’s tourism marketing funding plan were introduced in Olympia this session with significant support, but ran out of time
for approval. Plans are underway to continue the approval process in the next session.
Since the closure of the state tourism office in 2011, the private, non-profit, industry-led WTA has operated on a minimal budget. In 2013, the State Legislature approved short-term interim funding of $500,000 in each year of the 2014-15 biennium to pay for the basics of a state tourism marketing program.
The results of that minimum investment indicate that there has been a positive impact on visitation and spending in 2014. Traffic to the Experiencewa.com website produced 154,500 partner referrals in 2014 and traffic to the site increased 26 percent over 2013, with more than 581,500 visitors and over 1.7 million page views. And 2015 is showing growth as well, with 173,000 visits to the site in January – March alone. The WTA call center receives over 500 calls and email inquiries a month and personnel assist travelers in planning their Washington State visits. And thanks to the state investment in these interim funds, more than 300,000 Washington State Visitors’ Guides were distributed for free to prospective visitors.
“We hope that our interim funding will continue until the WTA can rely on a long-term funding framework that assesses key sectors of the tourism industry,” said WTA Executive Director Louise Stanton-Masten. “With the growth that we’ve seen with our minimum funding investment, we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impacts of a more adequately funded program. It is critical to help keep Washington competitive in a particularly competitive industry.”
Competing western state tourism budgets ranged from $7-$50 million last year. Comparatively, WTA had a $481,000 budget in 2013 and a $1.1 million budget in 2014 which included the State’s investment in interim funding. The WTA began work with a budget of some $300,000 when the state tourism office closed in mid-2011, successfully established incremental funds through membership and corporate sponsorships and in 2013 secured state short-term funding to underwrite the basics of a marketing program in 2014 and 2015. Funds were allocated to the state’s consumer travel web site, postage for distributing the Washington State Visitors’ Guide, operation of a travel call center, international marketing and research.

A 4 minute video on the day in the life at Pybus Public Market is now released and available for viewing on the Pybus Market web site,  http://www.pybuspublicmarket.org/

The film has been 1 year in the works.  It showcases the experience of Pybus Market, over the course of a day. It presents a rare and unique perspective, unseen by the everyday visitor.  The film is narrated by Mike Walker, who with his wife, JoAnn, are the primary private sector benefactors that renovated the historic 1946 steel warehouse.

“Most people who visit Pybus Market for the first time describe Pybus as a unique and inviting space with a warm, comforting feel,” said videographer Charley Voorhis. “I hope the film captures the sense that Pybus has an amazing energy.”  added Voorhis.  “The building has an interesting past with an exciting future,” said Voorhis.

“Charley Voorhis is a master storyteller and this film is no exception, capturing the essence of Pybus Market, said Mike and JoAnn Walker.  “We hope others find it as satisfying as we do,” added Walkers.

The film release follows on the heels of Pybus Public Market taking 1st place in KING TV’s Evening Magazine “Best Farmers Market” in their Best Northwest Escapes contest.

pybus_jerri_

Today, Native Network, a telecommunications and membership initiative to connect Tribal lands across the US to foster communication and trade between Tribes, announces the completion and success of an extensive tribe-to-tribe pilot program across Washington State.

“Native Network is rebuilding the connections between Tribes, once provided by a sophisticated network of trade routes, that today will be accomplished with an advanced telecommunications backbone connecting Tribal lands to each other and the world,” CEO Andrew Metcalfe said today from the CATTCOMM/Native Network booth at the 2015 Tribal Telecom and Technology Summit.

Salish Networks, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier that Metcalfe helped Tulalip Federation of Tribes create in 2012, has been an early participant in proving out the Native Network initiative by participating in a proof of concept exercise with Spokane Tribe of Indians. Together, the Tribes have established the capability of one tribe providing wholesale telecom services to a remote tribe that acts as a consumer and reseller of those services to its citizens and potentially to the non-Native community around it. After completion of the trial period, Rudy Peone, Tribal Council Chairman for the Spokane Tribe of Indians, who also serves on the Coalition Of Large Tribes Board of Directors, expressed his excitement for the endless nation-to-nation opportunities: “We can work together to improve economic prosperity in our respective reservations, it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to get started.”

The head of Native Network explained that this initiative is a reprise of the successful strategy to connect rural and underserved communities employed by Northwest Telephone, Inc., (NTI) a Wenatchee-based regional fiber-optic carrier access provider and telephone company he and co-founder Jenny Rickel built and then sold in 2008 to Zayo Group. Both Metcalf and Rickel are pleased to be working on challenges that face remote reservations and tribal lands as they have done in the past at NTI.

“Participation in the Native Network will provide member tribes with access to telecommunications, expertise and support that can be used to lower costs, while creating diverse sources of income from trade of everything from telecommunications services to Native goods by and ecosystem web-enabled tribal members,” he added.

Makers, Sponsors, Donors, and Performers wanted for inaugural Wenatchee Maker Faire on October 3rd

 Call for Makers Open Until August 1st

Wenatchee, WA, April 6, 2015 –­­ The Maker Faire is coming to Wenatchee! The inaugural Wenatchee Maker Faire is scheduled for Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, Washington.

The call for Makers, Artists, Performers, and Crafters is open now through August 1st. Any groups or individuals interested in presenting their project, activity, or performance in this event should complete the simple application.

Anyone wanting to donate or sponsor the event, or anyone wanting to learn more about this event, should check out the sponsor page of the Wenatchee Maker Faire website or, in the case of sponsorship, contact our team (See contact info at bottom of page).

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth — a family ­friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

“Make, create, craft, recycle, build, think, play and be inspired by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology.”

Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2013 celebrated its eighth annual show with some 900 makers and 120,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in four years to 600+ makers and 75,000 attendees. Detroit, Kansas City, Newcastle (UK), Rome, Oslo and Tokyo are the home of “featured” 2013 Maker Faires (200+ makers), and community ­driven, independently organized Maker Faires are now being produced around the United States and the world—including right here in Wenatchee.

The Wenatchee Maker Faire is fortunate to have GWATA and the Community Foundation as its partners and sponsors. GWATA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote a vibrant technology-based economy benefiting the citizens and communities of North Central Washington and the Greater Wenatchee Area . The Community Foundation of NCW is a tax-exempt philanthropic organization that helps individuals, families, businesses, and agencies support charitable causes such as our Wenatchee Maker Faire.

Follow the development of the Wenatchee Maker Faire on Twitter

As well as on our Facebook page,

Wenatchee Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc.

ABOUT MAKE MAGAZINE:

MAKE is the first magazine devoted entirely to Do ­It­ Yourself (DIY) technology projects. MAKE unites, inspires, informs, and entertains a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages. MAKE celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will.

Contacts:

Ethan Toth

info@makerfairewenatchee.com

509-669-0188

Website:  http://makerfairewenatchee.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MakerFaireWen

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/wenatcheemakerfaire

Instagram:  https://instagram.com/makerfairewenatchee/

The Wenatchee Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc.

 

 

SEATTLE – Orchard Corset received the coveted Excellence on Main Award at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony on May 7 in Bellingham, Washington. The ceremony was held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington State’s Preservation and Main Street Conference.
Opening in 1997, Orchard Corset is an industry leader in off-the-rack, steel-boned corsets. From humble beginnings selling vintage clothing on eBay, Jeff and Leanna Kurpuis have grown their company into one of the Wenatchee Valley’s largest online retailers. Having outgrown several locations over the years, the company was desperate for expansion space, and in May 2014, Orchard Corset found a new home in the historic Elks Lodge in downtown Wenatchee.
Construction was completed on the original lodge in 1922, but a major fire in 1958 necessitated a complete overhaul of the building, including the construction of its iconic and somewhat nondescript mid-century facade. When the Kurpuis’ purchased the building, it had sat unused for years – boards covering the basement windows had been in place for over 30 years.
This 40,000 square foot building is now bustling! All of Orchard Corsets’ inventory, shopping, web design, media production, and photography is done in-house. Since moving into the Elks Lodge the staff has grown from 13 to 25, and orders have been flooding in at the rate of close to 7,000 per month.
The interior of the lodge is being rebuilt and repaired and still features some fantastic amenities once enjoyed only by the Elks. Probably one of the highlights is the third-story ballroom, which has become an 8,000 square foot roller rink. Complete with chandeliers, 120 pairs of skates are available for employee use, and the Roller Derby girls use the space for practice twice a week. An indoor swimming pool in the basement should be rehabbed in time for July pool parties. Additional work will include upgrades to electrical and HVAC systems and the installation of high-speed fiber optic lines.
Not only have the Kurpuis’ breathed life into a Wenatchee landmark, they have created an amazing working environment for their valued employees; the Kurpuis’ understand that customer service is the key to their business’s success, and that happy employees make happy customers. Their generosity doesn’t stop there – they are huge supporters of the Wenatchee Downtown Association. They have funded a scholarship program to any business, new or old, that needs training in online marketing and promotions, which includes a membership in the Wenatchee Downtown Association. They also are willing and able to provide mentoring and support to downtown businesses in need of a boost.
“Orchard Corset has been an incredibly dynamic addition to Wenatchee’s downtown district, and their love and care of the historic Elks Lodge is truly a game-changer,” said Sarah Hansen, Washington State Main Street Coordinator. “Jeff, Leanne and their entire staff have become supporters and mentors to all entrepreneurs in Wenatchee, and we are honored to recognize their incredible generosity and commitment to Wenatchee with the Excellence on Main Award.”
The Excellence on Main Awards, organized by the Washington State Main Street Program, recognizes communities, organizations, and individuals who are helping to achieve economic vitality and build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization and preservation. Washington’s Main Street Program is housed in the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and administered, under contract, by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
For more information, please contact Sarah Hansen, Washington Main Street Program Coordinator, at the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation shansen@preservewa.org or 206.624.9449.
Local Contact: Linda Haglund at the Wenatchee Downtown Association at Linda@wendowntown.org or 509.662.0059.

veterans

Did you know that Washington State has a Veteran Owned Business Certification Program?  It is the State’s way for veteran’s to certify their business and reap the rewards of being officially recognized as a Washington State Veteran Owned Business.

The benefits of getting certified are;

  1. Eligibility to do business with Washington State Agencies, who are encouraged to do 5% of their purchasing with Veteran Owned Businesses. http://www.dva.wa.gov/program/veteran-business-resources
  2. Eligibility for the Linked Deposit Program which can lower your business loan interest rate by up to 2%. http://www.dva.wa.gov/program/linked-deposit
  3. Public recognition of your status as a Veteran Owned Business.

Even if you don’t plan to do business with the State of Washington, customers like to know they are patronizing Veteran Owned Businesses.

To get certified click here:   http://www.dva.wa.gov/program/veteran-owned-business-certification

It’s free.  It’s quick. It‘s easy.

As a final note, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs is working hard to promote and serve Veteran Owned Businesses.  Starting in April of 2015, WDVA will launch a Public Service Announcement radio campaign promoting Veteran Owned Businesses on over 60 stations in Washington State. Our goal is to bring awareness to the many businesses owned and operated by Washington’s Veterans!

If you have any questions, please contact the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Owned Business Registry.

Joshua Amos, Project Manager

WDVA Veteran Owned Business Registry

www.dva.wa.gov

vob@dva.wa.gov

1-800-562-0132 option “1”

While March has presented a fairly steady stream of sports events in the Wenatchee Valley, April is when the rubber really begins to hit the road. On tap are impact events including ski racing, youth baseball, golf, running, softball, and auto racing. In fact, two of the years largest events in terms of sports tourism take place in back-to-back weekends. April 11-12 will find a record 130 baseball teams (ages 9-14) on hand for the Triple Crown Season Opener, attracting squads from Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington. Teams are welcomed in Friday night with opening ceremonies at Town Toyota Center. Saturday and Sunday, over 20 area diamonds will be in use. Area school districts, cities, Parks & Recreation departments, Chelan County PUD and local baseball organizations are all partners that help with field availability and usage. Many area hotels set aside room blocks, some restaurants provide specials, and several businesses donate raffle items for the kids to enjoy at the opening ceremonies. It’s quite a production, but certainly well worth it on several fronts.  The following weekend, The Wenatchee Marathon takes center stage, with an Expo open to the public Friday the 17th, followed by the marathon/half-marathon & 10k runs Saturday. Between those two weekends, we’ll see over $850,000 in economic impact from visitors, an incredible number for what many regions of the state consider a ‘shoulder’ season. Not only does this provide a welcome economic boost to dozens of area businesses, but it also affords exposure to hundreds of people who may have never experienced this area before. The fact many of those will return at a later date for vacations or a weekend stay is just icing on the cake.

But April is just the beginning. May, June and July also provide a healthy share of activity. Swimming, cycling, trail runs and 3-on-3 basketball join all the other events already in full swing. Not to mention team sports like the AppleSox, Rams and Wenatchee FC and huge year-round activities such as fishing and hiking. Historically, March thru July are the peak months here in terms of total number of sports events. And sports tourism spending follows right along. For example, in 2014 those 5 months accounted for 69% of the year’s estimated economic impact based on sports events and tournaments. What really makes it special is that a high percentage of those events include a significant number of locals that can enjoy them as participants or spectators, within minutes of their homes.

Matt Kearny is coordinator of sports tourism for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 509-662-2116 or matt@wenatchee.org

Trisha Miller @ Pybus

As a professional photographer and videographer based in Wenatchee, I’ve got a pretty sweet job.

This place is gorgeous, with accessible mountains, lots of well-maintained parks, and every way you look there are lakes and rivers – and it comes gift wrapped in four beautiful seasons. I get to see this place from head to toe on a daily basis and I love it as much for the people as for the recreation and the scenery.

I do creative photo shoots with yogis and ballerinas, newly engaged couples and high school seniors. I shoot in places like Pybus Market, Ohme Gardens, the Loop Trail, the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, and the Numerica Performing Arts Center – but my regular gig is shooting real estate for the Nick McLean Real Estate Group.

In the last two weeks I’ve been to Chelan, Waterville, Quincy, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Plain, Entiat, Orondo, Malaga and all the way to the White River near the edge of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. I have seen the full range of scenery the region has to offer.

What I’ve found is a small-town culture where people are quick to smile and engage you in a conversation. A place where strangers offer you tea, and if you’ve been here any amount of time at all you will discover lots of mutual acquaintances and friends. I’ve found a place where people don’t lock their doors at night, and even in the “worst” neighborhoods people care about their community and are quick to come out and greet you with a smile. A place where people value experience over extravagance and homes are more likely to have a hot tub, fire pit, or wine cellar than a luxury car in the driveway.

Just when I start to think I’ve seen every neighborhood, or that I know all the views this place has to offer, I find a new one. I’ve been thinking about finding a new home lately and the hardest part is deciding where to look, because there are so many amazing neighborhoods. But one thing I do know: after moving around the Puget Sound for most of my life I’ve finally found a place that truly feels like home.

Brian Abbey

Photographer, videographer and Wenatchee Valley Technological Skills Center Instructor

Ohme Gardens Dance Shoot-1990

Mud Bay Jugglers -6425

Each year state law makers introduce thousands of “good little bills” for consideration. The good news is there are twelve different ways in the process to “kill” those “good little bills”. Amazingly though, hundreds of them still manage to get passed each year and sent to the Governor for signature.

I’ve spent several days during the last two months in Olympia advocating for and speaking against some of these “good (or not so good) little bills” on behalf of businesses in the Wenatchee Valley. There are two bills I would encourage our business community to start taking about here at home and in Olympia:

  • Increasing the State Minimum Hourly Wage to $12 per hour.

If enacted, HB 1355/ SB 5285 would increases the state minimum hourly wage to $12 per hour over the course of four years:

  • beginning January 1, 2016 – $10.00;
  • beginning January 1, 2017 – 10.50;
  • beginning January 1, 2018 – $11.00;
  • beginning January 1, 2019 – $12.00;
  • beginning January 1, 2020 state minimum wage rate would be adjusted for inflation.

If HB 1355 does not pass, there is a strong possibility voters will see an initiative on the ballot in 2016. Now is the time to educate law makers, your employees, and our community about the impact a $12 per hour minimum wage would have on your business and our local economy.

  • Statewide Tourism Effort

In 2011 the legislature closed the state tourism office. Washington is the only state without a statewide tourism marketing program. If enacted HB 1938 would re-establish a statewide tourism effort that is industry funded and industry lead. It would raise $7.5 million per year by adding a yearly assessment to businesses within several tourism industry sectors: lodging, food service, attractions, and retail. Those funds would be managed by a newly created Tourism Marketing Authority who would be responsible for contracting with a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is marketing the state, and to conduct research to determine the effectiveness of the marketing program by evaluating the growth of tourism.

We all need to fully understand how the passage of these measures will impact local business and our overall economy. Now is the time to get educated and speak up. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce is here to help. For more information on either of these measures, or to learn how you can get your voice heard in Olympia, please contact the Chamber at (509) 662-2116 or by e-mailing info@wenatchee.org .

Shiloh Shauer –Executive Director Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce