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The Blog - What's Going on in Business

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

 

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.