Whether you’ve been in business for one year or 100 years, you build—and begin to leave—a legacy by virtue of the lives you’ve touched with your product or service, your entry into public records, your commitment and give-back to local nonprofits, the people who join your team, and others whose services you have required to make your own business a reality. This special section is in honor of local entities who have been shaping the business landscape of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene—and, often, around the globe—for many years, and who continue to be the developing story—and legacy—of our region.
Celebrating 17 Years at Broadway Court Estates
A Sarff Family Legacy
Spokane was forever changed in 1966 with the addition of the Sarff family from Sau Ste Marie, Ontario. Because Geri Sarff was the registered nurse in the family, she was the best choice to move to Spokane with her husband, Harold, and two boys, to care for her mother-in-law. They purchased a home and settled in for the long haul, embracing the new adventure.
Geri learned early on that seniors wanted—and deserved—an environment where they could maintain their independence, live in private quarters, and receive support services to maintain that lifestyle.
She worked to become a licensed administrator, opened four adult family homes, and then opened one of the first assisted living facilities in Spokane Valley, Colonial Care. She then opened Broadway Court Estates, offering support services and giving tenants options for more complex care if they should require it, along with a quality of life that some of their tenants wouldn’t be able to achieve if they were living on their own.
As testament to the dedication and care the Sarffs have devoted over the years, they have large albums of letters and photos from appreciative clients and families for all the love and care they have provided through the years. This adventure has been and continues to be much more than a business for the Sarffs and the Broadway Court Estates long-term, dedicated staff, and they are continually staying ahead of the times in order to best support an ever changing population.
Broadway Court Estates | 13505 E. Broadway Ave.
(509) 921-0249 | BroadwayCourtEstates.com
Sending out Graduates to Impact the World
at Northwest Christian Schools
In 1949, Spokane area pastors and other Christian leaders representing more than 40 churches had a vision to develop resources to grow the Christian community in Spokane. From this motivation they cooperated to begin Northwest Christian Schools (NWC). As the U.S. educational culture became more secular, NWC started to provide an alternative to public educational institutions.
Northwest Christian began as a high school, and within 15 years of its founding, NWC was a full K-12 institution. At present, they offer a traditional K-12 education, a K-12 homeschool option, as well as preschool from 12 months old and daycare. They also operate the successful Northwest Christian Schools Thrift Store which provides jobs for dozens of local families and helps support the school.
The largest challenge over the decades has been to remain true to their mission. NWC is a biblical and gospel centered school and they work diligently to maintain this focus in an increasingly secular culture.
In a rich technological time, NWC continues to grow in its ability to provide a vibrant, technologically rich learning environment to its students. Additionally, since the campus is located on 116 acres of farmland a few minutes north of Spokane, NWC will grow to fully use these great resources. They intend to use other resources, such as their Thrift Store and the Redwood Plaza in Spokane Valley, to create both a regional and international impact.
Northwest Christian is proud of their role in Preparing Minds and Transforming Hearts. Their graduates live all over the United States and the world in various capacities and occupations. The school is proud to have had the opportunity to invest in its graduates, preparing them to make an impact in their world.
Northwest Christian Schools | Founded: 1949
5104 E. Bernhill Rd., Colbert
(509) 238-4005 | nwcs.org
A Legacy of Shaping the Landscape of the Spokane Region
From the earliest times, the Greeks have celebrated life to its fullest. The Arger brothers, Gregory and Prokey, and Gregory’s son Gene, have much to celebrate, not only as part of their Greek heritage, but also for the success of their local businesses ventures.
Gregory Arger founded G. Arger Real Estate Company Inc., a commercial real estate sales, development and property management firm located in Spokane Valley. Since 1979, this family-owned company has become a major force in property management of both multi-family units and commercial complexes. The total amount of square footage under management includes more than 375,000 square feet.
The Arger brothers are responsible for developing Center Pointe Business Park, in Spokane Valley, and Sunset Pointe Business Park, in west Spokane, along with several other commercial projects.
Gene Arger joined the family business in 2005. His degree in marketing and advertising serves him well as the marketing director at Evergreen Fountains, the state of the art senior living community in Spokane Valley developed, owned and operated by the Arger family. The mission at Evergreen Fountains, explains Gene, is to take care of our seniors in the community and pay them back for what they’ve given to prior generations, and to serve all their needs. Bridging senior living and wellness is the motto here—wellness as way of life, referring to spiritual, mental and physical health.
The Argers are about to launch a major Phase II Skybridge addition to Evergreen Fountains, adding 51 units to their 110 unit campus.
“We had great success with our original project, and saw an even larger need for additional apartments,” Gene says. “So we’re planning 51 additional one, two and three bedroom apartments with a dozen independent living cottage homes—something we have seen great demand for from the active baby boomer generation.”
Much has changed in Spokane Valley since Gregory and Prokey were kids there, able to play football in the middle of Sprague Avenue as there was so little traffic. Where once there were orchards, there is now a vibrant community and prosperous businesses. The Argers are proud to have had a hand in shaping the landscape in the Spokane region.
“It all starts with family,” Gregory says. “We try to achieve excellence in all our projects and to provide outstanding local professional services.”
G. Arger Co. Real Estate Inc.
argerco.com | (509) 926-5311
Evergreen Fountains Senior Living Community
evergreenfountains.com | 866-517-1201
From Zoo to Trusted Lawn, Garden & Pet Company
The Beloved Legacy of Northwest Seed & Pet
The company was founded by Harry Gross in 1944, operating out of the front of his house on the present site of the East Sprague store. Harry was a natural promoter. This and his desire to grow his business led him to start selling pets and pet supplies along with the traditional lawn and garden products. His interest in exotic animals led him to bring in more and more into the store, eventually leading to the concept of “Jungle Town,” Spokane’s only zoo at the time. The company, called Northwest Seed & Insecticide Co., continued to flourish.
In 1946, Ken Hester Sr., with his wife Frieda and two young sons, moved to Spokane from Seattle to pursue a career with the Duthee Seed Co. Hester was recruited by Gross to join Northwest Seed & Insecticide around 1950. In 1953, Hester left the company to start his own tree spraying business but was lured back when the opportunity to buy Northwest Seed presented itself. In partnership with Walt Williard, Hester bought the company in 1954.
During this time, the animals on display at the store included an elephant, lion, puma, chimpanzees, baboons, ocelots, bobcats, wallabies and many other interesting specimens. Hester bought out Williard in 1961 and continued to run the company with his wife until the early ’70s when their two sons—who had graduated from college and tried their hands at other professions—returned to work in the family business. It was about this time that the name of the company was changed to Northwest Seed & Pet to better reflect the true nature of the business.
In 1979, Hester, Sr. retired and sold the business to his sons. The brothers decided to aggressively build the business by expansion and when an opportunity to lease a location on North Division came available, a small pet store was opened in 1983. After two successful years in this location another property on North Division came up for sale and the brothers purchased it, remodeled it and opened it for business in 1985. In 1978 Bob Mauk started to work at Northwest Seed & Pet and in April of 2003 he purchased the business from the Hester brothers. Northwest Seed & Pet has enjoyed more than 70 years in business. Mauk says, “We know what works in the yards, gardens and ponds of the Inland Northwest.”
Northwest Seed & Pet
Founded: 1944 | nwseed.com
Shoestring Budget to Successful HVAC Empire R&R Heating & Air Conditioning
Randy Hastings started in the heating and air-conditioning industry in 1974 at the ripe old age of 12. When other kids his age may have had paper routes, Hastings was working with his half brothers and their dad in the industry.
“I lived with a single mother, we didn’t have a lot of money, and my brothers worked, and I wanted something to do,” Hastings says. “So I went to work in the sheet metal shop making ductwork and all kinds of fitting. I was fifteen when I went out on a job site for the first time.”
In 1984, Hastings and a friend started R&R Heating & Air-Conditioning on a shoestring. The partnership was short-lived, though, and Randy took over the business and continued to grow it into the successful company that it is today as the Inland Northwest’s leading provider of residential, commercial, and industrial heating and cooling solutions, from mechanical system design and construction to preventive maintenance programs.
From radiant or geothermal heating to tankless water heaters and ductless mini splits designed to heat or cool individual zones within your home, R&R Heating & Air Conditioning will help you save money and use less energy. This year they’re on schedule to work on close to seven hundred local residences.
“At the end of the day, I find great value in being able to help people become more comfortable in their homes, and providing them service at a time of need,” Hastings says. “My work allows me to be a part of the Spokane community, and I always appreciate my customers for giving me that opportunity.”
On the commercial side, R&R Heating & Air Conditioning offers complete HVAC service, from custom duct and ventilation systems to energy recovery ventilation and thermal imaging. The area’s most experienced team of installers, project managers and comfort specialists are dedicated to quality and doing the job right the first time.
With around 80 employees, including more than a dozen service techs, R&R is uniquely qualified to handle any HVAC needs, including 24-hour emergency repairs.
“I enjoy overseeing the company and watching the employees grow with it,” Hastings says. “I especially like dealing with the customers on the design+build aspect of projects—it allows me to stretch my mind and really think about what we can do to be creative and more energy efficient and save the customer money.”
R&R Heating & Air Conditioning
randrheating.com | (509) 484-1405
Providing More Industry and Product Knowledge Than Anywhere Else
Spokane Hardware Supply, Inc.
Roland Northrop’s lifelong dream was to own a hardware distribution business, after having been a buyer for the Marshall Wells Company for 20 years and earning the nickname “Mr. Hardware.” He had a passion for servicing his community and helping play a part in people building their dreams. The business began shortly after World War II, when Roland and two nephews returned from completing their service. R.L. Northrop knew it was the perfect time to pursue his dream—that was in 1945.
Spokane Hardware Supply, Inc. began by selling basic products that could be found in a general hardware store, and have since carved their niche in builders finish and functional hardware. When they embraced e-commerce in 1995, they were one of the first in the industry, changing the landscape of hardware distribution in the U.S. and bridging their core values from Spokane Hardware Supply’s brick and mortar store to an online platform, giving them the ability to sell their products around the globe.
Their staff has made them most proud over the years. Their team recently celebrated the retirement of their longest serving employee who had worked with them for 54 years. Most of their staff has been around for 20 years with many dedicating 35 or more years, now led by the fourth generation of Northrops since the inception of the company. The Spokane Hardware Supply, Inc. team provides a lot of industry and product knowledge under one roof: more than you can find anywhere else, guaranteed.
Spokane Hardware Supply, Inc. | Founded: 1945
2001 E. Trent Ave. | (800) 888-1663
spokanehardware.com | thehardwarehut.com
Extraordinary People Driving Hi-Tech Imaging and Finishing Equipment at Ross Printing
George W. Ross and his partner Oscar Peterson were managing several key accounts with their print supplier and were not pleased with the level of service, so Ross Printing was born and has operated at the highest caliber ever since. In the early days, the bulk of their work came from printing primary forms and business papers, along with pioneering some complicated sequentially numbered and bound “chit” books for legal gambling.
The company entered into pharmaceutical labeling as George Ross and Guy Hollister—of what is now Jubilant Hollister-Stier—were close friends. That business relationship of 95 years still survives today. The company has grown to be a major West Coast provider of strictly controlled packaging components for the pharmaceutical industry.
Product emphasis has changed dramatically over that last 100 years. From a letterpress print process to lithography, and then adding flexography, and now high resolution digital print makes up the majority of Ross Printing’s revenue with products such as labels, film packaging and small folded cartons. Other projects include commercial printing, brochures, booklets, business cards, pamphlets, direct mail, folded cartons, inserts and outserts.
Recently, the company upgraded two new HP Indigo Digital presses and made a large investment into a “Hybrid” finishing machine to add embellishments to highly decorated packaging like wine, spirits and micro brews. “Hybrid” solutions like their new CEI machine incorporate the benefits of both analogue and digital print capabilities into one.
A Legacy of Pride
Being a part of Spokane’s growth throughout the past 100 years has been most gratifying for the family and the business. Their history and survival was in large part due to the support and loyalty of many small Spokane enterprises. This thread rings true most recently as they watch many cannabis based start-ups use their services of collaborative selling, design and customized packaging in an accelerated time to market industry.
The future at Ross Printing is exciting as custom and highly decorated packaging demand continues to grow. Changing market demands, lower price points, faster time to market and innovative ways to differentiate themselves will continue to challenge them; but it all drives their team to their sweet spot of extraordinary people driving hi-tech imaging and finishing equipment.
Ross Printing | Founded: 1917
Founders: George W. Ross & C. Oscar Peterson
Current Owners: Alan Ross
1611 E. Sprague Ave. | (509)534-0655 | rossprint.com
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