The People Behind the Businesses
What does it mean to be the face of an industry? When Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine approached the following businesses, we had in mind people who were not only successful in the traditional sense, but also leaders in the way they chose to conduct business. Though the businesses span a wide range of industries, there are obvious commonalities. The emphasis on people-forward business practices ran across the board, as well as the desire to be a force for good in our community by providing jobs and creating partnerships with other businesses.
We hope these leaders can provide a blueprint of how businesses should be run: with integrity, passion, innovation, and bravery.
Chris Bell: The Face of Commercial Real Estate
If you’ve satisfied your craving for a chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A, added extra guacamole to your burrito at a Chipotle, or cashed a paycheck at a Wells Fargo Bank branch, you can thank Chris Bell.
Bell is repeat Co-Star Power Broker, nationally recognized as a top producing broker in the region. He is also a multiple time top producing broker at NAI Black. But the deals he brokered didn’t happen overnight.
In 2005, Chris Bell packed everything into a U-Haul on the back of his Toyota 4Runner to Spokane to work in commercial real estate, lured by the combination of opportunity and quality of life. He’s the first to admit the industry is tough to get into, and as a twenty-five-year-old diving in, there was a learning curve, but Chris, a managing broker at NAI Black, thrives in an environment where everything depends on the work he puts in, balancing multiple projects at once with the knowledge that a deal can always fall through at the last moment if not nurtured.
“This is a job of perseverance,” Chris says. “I hear ‘no’ all day long. You have to work through one thousand noes to get the one maybe. It comes down to me. My knowledge, my experience, my expertise. I thrive on that pressure. I love it.”
One deal that sticks out to Chris is the Servatron lease because it was one of the first major deals he negotiated—or rather, three deals: to stay where they were, buy a building, and move into the former General Dynamics building at Mirabeau Parkway.
“It worked out fantastic for them, and it put me on the map,” Chris says.
Chris’s clients have put down roots in Spokane for much of the same reasons Chris was drawn to the area—the beautiful nature of the region, the quality of life, and the promise of opportunity for those bold enough to work hard for it.
“You can be anything you want to be here, you just got to get out and do it,” Chris says.
Chances are, you’ve walked into myriad buildings Chris has negotiated throughout the years. In 2019, he was named a top fifty top producing broker by NAI Global. Recently, Chris was part of the brokerage team that brought Tavolata to the renovated Old City Hall building, as well as the brand-new Chick-fil-A in North Spokane.
He’s part of the project to redevelop the James S. Black Building, a special project because his grandfather—James S. Black—had his real estate company in the building.
“The market has changed, the demand for office space has come down, so we’re converting it into fifty apartment units with a restaurant on the main floor,” Chris says.
Last December, Chris worked on a land deal that will ultimately change the landscape of the area—the sale of 132 acres in Airway Heights, next to the Amazon facility. Developer Harlan Douglass purchased the land, which will become the Douglass Legacy Park. Due in large part to e-commerce, Chris says that in the last six months, land prices have skyrocketed.
Chris enjoys the high stakes of his work, but most of all, “it’s something new every day, you get to work with people who want to do good things. You get to see people at their best, and really striving and taking risks.”
There’s also an appeal in knowing about the future growth of Spokane.
“I just signed a deal this month, and they’re not going to start building for five years,” he says. “They bought the land, they have a lease in place, and powerful to hear the rumors and speculation but know that I have this juicy nugget of sought-after information that you can’t share but everyone is dying to know.”
His involvement in the Spokane community is by no means limited to his day job. Chris is a board member for Wheatland Bank, Providence Community Foundation, past President of the Spokane Club, and many more.
“I truly believe you only get out of something what you put into it,” Chris says. “If you want to see the city grow, then you need to be involved. You need to use your effort.”
Through his membership in the Spokane Angel Alliance, he’s invested in several innovative local startups, such as Spiceology and S2Media.
“It opens up avenues to really be able to see and make a difference in the community from so many different angles,” Chris says.
Chris has a passion and vision for Spokane as a family man. He’s married to former ‘Good Day on Fox’ TV anchor, Kjerstin Bell, and the two love to spend time with their five-year-old son, and Pudelpointer, Teela. They spend their time enjoying the best the Inland Northwest has to offer, with eager anticipation of what’s to come.
Chris Bell, esq., SIOR with NAI Black
[email protected] | naiblack.com |801 W. Riverside, Ste. 300, Spokane
Ironstone: The Face Custom Furniture
He was working for a masonry yard and began working with a high-end brand of fireplace. When that brand decided it wanted to expand its territory, the company gave Casey the opportunity to take it on. Inspired by the elegancy and creativity he saw, he and his wife, Sheree Bryntesen, opened Ironstone for business in 2003
Not long after the company began selling the fireplaces, the husband-and-wife duo realized that customers had a need for different types of fireplaces and expanded their offerings. The business continued to grow, based upon customer feedback. They used their extensive experience in the custom home industry to offer first-class custom fireplace design and installation.
The hamlet of Coeur d’Alene and its surrounding lakes and mountains is where they have lived all their lives.
They have generations of their family in the area, and that heritage provides a unique understanding of the local community and culture. This deeply ingrained knowledge also allowed them to hand-select furniture specifically suited to the Pacific Northwest climate. Sheree noticed that most of the outdoor furniture at the big box stores were built for warmer climates and would only survive a couple years in our region. She wanted to offer something that was built to last, and she devoted herself to researching which materials would work best for her clients.
She has a knack for acquiring individual items with a careful eye and makes a point of making sure a majority of the items are American made. Casey is big-picture oriented. When a house is still under construction, he already has a vision of how everything should come together.
“Being able to take it from concept to finish is a pretty amazing talent,” Sheree says. “Together, we are really powerful. Being able to go to work every day with someone who sees your same vision is pretty lucky.”
Their unique customer experience ensures that a tribe of expert interior designers will listen, advise, and then guide customers to their perfect match, followed by a white-glove delivery service and installation by seasoned professionals. Even if you acquired some of your furnishings elsewhere, they’ll help with that too.
“We really like to take care of people,” Sheree says. “It’s more work, but isn’t that the right way to do it?”
Satisfied customers told their friends and neighbors, and in 2018, they opened their current 12,000-square-foot showroom. Though their space doesn’t look as large from the road, it’s a different world once a customer makes the leap to peek inside.
Their offerings are even larger when you consider that much of the furniture can be customized countless ways.
“You can make the same exact chair look completely different just by putting different fabrics and leathers on the product,” Sheree says. “Different fabrics that look rustic or look modern on the same chair can change a room completely.”
They pride themselves on their ability to bring their clients the beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s natural surroundings through their full line of fireplaces, furnishings, outdoor living, and barbecues.
“We want to make people more comfortable in their homes, finding out how they’re using their spaces,” Sheree says.
Sheree and Casey’s passion for high-quality, custom furniture and dedication to caring for their customers’ individual needs shines through. Ironstone is a family effort backed by an exceptional team that loves what they do.
So you can fall in love, too.
Sheree and Casey Bryntesen with Ironstone Furniture and Fire
208.772.7553 | ironstoneinc.com | 262 W. Hanley Ave., Coeur d’Alene
Mom’s Custom Tattoo & Body Piercing: The Face of Tattooing and Body Piercing
As the name would indicate, Mom’s Custom Tattoo & Body Piercing is a family operation, with mother and daughter bringing unique strengths to the table. Beth Swilling, the mom in Mom’s, has long been an artist who has applied her skills and passion to the ultimate, walking canvas: the human body. When the studio moved and expanded to Kendall Yards, she recruited her daughter, Shandra Swilling, to create and grow the piercing and jewelry side of business. They didn’t just want to poke holes in people, they wanted to do it safely and with a high degree of expertise and reliability. Mom’s Custom Tattoo & Body Piercing is a member of Association of Professional Piercers—the only business in the Inland Northwest with those credentials. This means following the highest safety standards and offering only implant-grade, mirror finish, American-made piercing jewelry.
“Shandra has really given her heart and soul to this,” Beth says.
Shandra was involved in the business long before she came on board as piercer and manager. When Shandra was a student at Mead High School, she said to Beth, “Why don’t you call it Mom’s because I tell everybody about my mom?”
Beth, the owner, is engrossed in the tattoo side, and she loves that it’s a highly customizable, affordable art form. She also loves the conversations tattoos start.
“Tattoos walk around in the community; starting up conversations between folks. They may never learn each other’s’ names, but they will know about the art and know a little bit about each other,” Beth says.
Voted one of the best in the Inland Northwest year after year, Mom’s commitment to safety, quality, art, and design shine through. Mom’s strives to elevate the tattoo and piercing experience. COVID created unique demands to keep staff and clients safe; but they continue innovating to be there for the community. This last year, they put a focus on both the retail website—momsjewelry.com—and the services site, momstattoo.com. Adding a chat feature allows folks have more ways to get in contact, ask questions, or to purchase or make appointments.
Mom’s is grateful for the Inland Northwest community and hopes to be your favorite tattoo and piercing studio for decades to come.
Shandra and Beth Swilling with Mom’s Custom Tattoo & Body Piercing
momstattoo.com | momsjewelry.com |fb: @momscustomtattoo | insta: @momsofspokane
509.426.4465|Main studio: 1226 W. Summit Pkwy., Spokane | north annex: 429 E. Main st., chewelah
Dr. Kai Morimoto: The Face of Cosmetic Surgery
Dr. Kai Morimoto is perfectly suited to being a cosmetic plastic surgeon because the work marries her love of art and science. Most of all, she enjoys “making people happy, changing the way they feel about themselves, and giving them confidence.”
Dr. Morimoto has been practicing since 2004—at Rockwood Clinic—but started her own practice nine-and-a-half years ago.
Lately, the practice has received a substantial increase in requests for breast implant removal for symptoms of Breast Implant Illness. The requests have been coming from people seeking her services from all over the region, as far as Alaska. This began for Dr. Morimoto eight years ago, when she saw a patient who was experiencing a variety of symptoms, who believed the root cause was her implants. Though allergy tests came back negative, the patient was insistent, and Dr. Morimoto chose to trust her and honor her request. Her symptoms improved dramatically after her explantation.
“There are a lot of physicians who don’t believe in it, and we’ve just seen so many patients get better after their explant surgery,” Dr. Morimoto says.
Patients are coming to her experiencing a variety of symptoms—the most common are rashes, brain fog, and joint pain—concerned their bodies are reacting to their implants.
“We just had a lot of unhealthy women who have gotten their implants removed and then get their health back,” Dr. Morimoto says. “I’ve had one patient who couldn’t work and was stuck in her house for twenty-two months because she had so many chemical sensitivities.”
Dr. Morimoto says the improvement isn’t solely experienced by her patients.
“Family will notice it too and they’ll say, ‘Thanks for getting my mom back or my daughter back. Thanks for getting my wife back to me.’” Dr. Morimoto says.
Breast Implant Removal to improve symptoms of Breast Implant Illness is keeping her practice busy lately, and she finds it rewarding.
“It’s just fun to watch them get better,” Dr. Morimoto says. “We ask them for a list of all their symptoms before surgery, and then two months and six months later, just to see how they’re how they’re doing. Their improvements are amazing!”
Dr. Kai Morimoto
509.315.4415 | kmplasticsurgery.com | 12615 E. Mission Ave. Ste. 105, Spokane Valley
Northwest Medical Rehabilitation: The Face of Medical Rehabilitation
Dr. Karen Stanek, who founded her clinical practice, Northwest Medical Rehabilitation, in 1996, practices physiatry because this branch of medicine specifically allows her to look at the whole patient during the treatment process.
“We work on restoring function and, in order to do that, we have to look at not only the physical aspects of a person, but also the emotional and the spiritual,” Dr. Stanek, who is a former medical director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, says. “We look at the whole person in order to try to bring them back to as much function as possible after a significant trauma.”
This is important to Dr. Stanek because she says when the body is injured, the whole person is affected by that injury.
“If they’re paralyzed on one side, it’s not just affecting that arm or that leg, it also affects them emotionally and spiritually,” Dr. Stanek says. “One has to assess the whole person.”
The majority of her clinic focuses on spasticity management—decreasing muscle tightness to improve movement. There is a wide range of underlying conditions that might cause a patient to seek her treatment: stroke victims, people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, patients living with MS, and more.
“When people actually break down and cry because they know that they can do things that they couldn’t do before, it is very rewarding,” Dr. Stanek says.
Dr. Stanek prides herself on thinking outside of the box, and her patients notice the difference.
“Oftentimes patients will say, ‘Well, you are the first doctor who has actually examined me,’” Dr. Stanek says. “I just joke with them and say, ‘I guess I’m not good enough to diagnose you from across the room. I have to feel your muscle tightness.’”
Dr. Karen Stanek with Northwest Medical Rehabilitation
509.624.0908 | nwmedicalrehab.com | 1315 N. Division St., Spokane
Maryhill Winery: The Face of Wine Production
Craig and Vicki Leuthold fell in love with destination wineries while visiting V. Sattui Winery on a trip to Napa Valley in 1984, planting the seed for what would become Maryhill Winery in Goldendale. Officially opening its doors to customers on Memorial Day weekend in 2001, the couple began with the goal of producing twenty thousand cases. Nowadays, they produce eighty thousand cases annually, with satellite tasting rooms in Spokane, Vancouver, and Woodinville—complete with full-service kitchens.
Maryhill works closely with select growing partners and more than twenty unique vineyard locations in half of the major American Viticultural Areas in Washington to produce wines that showcase the rich and diverse flavors of the unique growing region of Washington, allowing them to work with thirty-five varieties of grapes and offer sixty-five distinct bottles.
“We want our tasting rooms to be a showcase for what Washington is capable of producing,” Craig says. “We want to try to feature as many varietals as we can to expand people’s palates.”
He likes “helping people to learn about wine, expanding people’s knowledge, and trying to take away some of the intimidation that people have.”
In 2016 Craig and Vicki decided that instead of continuing to build a national distribution network they would open satellite tasting rooms. Their first opened in Spokane in November 2017.
“We were exposing thousands of new people to our brand who maybe had never tasted or even heard of us before,” Craig says. “On top of that, it actually helped grow our off-premise business and restaurant business because people ask for it more.”
Kendall Yards was followed by a tasting room at the Vancouver Waterfront in April 2019. That November, they opened the Woodinville location in the historic Hollywood Schoolhouse.
“We realized that once you leave the Pacific Northwest, you’re really just another winery in a sea of wine, so we decided to change our focus and go more direct-to-consumer,” Craig says.
Craig wants people to come to the winery for the experience, and “they might buy a bottle while they’re in our tasting room, but a lot of people make it a one-time visit because it’s more of a curiosity. But when they’re doing their grocery shopping, they buy the wine.”
Craig and Vicki Leuthold of Maryhill Winery
509.773.1976 | 9774 Highway 14, Goldendale
509.443.3832 | 1303 W. Summit Pkwy., Ste. 100, Spokane
360.450.6211 | 801 Waterfront Way, Ste. 105, Vancouver
425.481.7925 | 14810 NE 145th St. # A, Woodinville
Simply Northwest: The Face of Gift Giving
Denielle Waltermire-Stuhlmiller’s love language is gift-giving, appropriate considering she’s the owner of Simply Northwest, a gift shop that’s been a Spokane staple since 1989, when the original owner, De Scott, started selling gift baskets out of her garage.
Throughout college, Denielle worked in corporate retail. Even though she loved it, she wished she had more creative flexibility. After she finished her degree in social work, she was took brief break before she was about to attend graduate school in the same subject. Denielle’s mom was friends with De, and suggested she help out at Simply Northwest over the holidays in 2006.
After the holidays passed, De asked Denielle to stay on and, “Here I still am. I loved it so much and it was just such a good fit.”
Denielle became De’s retail manager, and after five years, De decided she was ready to move on, and Denielle bought the business. De had focused more on the gift basket and corporate giving aspect of the business, but Denielle decided to expand the store’s retail offerings. She loves helping people customize gifts to an individual.
As a local business owner herself, Denielle’s favorite products are the ones from our own backyard, such as Dandles Candles, Mount St. Helens pottery, and so much more.
“One of the things I’m most passionate about and I love to do is support other small businesses, local vendors, or artists,” Denielle says. “I do that as much as I can.”
The shop also has a commercial kitchen so they can make their own soft peanut brittle and, of course, the delicious Grandma Rubin’s Peppernuts Cookies. Denielle says she has received a wonderful amount of support from the community recently, especially on Small Business Saturday.
“My heart literally was just filled with so much joy and appreciation to see this community and to know that people care, to know that people love us and want us to stay here,” Denielle says.
Denielle Waltermire-Stuhlmiller with Simply Northwest
509.927.8206 | simplynorthwest.com | 11806 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley
HDG Architecture: The Face of Architecture and Design
Don’t quit your day dream. Those words, painted on HDG Architecture’s building on the corner of Washington St. and 3rd Ave., are as much a message to Spokane as they are a driving force for the studio, founded by Principals Joshua Hissong and Armando Hurtado in 2011. In HDG’s infancy, the studio designed restaurants like Nudo Ramen House, capitalizing on Joshua’s experience with both creative and functional restaurant design, while simultaneously partnering with these businesses to get the projects off the ground. Rather than aggressive marketing, these restaurants—with considerable foot traffic—acted as HDG’s business cards, and the company transitioned from scrappy startup to household name.
The team is growing—taking on another partner, Steven Hewett, as well as partnerships with Propaganda Creative and Faber—but retains its rejection of complacency, learning from each project. A large share of the studio’s success is learning from their employees, who bring projects to life by offering their unique perspective.
“We’ll be sitting in a meeting, and Steven and I are trying to figure something out, and Danny or Noah will walk in and just say, ‘You know, if you move that wall two inches…’ We’re like, ‘Oh my God, really? You’re right.’”
But the goalpost is authenticity rather than originality, which Joshua views as a false idol. Without being aware, everyone takes in the designs surrounding them. Joshua picks up his toothbrush and examines it from every angle.
“Somebody spent hundreds of hours designing this toothbrush, and there are reasons behind it that we don’t think about because we take them for granted,” Joshua says.
A quote from Jean-Luc Godard provides Joshua with unwavering guidance: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”
Accordingly, all art forms influence the team. Their office wall features a larger-than-life photo of a screaming Charles Bukowski alongside the tortured writer’s quote: Find what you love and let it kill you. That’s the goalpost.
“We put in hundred-hour weeks for months at a time, and it makes it worthwhile to know that you are doing something right,” Joshua says.
The studio expanded to other businesses, mixed-use buildings, and home design. There isn’t a type of project the studio prefers, but rather, a type of client: one who is passionate about the project.
“There’s this emotional tie to it, which makes our job more difficult, but more fun,” Joshua says.
Joshua Hissong and Armando Hurtado with HDG Architecture
509.321.5064 | hdg-architecture.com | 230 S. Washington St., Spokane
California Closets: The Face of Closet Design
Chantale and Jason Morgenstern have owned California Closets—with locations in Spokane Valley, Coeur d’Alene, and Boise—since 2013, but Jason’s experience dates to back to his job as a cabinet maker before serving as an Army Infantryman from 2005 to 2011.
Jason has family in Seattle, and so he left active duty to enlist in the National Guard and the couple chose to move to Coeur d’Alene. Jason became the California Closets general manager while Chantale was working in accounting at Coeur d’Alene Resort, and when the previous owner offered to sell the business, Chantale left her job with the casino and California Closets became a husband-and-wife team.
Chantale says she loves helping people improve an area of their life.
“We’re in the most private areas of people’s homes and life quite often,” Chantale says. “There’s a lot of trust that goes into that. With us, for the most part, people are living in the home when we’re working with them. We become friends with our clients, and there’s trust built there.”
Chantale says the team of about twenty-five people have become like a family, and there have been ten babies born between everyone since they started this journey.
“We’ve got a big brand name, but we’re a local, small, Veteran-owned, family-operated company,” Chantale says.
She really enjoys taking on the more unique jobs. There was a person who wanted to create a huge display for their action figures, and a family who displayed their ballgowns from charity events. She also has received numerous requests for hidden doors under staircases.
“The most common thing to hear is, ‘I’ve been meaning to do this for years,’” Chantale says. “Okay, here we are, we can get it done in six weeks.”
When people hire her, it often starts with one project.
“It might start with a closet or garage, but then it very swiftly moves to the rest of the areas of the home,” Chantale says. “They get so fun because it’s like, ‘Wow, I don’t have to live with my pantry looking like this.’”
Jason and Chantale Morgenstern with California Closets
509.926.3312 | californiaclosets.com | 506 N. Sullivan Rd., Ste. D, Spokane Valley
Mario & Son: The Face of Stone
Working as a tile setter since the 50s, Mario Marcella raised his son, Joey Marcella, to work with his hands from a young age. The work of a craftsman is second nature for Joey, but it wasn’t until he and his father started polishing the edges of marble and granite tiles in the late 80s that Joey found his true love: stone. Out of Mario’s garage, the pair founded Mario & Son in 1991.
The business grew out of the garage and is now located in an expansive facility in Liberty Lake. Even though Mario has retired, “He still comes down here quite a bit just to see what we’re up to,” Joey says.
While Joey is happy to do countertop work, he says Mario & Son is fundamentally a stone company.
“We’re happy to help clients with those needs, but we want them to know that you don’t have to just use this beautiful material as a utility surface,” Joey says. “You can use the beauty of the stone to make a statement on its own… it doesn’t have to be a working surface. We encourage our clients to think three-dimensionally, beyond the countertop. Walls, fireplaces, furniture, etc.”
Joey says he fell in love with stone because of the feel of it, its luminosity, and the depth of colors.
Since stone is a natural product, working with it is more art than science, he says.
“You let the stone take you where it wants to go even though you’re trying to achieve a certain look with it,” Joey says. “The stone will tell you what it wants to do.”
In 2018, the Natural Stone Institute—a national organization which is the authority on stonework—named him “Craftsman of the Year.” His stone sculpture, “Aura,” was a Grande Pinnacle Award recipient, a prestigious international achievement.
Beyond Mario & Son, Joey is also the Executive Director of the Stone Fabricators Alliance, an international network of thousands of fabricators sharing ideas and best practices for the betterment of the industry, as well as a regular contributor to Stone World magazine, which also named him “Fabricator of the Year” in 2018.
“As the region’s only Accredited Fabricator, we take our craft very seriously and I think we’ve proven that” Joey says. “We welcome people to come here and see what we’re all about.”
Joey Marcella with Mario & Son
509.536.6079 | marioandson.com | 2750 N. Eagle Ln., Liberty Lake
Hank Shaw: The Face of Plumbing
When Spokane local Hank Shaw became an apprentice plumber at eighteen, he didn’t plan to be a business owner. At twenty-two, he became a licensed plumber, working plumbing jobs in residential, commercial, service, and office for several companies, doing what the companies asked of him—no matter what.
“This is what it takes to make it as a blue-collar worker,” Hank says.
A common thread of those companies was that he didn’t like how they treated their customers. The idea of running his own business and being his own boss both fascinated and terrified Hank, but in 2017, at thirty-five, he decided to make the leap.
“It’s kind of one of those things: Instead of complaining about it, just do something about it,” Hank says.
That was the beginning of Shaw Plumbing Services. Hank reached out to customers from the past with the intention to stay a one-man operation. With his newfound freedom, he was the happiest he’d ever been. Eight months in, he found himself in a tight spot: low on energy and stuck on the stairs with a three-hundred-pound water heater.
“Plumbing is one of those things that wears you out quickly,” Hank says. “I thought I could go back into it feeling the same. Your mind is telling you yes, but your body is telling you no.”
Soon after, Hank hired an additional plumber as well as an office worker. In just three years, Hank—with the help of amazing employees and the right principles in place—grew the company from just himself to ten employees, providing services in residential and commercial plumbing. The company can do everything from a simple toilet installation to replacing a home’s entire plumbing system. He wanted to set himself apart in the industry by treating people fairly—both his customers and employees.
“This is why I chose my last name; it would keep me accountable to my customers,” Hank says.
Many people want to feel sure that they aren’t being ripped off, so he created a flat-rate book that has the pricing for any job the company performs.
“It doesn’t matter what the customer drives, how much money they make, or how nice their house is,” Hank says.
Hank is an exciting and cheerful person to be around, and his attitude and passion are contagious. He never wants to get too big where he would stray away from the company’s core values. A true entrepreneur, Hank loves being the final decision maker.
Hank Shaw with Shaw Plumbing
509.844.9560 | shawplumbingservices.com | 738 N. Cook St., Spokane
Victory Media: The Face of Marketing
Dayne Kuhlmann, the CEO and founder of Victory Media, got his start in the marketing world while attending University of Montana, working at his uncle’s firm. He always anticipated he would be a coach or teacher, but he caught the marketing bug and found the work of helping businesses grow rewarding.
“I was anxious to get into the marketing business and God gave me a good shove,” Dayne says. “It was really exciting to partner with a business owner, see the passion and ideas of their company, execute a plan, and see the amazing results.”
His skills from when he had been a coach are still put to good use. After working for his uncle, and then other large firms, Dayne founded Victory Media in 2017 with the vision of helping clients use all forms of media—both the traditional routes such as print advertising and radio ads, as well as internet, analytics, and social media—working together for the success of a company.
Since its inception, the company has grown rapidly. He brought onboard Fusion Design in 2018 and made the woman behind the company—Mary Lefkowski—a partner at Victory.
To help with the digital component of the business, Mitch Barham of Barham Marketing became part of the team in 2019, and most recently MDI Marketing merged in March.
MDI is a well-established marketing firm, and Dayne said its addition greatly helped Victory Media to grow in scale, especially because of their traditional expertise.
Victory Media has many clients who have historically taken a traditional approach to advertising, and part of the goal of the organization is to show them the benefit of having all forms of marketing work together for the success of the organization.
Victory Media helps clients, “not just seeing the value in being on every platform, but also the way every platform can work together,” Dayne says.
Though Dayne says part of their success is showing businesses that they must buck the status quo to achieve success, the company still has traditional values at its core.
“We try to work with people who have a passion for helping people,” Dayne says. “People and relationships are the most important aspect of our business. The profits follow.”
Dayne Kuhlmann with Victory Media
509.999.2581 | govictory.agency | 14415 E. Sprague Ave. Ste. 4., Spokane Valley
Odara Medical Spa: The Face of Medispas
Jaime Crocker, owner of Odara, spent eighteen years in the health care field working as a nurse practitioner in the “organized chaos” of the emergency room. Even though the fast-paced environment called to her, she desired a new challenge.
Continuing education is central to who Jaime is, so she threw herself into absorbing as much information as she could about aesthetics—despite the fact that higher education only perfunctorily covers the subject. She saw the path as a way to put her medical background to use while making people feel better about themselves. She started exploring aesthetics on the side, slowly building a client base. She quickly became hooked.
“It’s so positive, and you’re helping people feel good about themselves and build their self-esteem,” Jaime says.
In December 2019, Jaime took the leap to full-time, opening Odara Medical Spa.
“I think a lot of people can appreciate the how unnerving it is to go into something and feel like you’re just starting over,” Jaime says.
Jaime is the injector, and she takes a conservative approach with her clients because she believes the best results look natural. When friends and family notice her clients, she wants them to say, “Wow you look amazing, what type of skincare products are you using? You look like you got a ton of sleep, you’re glowing.”
Jaime builds a relationship of trust with her patients so they can feel comfortable speaking with her about their insecurities.
“I want patients to feel like they can sit down in my chair and tell me anything and everything, and trust that I will guide them in the right direction.” Jaime says.
Odara also as a Master Esthetician on staff, Kaila Schmidt, who provides a wide range of services—including hydrafacials, customized facials, skincare, and microneedling. Odara is a welcoming and comfortable space.
“It makes you feel good,” Jaime says. “I want clients to leave feeling like they’re investing in themselves and it’s rewarding.”
Jaime Crocker with Odara Medical Spa
509.443.4622 | odaramedicalspa.com | 1105 N. Lincoln St., Spokane
Indaba Coffee: The Face of Coffee
A life changing journey to South Africa called Bobby Enslow into a new vocation that would forever change his life and hometown. While working at an HIV and hospice care clinic, Bobby experienced how easy it is to miss the great needs of the marginalized population around you.
When he finished graduate school, he moved into the West Central Neighborhood and searched for the best way to make a positive impact. After seeking guidance from local leaders, he found a great need for a coffee shop to create jobs and provide a community gathering space. Indaba’s first location opened in the West Central Neighborhood in 2009, with assistance from Spokane Urban Ministries, Bobby says.
Those early years were tough—in addition to low sales, Bobby had major life events: marriage and the birth of three of his children. In 2012, Bobby was voted “Best Barista” by the Inlander, and the shop gained momentum. In 2014, STCU featured Indaba in an ad that played as a local commercial during the Super Bowl. Bobby switched to roasting his coffee, which allowed him to improve margins and quality.
Indaba became a true ‘Mom and Pop’ in 2017 when Sheena Enslow, Bobby’s wife, quit her day job and started as a barista. She’s now the COO for the company. “Indaba would not exist if it weren’t for my wife,” Bobby says. “She provided and paid the bills while we were still building the business.”
In 2018, Indaba opened three locations, but with their expansion, the company reflected and refocused their mission.
“When we first started, our focus was on coffee, and our slogan was ‘Simply Great Coffee,’” Bobby says. “A big part of our heart was missing in that slogan—our heart for people. It was originally rooted in wanting to create positive change and impact in West Central and then throughout Spokane.”
Indaba changed to “Love People, Love Coffee” with a core mission of radical hospitality. Bobby wanted employees and customers to feel valued. Aligned with the desire to give back, every time someone purchases a bag of coffee, a meal is donated to Second Harvest. Bobby currently resides in West Central with his wife Sheena and three children, Carson, Avery, and Owen.
Bobby and Sheena Enslow of Indaba Coffee
509.443.3566 | 1425 W. Broadway Ave.
509.413.2569 | 210 N. Howard St.
509.822.7182 | 518 W. Riverside Ave.
509.328.4786 | 1315 W. Summit Pkwy.
509.868.0421 | 419 N. Nettleton St.
Bridal: Collections The Face of Bridal Wear
Amanda Dewey, Bridal Collections owner, lives for that moment: She guides the bride to the lit up, full-length mirror in her shop and watches at the bride examining herself, envisioning all of the little moments: The second the person she’s marrying sees her in the dress. Sharing her day with a grandparent. Leaving her wedding with absolute joy painted on her face.
“Those little moments, I see that in them, and it just makes it all worth it,” Amanda says.
Straight out of high school, Amanda started working for Bridal Collections under the previous owner, Judy. She worked for Judy for five years before working for her father’s electric company, where she acquired her business acumen. She worked there until Judy approached her about purchasing Bridal Collections.
“I told her under your guidance, absolutely,” Amanda says. “This is what I want.”
Celebrating its forty-year anniversary in a month, Bridal Collections is the longest running bridal shop in Spokane. This clearly marks their expertise in the industry, but also lends the store magic. Three generations have been picking out their dresses in the shop, and mothers often come in with their dresses to try on while their daughters select their own. In the dressing rooms, the walls have a mixture of pictures of recent brides those from long ago.
She says people often say things like, “Oh, that’s my aunt.’ We’re such a small big town, and a lot of people come in and out. And they’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I know that person!’”
Amanda prides herself in having an inclusive collection of dresses. She carries all styles and sizes zero to thirty-two, and the most expensive dresses are capped at two thousand dollars.
“You came here to look pretty and you’re going to walk out here feeling pretty,” Amanda says. “I know exactly how brides want to feel, and how they’re going through all the emotions.”
Bridal Collections is also a one-stop shop. Beyond carrying bridal dresses, she also carries bridesmaid dresses, as well as tuxedos or suits for the grooms and groomsmen. Her lines are national, so an out-of-town member of the wedding party can try on the outfits elsewhere in the country.
Amanda is twenty-seven, and she thinks the energy she brings to the business is an asset.
“I feel like when you have a passion for something, and you feel so strongly about a business, it doesn’t matter what age you are,” Amanda says.
Nook Interiors: The Face of Interior Design
Bridgit Wilson, Nook Interiors principal designer and owner, grew up in Indiana. Everyone in her family went into the sciences, herself included. This wasn’t her true passion, so she squeezed in art classes on the side.
In 2000, Bridgit moved to Spokane with her husband. They had investment properties, allowing Bridgit to dip her toe into interior design through rehabbing. When her husband passed, her perspective shifted dramatically.
“After a life-changing event like that you reassess what’s really important. You’re very raw and honest with yourself. I realized that my passion was interior design and needed to pursue that dream,” Bridgit says.
After completing the Spokane Falls interior design program in 2010, she founded Nook.
“You start without a client base or portfolio, so the first few years involve taking on as many projects as possible. It’s a leap of faith for you and your clients. You learn so much, slowly gain experience, a portfolio, and are eternally grateful to those brave clients who gave you a chance!” Bridgit says.
Bridgit’s believes her science background has been an asset. Her work involves data collection—pinpointing the needs and function clients desire from a space—and requires a sharp attention to detail. When Bridgit establishes a relationship, she has an extensive questionnaire that focuses on aesthetics as well as functionality.
“After getting to know my clients and the function of the space I use my design eye to come up with something they may not have thought of, but I know they will like,” Bridgit says.
She marries the importance of aesthetics, function, and durability of materials. Bridgit takes an individualized approach; what works for one client wouldn’t for the next.
“You might want an integrated butcher block counter, but it’s my job to layout the pros and cons and educate you” Bridgit says. “Okay, it’s beautiful, but there’s a lot of maintenance. Are you willing to commit to that?”
She works directly with the builders and contractors, providing detailed drawings. Nook is a big project company, working on remodels and new construction.
“I’m designing for how it’s going to be used and also trying to create unique, beautiful rooms with spectacular vignettes,” Bridgit says. “When my clients walk into a room, I want their response to be one of calm, happiness, and balance.”
Bridgit Wilson with Nook Interiors
509.315.4975 | nookinteriors.com | 1633 S. Grand Blvd., Spokane
RYN Built Homes: The Face of Residential Construction
Though Ryan Olson might be young for the home-building industry, after the years he spent working for his family’s home construction company, he has the background and experience that can go toe-to-toe with many of the seasoned veterans.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan journeyed south, to Arizona State University, where he earned a degree in Business Administration, but quickly returned home when it came time to get down to business. He credits the incredible team for the success of the company.
“There’s no one person that makes this business successful,” Ryan says. “It requires the commitment and passion of the entire team, and I’ve never felt better about the group of people I have on board.”
Ryan says that the innovative thinking of the team has allowed him to offer online customization to his clients, which he thinks is the future direction of home building.
His first home building company, Viking Builders, was for the Tri-Cities market, but quickly expanded into the greater Spokane area, and will be launching developments soon in Northern Idaho and Missoula, Montana.
Ryan’s point of passion is being able to offer highly customizable houses without the high-end prices. He wants people to be able to enjoy their homes without breaking the bank.
He chose to rebrand from Viking Builders to RYN Built Homes to position his company to further expand widely in the Inland Northwest while also emphasizing his personal commitment to quality, the local community, and innovative ideas. Though 2020 was undoubtedly a tough year for everyone, Ryan is sure that the future is bright for RYN Built Homes with his wonderful team. He is determined to foster “a work atmosphere and a culture that the whole team at RYN Built Homes can be proud of to call their work home.”
Ryan Olson with RYN Built Homes
509.241.3555 | rynbuilthomes.com | 19425 E. Broadway, Spokane Valley
Holliday Heating & Cooling: The Face of Heating and Cooling
Doc Holliday, owner of Holliday Heating and Cooling, is originally from New Mexico, but he went into the military when he was twenty-four. His last duty station was at Fairchild Air Force Base. He loved the area and decided to stay.
In 1978, he began working for local heating and air conditioning companies. He liked the trade, and in 1998 he decided to go out on his own and founded Holliday Heating and Cooling.
Doc says he enjoys the industry because “I like the fact that we’re working for people like you and me, regular people, being in their homes and being able to do a really good job. When we get done, they’re happy.”
In fact, the main focus of his company is integrity driven—making sure his customers are happy with their service from every angle. For Doc, that starts with hiring the right people. Most of his twenty-eight employees have been with him for a long time. He says they’re clean cut, someone who you can trust in your home. You only get three minutes to make a good first impression, Doc says. He knows that his employees can do that every single time.
Doc says he puts his name behind the fact that his company is trustworthy. He doesn’t try to rip you off, because ultimately, people are what matter to him. He also offers guarantees you can’t find anywhere else in the industry, including his 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. If a customer is dissatisfied with the job Holliday has done for them, they can receive a complete refund for an entire year. He also offers a $500 frustration guarantee—if something they installed breaks, and the company doesn’t get to the customer within twenty-four hours, they receive $500.
“It keeps us making sure we don’t make mistakes and you don’t get missed or dropped out of line,” Doc says. “We’re going to take care of you to the end. We want to be your last person that you ever have to call for heating and air conditioning.”
Doc Holliday with Holliday Heating and Cooling
509.838.5717 | hollidayheating.com | 410 N. Helena St., Spokane
Bella Terra Garden Homes: The Face of Residential Development
Roger Fruci, who spent most of his career as a certified public accountant, was sitting on a bench in the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden within Manito Park when he came up with the vision for Bella Terra Garden Homes, a development built around a luxurious, tranquil garden.
“The whole idea is to blend the interior and exterior as much as possible, always keeping the garden as the focus and bringing the garden into the home in every way possible,” Roger says.
In fact, before a single townhome was built, the rock formations, water features, and lush plant life of the sixty-thousand-square-foot central garden were planned and construction began. Additionally, Bella Terra is an edible garden, with fruit trees, berries, vegetables, and herbs woven throughout the gardens.
Developing Bella Terra has been and continues to be a team effort, with outstanding design and construction professionals working together and collaboratively with the buyers from floor plans to construction to interior design.
Buyers and brokers are impressed with the quality of the materials and workmanship. Bella Terra’s general contractor and project superintendent are highly qualified, with a lifetime of experience. Their entire focus is on one site—Bella Terra. They are on-site full-time, working directly with subcontractors to ensure quality.
Bella Terra has many floor-plan options for the townhomes, and even the floor plans can be customized, along with the finishes. All multi-level townhomes are elevator ready and others offer main floor bedroom suites. Buyers can also opt for an independent living suite—for guests, family members, or a caregiver—complete with a kitchen.
After introducing a rooftop terrace as an option last year, Roger decided to “take it up a notch” and also offer true penthouse living in a spectacular one-thousand-square-foot penthouse opening to a rooftop terrace.
Bella Terra has a wonderful community of neighbors, while also providing places to be alone and enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of the garden. This includes a Contemplative Grotto in the heart of the central garden, which is covered for protection from the elements and for privacy.
Roger Fruci with Bella Terra Garden Homes
509.879.5340 | bellaterragardenhomes.com | 5915 S. Regal, Ste. 212, Spokane
Eric Allen: The Face of Wealth Management
As a Senior Vice President/Investments at Stifel, Eric Allen wants to help people reclaim the American Dream. Eric says people often have the misconception that they must be wealthy before seeking his services. In fact, there is a great deal of value in someone coming to him when they’re younger and putting away money over time.
He works for Stifel—the seventh largest brokerage firm in the country in terms of number of financial advisors—because the company enables him to take on these clients. Eric is happy to devise a wide range of plans with his clients. If someone wants higher risk investments, he can pursue that. But Eric far prefers a diversified, low-risk portfolio when appropriate. You probably won’t become rich overnight, but it’s the classic tale of the tortoise versus the hare.
“My approach has always been more of a big picture long term,” Eric says. “How do we take an ordinary family who isn’t worth millions and allow them to accumulate enough money so that when the time comes, Dad wants to go fishing, and Mom’s done working, they’ve got enough to live their life and do what they want to do.”
A huge part of this for Eric is building relationships with clients to determine what they want for their future.
“I can be as aggressive as anybody wants me to be,” Eric says. “But I’ve got to tell you generally, the happiest people who I deal with are the people that have just adopted a plan, we’ve put it in place, and we’ve let it work.”
When Eric talks to clients, he doesn’t throw out jargon that overcomplicates or confuses.
“I adopted a principle a long time ago, where I just told myself that if I can’t explain an investment to my kids, it has no business in a client’s portfolio,” Eric says.
His kids would roll their eyes if you asked them how many times he’s explained the stock market over dinner, Eric says, laughing.
“I just go back to the idea that if we can instill some simple habits when we just get started in our lives financially, it has the potential for folks to accumulate true wealth over time,” Eric says.
Eric Allen with Stifel
509.570.5722 | stifelspokane.com | 201 W. North River Dr. #200, Spokane
Gus Johnson Ford: The Face of Trucks
Gus Johnson, owner of Gus Johnson Ford, has a long history with automobiles, and an even longer one with Ford, dating back to 1969 when he took his first job with the company in Detroit. He worked there for seven years, but realized corporate life wasn’t for him, and started providing financial consulting services for department stores—a job that took him all over the country.
His teenager told him that he wanted to attend high school for all four years in one place, and so Gus bought a small Ford dealership in Grangeville, Idaho in 1979. Gus ran that shop until 1985 but left under the advisement of his wife.
“She said, ‘We got to move, you’re just wasting yourself in this store. You’ve got more talent than this, you have to do something else,’” Gus says.
That’s how Gus ended up in Spokane, first working as a sales manager for Appleway Chevrolet.
“I’m a Ford guy, so that was hard,” Gus says, laughing.
In 1987, he took a job as a sales manager at Empire Ford, and quickly became general manager, which he did until 1992, when he finally bought his dealership. Gus says he’s not going anywhere now, he’s seventy-four.
“What appeals me about this business is the people,” Gus says. “That’s what makes it interesting. You have employees and their families that you’re intertwined with, you have customers—you’re talking to people all day long. It’s not like you’re stuck in an office doing paperwork, it’s mostly about the people.”
Gus prides his dealership on not being pushy or trying to force people into cars; his employees are just helpful. Most of the people working for him have been there a long time, and repeat customers appreciate being able to work with the same sales and service people.
“I get up every day, and I love coming to work,” Gus says. “I can’t imagine having a job where you didn’t want to go to work. I have a job that I love, so I get to come to work.”
Gus Johnson with Gus Johnson Ford
509.924.1000 | gusjohnsonford.com | 8300 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley
Jeff Fred: The Face of Glass
“Everything’s different every single day, no matter if you’re doing the same job, there are always different variables,” Jeff says. “The glass is always different, and so this is one career that worked for me.”
His drive to take on complicated jobs caused him to bring back custom shower installation, a key move when he took over a struggling Spokane location.
“When we took on showers, it was a learning process,” Jeff says. “Thankfully, I had a lot of personal resources to fall back on when I would question a design. Every time I was asked for something we did not offer, I would ask myself, ‘Well, why don’t we do that?’ That is how both our shower and commercial storefront side was born, I got tired of telling people no!”
Grizzly Glass dominates the auto glass repair/replacement market and were the first to take on the recalibration of the ADAS lane departure systems. On the other end of the spectrum, they custom cut and replace classic car glass other shops don’t have the skillset for.
Grizzly Glass does a lot of commercial work, and Jeff says his dream is to be driving along, pointing out countless major Spokane buildings he worked on.
“We still have a lot of growth potential, so I still have something to be excited for,” Jeff says. “But I never want to get so big that we lose focus on the smaller projects.”
The most rewarding jobs he’s done have been free. He remembers when a friend told him about a woman who was down on her luck whose windshield was destroyed. Jeff did the job free of charge, in tears she hugged and thanked him. Good deeds are rewards in themselves that pay back ten times over in the long run with customers for life!
“Grizzly really likes to help people where they can, and I think that’s why I fell in here,” Jeff says. “Ultimately, I would not be where I’m at without an incredible team of employees, distributors, and friends, as well as family who put up with the long hours.”
Jeff Fred with Grizzly Glass
509.922.8300 | 16011 E. Trent Ave., Spokane Valley | 208.762.3453 | 11950 N. Warren St., Hayden
208.255.2686 | 337 Olive Ave., Sandpoint
Locals Canna House: The Face of Craft Cannabis
Before recreational cannabis was legalized, Doug Peterson, Locals Canna House president and owner, was in the hydroponic supply business, and had already been building relationships with medical cannabis growers, producers, and processors. Doug has an entrepreneurial spirit, and he saw opening Locals Canna House as an opportunity to build a cannabis company that further strengthened those relationships.
Locals Canna House isn’t a pot shop; it’s a craft cannabis company where wellness is the true north, and the product is chill.
“We live in pretty stressful times, and it’s not hard to be passionate about cannabis when you see that it helps people,” Doug says. “Our job is to provide it in a professional way and be really good at what we do, to represent the industry in a good light.”
Doug acknowledges that wellness is a broad spectrum.
“For us, it’s everything,” Doug says. “It’s living whole. We really believe that cannabis can be a part of someone’s wellness, meaning physically, mentally, everything, right? That’s our passion, to be involved in cannabis at that level.”
Doug says his team sets apart Locals Canna House. Recreational cannabis is a young industry, but Locals follows old-fashioned business practices, chief among them kindness.
“For us, it’s super relational,” Doug says. “If you have a good relationship with your suppliers, a good relationship with the state as far as your regulatory obligations, a good reputation and a good relationship with your community, then you can really create a positive impact on the community.”
Doug focuses on Locals Canna House being a space where people can feel comfortable—whether they’re a regular customer, or just someone who is curious and wants more information.
“There’s a lot of people who want to try it,” Doug says. “They hear about it, they read about it, but they’re not sure about it. We try to create an environment that’s not just super knowledgeable, but just a place of calmness, where we can educate and help our customers find their CHILL.”
Doug Peterson with Locals Canna House
509.413.2796 | localscannahouse.com | 9616 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley
Tracy Jewelers: The Face of Jewelry
The business started with Sean’s grandfather, Patrick Tracy. In 1974, it was purchased by Sean’s dad, Leo Tracy, followed by Sean’s aunt, Maureen Tracy, in 1994. Sean purchased the company in 2016, but he got his start in the business sweeping the floors when he was thirteen.
“You don’t see a ton of businesses that survive seventy years in the family and are still going strong,” Sean says. “It’s an honor to be part of it and be part of the community. Spokane has treated us well over the years.”
However, this family legacy is not the only thing that sets the shop apart.
Maureen still does work for the business as a certified gemologist, occasionally coming into the shop when a customer requests her services.
“There are certain people out there who have done their research on buying diamonds,” Sean says. “With Maureen’s credentials, she is one of those be able to answer those questions a regular gemologist might not be able to.”
She’s able to grade and price jewelry, which can be extremely helpful when a family is trying to divide an estate. But treating customers in a welcoming and friendly way is the store’s greatest pride.
“I think it’s a big part of running a small business is that you have to have people say they really enjoyed coming in there, and we hear it all of the time,” Sean says.
The staff is small, and most have worked for the company for ten years or more, and when customers walk in the door, they never want them to feel rushed or pushed.
“Our sales technique is just, ‘Come on in, how’s it going today? Let’s see if we can provide the service that you want,’” Sean says.
Sean Tracy with Tracy Jewelers
509.893.2929 | tracyjewelers.com | 106 N. Evergreen Rd., Spokane
Valente Chiropractic: The Face of Chiropractors
Adam Bozman, Valente Chiropractic practice manager, has a background in business, and never expected to be part of the health care field. But when Mike Valente, who he had known most of his life, asked him to join the team, the decision was easy.
“He’s one of the most intelligent and generous people who I’ve ever known,” Adam says. “That’s why I like to work with him now and represent his practice. He genuinely cares about his patients and the people who work for him—in a way that not many people do.”
Under Mike’s leadership, Adam describes the practice as integrity-driven, and he loves that his job plays a hand in helping hurting people feel better.
Adam says that many patients who come to Valente Chiropractic have tried other options—acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, and even other chiropractic clinics.
“It’s been my experience that our patients respond best to our positive and healthy environment… Mike’s approach to functional medicine offers a unique and practical alternative to conventional solutions for neck and back pain,” Adam says.
With traditional medicine, treatment providers can be limited, but within the field of chiropractic care, the area has a plethora of options.
“To be recognized consistently as one of the better, if not best, I think speaks volumes, when people have that sort of volition and that ability to choose where they go,” Adam says.
He thinks part of the reason people consistently choose Valente Chiropractic is because it is a culture-driven, personality-based practice.
“I think that’s why it’s so easy for patients to come back here—after one year, two years, three years, four years, five years—that they haven’t been here,” Adam says. “We see a lot of returning patients, people who haven’t been into any chiropractic or massage therapist for years, but all of the sudden, they’re hurting again, and it’s very easy for them to come back to us.”
“You can always see somebody walk out happier, and I’ve seen some people dance out of here, that’s pretty special,” Adam adds. “That’s something that drives our passion.”
Dr. Michael R. Valente with Valente Chiropractic
509.467.7991 | spokanechiropractic.com | 3017 E. Francis Ave. Ste. 101, Spokane
Complete Suite Furniture: The Face of Furniture
Brad Markquart, Complete Suite Furniture president, worked for a furniture company in Seattle for six years. While he was there, he was able to absorb the formula for success in the furniture business. When it was time to send his kids to school, he and his wife decided to move to Spokane, and try opening their own shop. On July 3, 1998, Brad opened the first Complete Suite location on East Sprague.
“I implemented what I learned over here, and that’s what has helped me survive all these years,” Brad says.
Every morning, Brad wheeled furniture outside, under the overhang of his building, so people could see that he was open and selling. He recently hurt his hand, and while being seen by a nurse, she asked what he did for a living.
“I said, ‘I’m in the furniture business,’” Brad says, laughing. “And she said, ‘You remember that guy out on Sprague who used to put the furniture out every day?’”
Brad is proud to be that guy, a member of his community. What started with one store grew over time, and now Complete Suite is a fleet of seven stores. The smallest showroom is ten thousand square feet, and the largest is thirty-five thousand square feet.
“I think I kind of created a monster,” Brad jokes. “I was just in the store, and I was going around and there’s not one ugly piece of furniture in here. That’s hard to do.”
Brad oversees the purchasing for all of his stores, and he says he is grateful for the support of the community.
“I am so thankful for the community in Eastern Washington, from Lewiston, to our North Spokane store, that everybody has supported our business,” Brad says. “We, in turn, do the same. We buy everything from local small business. I buy from the people who buy from me.”
Brad Markquart with Complete Suite Furniture
509.822.7049 | 11410 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley
208.667.6160 | 5555 N. Pioneer Dr., Coeur d’Alene
509.868.0235 |7410 N. Division St., Spokane
509.326.5390 | 1219 N. division st., Spokane Valley
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