Leasing and Development

Spokane Valley nutritional bar maker buzzes along

Down to Earth News

By Sandra Hosking
Down to Earth NW Correspondent

BumbleBar improving operations, options this year

SPOKANE VALLEY, WA-After a down year last year, BumbleBar, a nutritional snack-bar maker, is making a bee line toward record revenues this year. In addition, the Spokane Valley company is preparing to launch new products soon.

BumbleBar recently bought new equipment that will help streamline its production process and plans to buy a cartoner, which will package its new line of products - junior-size bars, says Liz Ward, who owns the company with her husband, Glenn. The packs, which are expected to hit the market within the next few months, will be sold in sets of 12, either including one flavor or a variety of flavors.

While original BumbleBars are 1.6 ounces, about the size of a full-size Hershey's chocolate bar, the junior BumbleBars will be about a third of that. "We've had a lot of requests for that over the years," Ward says. "A lot of kids eat our BumbleBars, and a lot of times the bars are too big for a kid."

All of the company's bars are seed-based, vegan, and gluten-free, and are geared toward people who have food intolerances or who just want a healthier snack. Their ingredients are "ethically sourced," meaning they come from farms and co-ops worldwide that use organic farming methods. The bars cost between $1.79 and $1.99 each. Flavors include peanut, cashew, chocolate, cherry, lemon, and more.

Next year, the company plans to launch a new line of bars, called BumbleBar Active, that won't be seed-based but will be dairy- and gluten-free and will have more protein.

Finding ingredients that are produced by socially responsible growers can be a challenge but also is important to the company's mission. "We know who the grower is. The source is someone who puts money into education for the workers and makes it a good situation for them," Ward says.

As a result, ingredients hail from all over the world. The flax seeds it uses come from a Canadian co-op, while other ingredients originate in Central America. The almonds in its most popular bar come from Baugher Ranch Organics, a Northern California ranch that farms with horses.

As part of its company policy, BumbleBar has committed to using ingredients produced by organic farmers to avoid pesticides and the pollution caused by conventional farming methods, Ward says.

The Wards launched BumbleBar in Seattle in 1995. After searching for an organic snack bar for herself, Ward, who enjoys the outdoors, decided to make one.

"I was just kind of fiddling around," she says. "I love to cook." Her first flavors were peanut and chocolate crisp. Receiving positive feedback from friends who tried the bars, inspired her to sell them. Ward picked the name BumbleBar because it "sounded sweet and natural and bees are one of the first animals affected by pesticides, so it made sense to me."

When she first began making the bars, she rented a commercial kitchen by the hour and did everything by hand. Even though the company now has equipment and a production staff, "we still have a very handcrafted process," she says.

Ward wanted BumbleBar's products to be organic and vegan. "We're also committed to gluten-free because it's a really underserved population, and it makes me happy to give them something that tastes good," she says.

The couple moved the company to Spokane six years ago, in part for a better lifestyle. "Our move to Spokane has been really good for us," Ward says. "Our business kept growing, and we were looking at a four-hour commute, and that doesn't fit in with any sort of family life," she says. So, the couple researched different places around the Northwest, including Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. "Spokane was awesome," she says, "kind of a hidden gem."

BumbleBar currently employs six people aside from the owners, including a Seattle-based sales director. It leases about 12,000 square feet in two buildings at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, which house its offices, production facility, and warehouse. The company produces from 7,000 to 15,000 bars a day, depending on demand, Ward says. Those bars are then sold at about 3,000 outlets across the U.S. and Canada.

The company also develops and makes bars for other companies, some of whom are large but whom Ward declines to name.

She develops all the new products and flavors. "I love to be creative," she says.

Ward starts the development process by brainstorming ideas based on her own thoughts or suggestions by her clients. "I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what we're going to use and where we're going to get it," she says. She enjoys researching sources for new ingredients. "It's really fun learning about new things all the time."

While Ward likes all of the BumbleBar flavors - since they are made to her taste - apricot is her current favorite. "We really enjoy what we do, and I feel really lucky that I get to do something I'm so passionate about," she says.

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Leasing and Development

Concrete Works Statuary has a concrete business plan

Journal of Business
By Kim Crompton

Curtiss and Laura Grenz, who own the 15-year-old business, attract a lot of repeat customers.

SPOKANE, WA-After living and working for a time in northern California, Spokane Valley natives Curtiss and Laura Grenz were eager to return here, and they found a concrete way to do that, literally. They founded a business through which they used an initial handful of molds to begin producing concrete fountains and other items used for yard decorations.

That endeavor has evolved into a 15-year-old company, Concrete Works Statuary Inc., that now employs a total of 12 people - about half of them year-round and the rest seasonally - at a retail location at 205 S. Pines and at a 14,000-square-foot production facility in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park.

The business now has roughly 1,000 molds it uses to make concrete products ranging from classic fountains and water features to statues, tables, benches, planters, stepping stones, and animal figurines. Though its sales have dipped over the last couple of years due to the recession, Curtiss Grenz says he's pleased with the overall growth of the enterprise.

"I think it's been satisfactory, most definitely," Grenz says. "People have enjoyed our products, and we have hundreds of repeat customers. Spokane has been a great place to start our family business."

Concrete Works' retail facility on Pines, which occupies a little over an acre of land, is open April 1 through mid-October. The company, though, also operates temporary stores in the Spokane Valley Mall and NorthTown Mall during the holiday season, and sells its products through exhibits at home-and-garden shows from the end of January through early March. Its production plant runs year-round.

It plans to open an unstaffed booth shortly at the Columbia Center mall, in the Tri-Cities, where it will display some of its products and have literature and ordering information available, Grenz says. "If that goes well, we'll try the Missoula market and probably the Boise market with the same idea" soon thereafter, he says.

Also, he says, "Our goal now is to really put some time and effort into the Internet," and build up sales through the company's Web site.

Grenz declines to disclose Concrete Works' annual revenues, but says they've fallen about 20 percent since peaking in 2007, and before that had been trending upward at a rate of 5 percent to 10 percent a year. The recent decline has been softened by the upswing in stay-at-home vacations, which has contributed to sales of decorative yard items, he says.

The downturn still has taken a toll on the company's revenues, though, and Grenz says customer hesitancy has convinced him that he shouldn't expect a quick recovery.

"They're very cautious, looking for a great deal. We're having to run sales when we normally wouldn't have to," Grenz says. Of the near-term market outlook as it relates to the business, he says, "I think we have another year to be cautious," because it likely will take that long for consumer spending to regain any momentum.

The Grenzes, both University High School graduates, moved to northern California in 1986, and lived in Lodi, northeast of the San Francisco Bay area, for 10 years before returning to Spokane. Curtiss Grenz was employed there by Martin-Brower Co., a distribution business that serves McDonald's Corp.

He says, though, that, "This was always home. I always wanted to be back in Spokane if there was an avenue to get me there."

Grenz says the opportunity to move back here emerged when he crossed paths with someone who offered to teach him how to make concrete decorative products if Grenz would buy from him the molds needed to pour those pieces.

The Grenzes initially bought a truck-load of finished products to sell, then began buying molds. When they returned here in 1996, bringing the molds with them, they immediately began pouring concrete products in his parents' backyard, using a small, half-cubic-yard mixer and mostly destroying the yard, he says. Initially, they sold their products just at temporary street-corner locations and at craft fairs, they say.

In 1997, they moved the manufacturing operation to a leased 1,200-square-foot space near the intersection of Park Road and Broadway Avenue in the Valley, and then in 1999, they moved it to a 5,000-square-foot space at 9517 E. Fourth in the Dishman-Mica area, where they also had enough room for a retail shop.

In 2000, the couple moved the retail outlet to its current location on Pines and the manufacturing operation to the Airway Heights Corrections Center. There, the plant operated under a Washington State Department of Corrections' Correctional Industries program through which businesses could set up facilities inside a prison and employ inmates, though they were required to pay market wages.

"The labor force and everything was incredible," but keeping the manufacturing operation there ultimately proved inconvenient, due partly to its distance from the retail outlet, Grenz says. So in 2004, Concrete Works moved the operation to the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, and that location has worked out well.

The company has a 2-cubic-yard concrete mixer there that's capable of adding stored ingredients by volume, allowing for concrete to be poured continuously. It also has a 20-ton-capacity silo that holds the cement used in the concrete, he says.

"All of it is automated now, compared to when we were dealing with buckets and shovels," Grenz says.

The company uses in its concrete a special blend of sand and gravel that it buys from Spokane Rock Products Inc., and it uses the equivalent of seven 94-pound sacks of cement per cubic yard of concrete, compared with a typical five-sack mix used in driveways, he says.

The extra cement, combined with air, fiber, and a plasticizer that are added to the mix, boost the strength of the concrete and help it to withstand damage due to the dramatic outdoor temperature changes that occur in the Northwest, Grenz says.

Concrete Works' retail lot includes an 800-square-foot main building, where customers can place orders and buy accessories and retailed supplies such as water pumps, tubing, accent lights, and concrete sealant, and a couple of smaller support structures. Most of the lot, though, is devoted to working displays of some of the company's fountains and other water features, as well as a selection of its smaller products. Prices range from less than $10 for a small animal figurine to more than $1,300 for the Monster Triad, a triple water fountain that resembles three natural basalt rock columns, stands more than 5 feet tall, and weights close to a ton. Though the Spokane area has a lot of native basalt, all of the angular basalt-like water features sold by Concrete Works are made of concrete.

Grenz says he oversees retail sales there, and his wife handles the office management. Two of the couple's three children help out there as needed. The company's other employees work mostly at the plant. Despite the recession-caused dip in sales and his expectation of little recovery this year, he say he feels good about Concrete Works' future.

People increasingly seem to want to make the outdoor spaces at their homes more useable and aesthetically appealing, which translates into long-term demand for concrete decorative pieces, including possibly for items such as concrete fire rings and outdoor fireplace surrounds, he says, so, "There's definitely room for growth."

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Leasing and Development

Precision Machine to double space

Journal of Business

By Kim Crompton

Crown West to expand Lewiston-based company's building at big industrial park

SPOKANE, WA-Precision Machine & Supply Inc., a fabrication and precision machining company based in Lewiston, Idaho, plans roughly to double its space at a repair center it operates in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, in Spokane Valley.

Dan Wenstrom, Precision Machine's owner, was out of the country last week and unavailable for comment, and his son, Dana, who operates the Spokane shop, also couldn't be reached for comment. Recently, however, the city of Spokane VAlley issued a notice of determination of nonsignificance in connection with a proposed 15,600-square-foot expansion of the 18,500-square-foot building that Precision Machine leases at 15708 E. Marietta, on the south side of the big industrial park.

Dean Stuart, director of marketing at Crown West Realty LLC, which owns and operates the industrial park, says he expects a building permit for the project to be issued by the end of this month, and adds, "We're ready to go. As soon as the permit is received, we'll be moving dirt."

Stuart says the addition will include some office space, but that it will be used largely for production and will about double the Precision Machine's production space. He declined to say how much the addition is expected to cost, but he expects it to be completed in October. Russell Page Architects of Spokane, designed the project, and Vandervert Construction Inc., also of Spokane, will be the general contractor, he says.

Precision Machine's web site says the company does various types of fabrication and machining and that its Spokane Valley facility specializes in the repair and rebuilding of compressors, pumps, blowers, and heat exchangers. Along with the work it does in its shop, it goes into the field to do on-site machining when customers require it, the web site states.

"We specialize in improving the productivity of industrial equipment by installing better components or by redesign. We pride ourselves on taking on the unusual task, whether it be in welding of exotic metals, or special application of heat-treated or hand-surfaced replacement parts," the company says.

Precision Machine has had a satellite operation at the Spokane Business & Industrial Park for at least several decades. In 1990, it doubled its space there to about 20,000 square feet, and about six years ago, it relocated to its current, similar-sized space there.

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Leasing and Development

CyberSource moves to Flatiron Parkway

Boulder County Business Report

By Business Report Staff

BOULDER, CO-CyberSource Corp., an electronic-payment company, has moved into a new office in Boulder and is expanding its staff.

Mountain View, Calif.-based CyberSource, which has an office in Boulder, moved its local campus to 5775 Flatiron Parkway, Suite 230, in Flatiron Park business park.

Company spokesman Bruce Frymire said CyberSource has been hiring at all of its locations despite the recession.

Right now the company, which provides online-payment processing, risk management and security for businesses accepting online credit card payments, has about five employees locally and more than 600 companywide.

The company is planning to hire in Boulder a development manager, operations manager, solutions architect, project manager, payments consultant, customer support analyst and payment-data security analyst.

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Leasing and Development

McVay Brothers start up window plant

Journal of Business

By Mike McLean

Spokane Valley-made product lines to be sold throughout the Northwest. Coeur d'Alene Window Co. is located in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park and initially will employ 10 people.

SPOKANE, WA-McVay Brothers Inc. is getting back into the window-making business, says Mike McVay, the company's owner and president.

The longtime Spokane Valley supplier and installer of windows, siding, roofing, and gutters planned to start production this week at its new subsidiary, Coeur d'Alene Window Co., McVay says. The new window manufacturing plant is located in 16,000 square feet of leased space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, at 3808 N. Sullivan.

McVay Brothers sold its original window manufacturing division to Liberty Lake-based Window Products Inc. in 2004. Window Products later changed its name to Cascade Windows. At the time of the sale, McVay Brothers' then 30,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, at 1805 E. Trent, employed 62 workers and had annual sales exceeding $10 million.

McVay says he expects Coeur d'Alene Window will start up with 10 employees, and the company will hire additional employees as sales grow. Its products will be marketed throughout the Pacific Northwest and California, he says.

"We'll sell them through McVay Brothers within 200 miles of here," McVay says. "Outside of this area, Coeur d'Alene Window will sell to other contractors and remodelers directly."

McVay Brothers handles its distribution and installation of siding, roofing, gutters, and windows through its sales-and-distribution complex at 11420 E. Montgomery Drive, where the company employs 75 people. The complex includes a 6,400-square-foot, office-and-showroom building, and two other buildings with a combined 16,200 square feet of warehouse space.

McVay Brothers currently sells and installs windows made by Cascade and Pella, Iowa-based Pella Corp., but McVay says McVay Brothers will phase out the Cascade brand and replace it with Coeur d'Alene Window's products.

Coeur d'Alene Window will manufacture two lines of windows, he says. One line will be sold under the brand Pend Oreille and will be targeted at the new-construction market. The other line, called Coeur d'Alene, will be the company's premier line and will be targeted at the remodel market.

McVay says he expects Coeur d'Alene Window's annual revenues will exceed McVay Brothers' revenues within four years.

He says he chose to name the window company Coeur d'Alene Window, because "I thought it was a good, strong regional name, and we may move the manufacturing facility to Idaho at some point."

His brother, Mark McVay, former president of McVay Brothers, left the company to take an executive position with Window Products when McVay Brothers sold its original windows division. He returned to McVay Brothers about a year ago and now is the sales director there. McVay Brothers was founded here in 1955 by their father, Harrison McVay Sr., and uncle, Warren McVay.

Chase Breckner, of Crown West Realty LLC, which owns the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, handled Coeur d'Alene Window's lease.

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Leasing and Development

Window maker moves to park

by Bert Caldwell

Here's the Dirt Weekly Report
The Spokesman Review

Another company has taken space insde the industrial park. McVay Brothers Contractors, Inc., doing business as Coeur d'Alene Window Company, has leased 16,000 square feet inside Building 18.

The company makes windows and patio doors.

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Leasing and Development

Sterling adds Space

by Bert Caldwell

Here's the Dirt Weekly Report
The Spokesman Review

Spokane Valley manufacturer Sterling International is leasing 32,000 square feet in Building 16 of the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, 3808 N. Sullivan Road.

The company, which makes insecticide-free bug traps and insect prevention systmes - already uses part of the same building for offices.

A Sterling spokesperson said the added space will store finished products.

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Leasing and Development

Distribution company leases space

by Bert Caldwell

Here's the Dirt Weekly Report
The Spokesman Review

Texas-based GVH/Millennium Distribution has opened its first Northwest location in 16,000 square feet of leased space in the Spokane Business and Industrial Park, 3808 N. Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley.

The privately held company sells food packaging, containers and cups to supermarkets and food-service companies.

President Joe Schmidt said two people work in the warehouse and that number should grow to 10 to 12 people by the end of the year.

The company has its Spokane office in Building 12, Suite G at the industrial park.

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Acquisition and Investment

Petrus Partners Acquires 103 Finished Residential Lots in Goodyear, AZ

GOODYEAR, AZ - Petrus Partners Ltd. (Petrus), in association with Voyager Investment Properties, LLC of Scottsdale, AZ (Mark Voigt and Dave Rogers, Principals), has purchased 103 finished residential lots in the Glen River subdivision within the Canyon Trails master planned community for $2.01 million. The seller was Brown Family Communities (Brown) of Tempe, AZ in conjunction with MCA Financial Group, Ltd. of Phoenix as receiver. Petrus closed the transaction within 3 days of winning a Superior Court of Arizona ordered auction. Tom Tait, Jr. of Land Group Real Estate, LLC acted as the seller's broker while Patrick Whelan of Land Advisors Capital, LLC represented Petrus.

Continental Homes, now part of D.R. Horton, Inc., began developing Canyon Trails in 2000-01. Since then, a diverse group of homebuilders have built out approximately 70% of the 2,000-acre project. The master planned community has achieved success primarily by offering homes for the move-up segment in an area with easy access to downtown Phoenix as well as to northern employers via the 101 freeway. Canyon Trails enjoys a variety of nearby retail, including Wal-Mart and Safeway, as well as Bashas', Petco and Staples at the Market at Estrella.

Glen River lies less than one mile south of I-10 with direct access from Cotton Lane. Brown constructed the lots which each comprise 5,500 square feet (50' x 110'). Leading up to its receivership last fall, Brown sold 49 homes in Glen River at an average price of $220,000. Petrus and Voyager plan to sell the finished lots to a homebuilder and will offer financing.

Petrus Partners is the parent company of Crown West Realty, a full-service real estate investment, development, and management firm with offices in New York City, Phoenix, Denver and Spokane. The Petrus Partners-Crown West Group manages a series of discretionary investment funds totaling over $200 million of equity and owns and manages land development investments together with eight million square feet of office, industrial and mixed-use properties nationwide. Glen River represents the Group's 22nd property acquired in the Phoenix M.S.A. since 2001 and fifth investment in residential land since July of 2008.

Petrus actively seeks additional investment opportunities in residential lots and entitled and un-entitled land in the Phoenix M.S.A. Potential acquisition candidates should be submitted to Frank Walter, President of Petrus Partners at (212) 977-3708 or

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Leasing and Development

Food-bank supplier leases warehouse space in Valley

Journal of Business

By Mike McLean

Northwest Harvest opens fourth distribution center to serve state's food banks

SPOKANE, WA- Northwest Harvest, a Seattle nonprofit food distributor to 300 food banks statewide, says it has leased 13,600 square feet of warehouse space at Spokane Business & Industrial Park, which will help it improve its services here.

Shelley Rotondo, the agency's executive director, says Northwest Harvest has distributed food to Spokane-area outlets involved in hunger-relief efforts for about five years, and the newly leased warehouse space, at 3808 N. Sullivan, in Spokane Valley, provides a centralized distribution point here.

Northwest Harvest also has distribution centers in Kent, Yakima, and Aberdeen, Wash.

Rotondo says Northwest Harvest distributed 541,000 pounds of food in the Spokane area in the nonprofit's fiscal year ending June 30. In the months since then, the agency has been running 10 percent ahead of its distribution pace here in the year-earlier period, she says.

"The warehouse will make us more efficient," she says. "It will enable us to increase what we do here."

The warehouse has two loading docks, and a refrigerated truck will be based at one of them for cold storage, she says.

More than 75 percent of the food distributed by Northwest Harvest is donated, and Northwest Harvest buys the rest in bulk at discounted prices, Rotondo says.

Northwest Harvest isn't affiliated with Spokane-based Second Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest, a longtime nonprofit that operates an 85,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center at 1234 E Front and distributes food to more than 300 food banks and charitable services in the INland Northwest.

"We overlap in that we're both distributors," Rotondo says. Some hunger programs get food from both Northwest Harvest and Second Harvest, she says.

"I think people get more food because both are out there," Rotondo says, adding, "No hunger programs get more food than they can use."

Dean Stuart, of Crown West Realty LLC, and Gary Kuster, of Windermere Real Estate/Valley Inc., handled the Northwest Harvest lease here.

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