The Snoqualmie Valley Record’s 2017
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS
Evan Pappas/Staff Photo
Some of the staff at Down to Earth Flowers and Gifts. From left: Dylan Miller, Casey Bilyeu, Alice Friedel, Shane Parker, Stacy Miller.
One of the best parts about shopping at local stores is knowing the person behind the counter, and knowing that he or she remembers you, too. We have all built friendships with our local shops this way, just by running our errands, finishing our projects, or best of all, rewarding ourselves for all that work, maybe with a coffee or a nice glass of wine. These people are there every day, helping us to find what we need,
or figure out a substitute. They’ve become such a part of our daily lives, it’s easy to forget that these businesspeople all must have more than their fair share of courage and commitment. How else could they tackle the challenge of opening shop in our communities, running the gauntlet of permitting and licensing requirements, quarterly taxes and periodic inspections? They have each banked some part of their livelihoods on the belief that
customers will find value under their roofs, traffic congestion will improve and employees will be available, and affordable. In this issue of our annual Spotlight on Business, we take a look at some of the Mom and Pop, or Mom and Mom shops that have taken the bold step of bringing goods and services to Valley residents. We hope you enjoy the stories, and appreciate the businesses.
Inside: Down to Earth Flowers & Gifts 10 Corners Gift Shop 10 Pet Place Market 11 Wildflower Shop
10 • January 25, 2017 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
2017 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS Excitement and challenge: Doing business in the Valley By CAROL LADWIG and EVAN PAPPAS Record Staff
Opportunities abound in the business community of the Snoqualmie Valley, where Down to Earth Flowers and Gifts enjoys its status as the only full-service florist shop in the area, and where Wildflower Wine Shop is poised to capitalize on the huge growth in wineries right here at home. Yet there are also challenges that every small business owner faces daily. We asked a handful of local businesses, some established, others within their first year or two, what it’s like to do business in the Valley, and what advice they might offer other aspiring business owners. Here are the answers from Down to Earth Flowers and Gifts, now in its 17th year in Snoqualmie, and Pet Place Market, about to celebrate its 10th anniversary in downtown North Bend. We also heard from newcomers Corners Gift Shop in Snoqualmie, which celebrated its one-year anniversary last October, and Wildflower Wine Shop, about five months away from its one-year mark.
Down to Earth Flowers & Gifts A staple of historic downtown Snoqualmie, Down to Earth Flowers and Gifts, has been in the Valley for 17 years. Snoqualmie native Alice Friedel took the lead on the family business in 2014, originally opened by her mother, Maggi Whitaker, in 2000. While she has been involved with the business for many years, taking on the fulltime management of the shop has helped her reconnect with the Valley and the people. Friedel had been a graphic designer at the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, and living in Tacoma when she made the move back to Snoqualmie. “I decided I wanted a different kind of life, slower, less stressful,” she said. “I wouldn’t say running a small business is less stressful, but it’s fun to be around family.” Her family connection to Snoqualmie goes back into the town’s history. In the 1950s, her grandfather, John Whitaker, was the town doctor. “Whenever I went to the store people would say ‘Hey your grandpa delivered me!’ Now it’s ‘Hey your mom did my wedding flowers!’” Down to Earth has “a really busy, daily flower delivery,” said Friedel. “We do weddings, funerals and parties, and we do some corporate clients, we do the flowers for the Snoqualmie Casino, we do lots of elopements and weddings at the Salish Lodge and Treehouse Point. They have been great partners of ours.” “It seems like it’s growing a lot this year, the business is just busier, especially in the summer with the boardwalk being done and the improvements the city has done, it’s getting a lot busier.” The company’s customers vary with the time of year, Friedel said. “Tourists, a lot of people coming through and seeing the Falls. On Valentine’s Day we get a lot of men buying flowers, then a lot of people looking for gifts, sending flowers to friends.”
Evan Pappas/Staff Photos
Top: In the work area of Down to Earth Flowers in Snoqualmie, manager Alice Friedel and employee Casey Bilyeu discuss the design for a floral arrangement. Below: Corners Gift Shop owner Peggy Lefley found her perfect shop site in downtown Snoqualmie. Snoqualmie is well situated, and not just for the tourist attractions. Friedel said “It’s becoming a really exciting place to run a business….It’s very up and coming and it seems like there is a lot more traffic. It’s getting more exciting, especially along the street with nightlife.” There have been challenges, though. “It’s one of our goals to offer benefits and we don’t have quite enough full-time employees to do it right now, but coming from my Starbucks background it’s something that I would love to do,” Friedel said. Another challenge was the recent King County increase in the minimum wage to $11 per hour, she said. Overall, business costs are manageable. “We pay quarterly sales tax, and the business license,” she said. “My dad has still been doing all the books. We have to renew the business license for the city. The fee is based on how many employees you have.” Another challenge is in the nature of the business; fresh flowers have a short shelf life. “A lot of our work is done within two to three days before an event,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll be driving around trying to find a special certain type of flower if it didn’t come.” What’s ahead for Down to Earth? “We have a wedding per weekend (in January) and four in February. That is keeping us busy, and we are doing an open house at the Salish, doing a bunch of flowers,” Friedel said. “Valentine’s Day is coming so fast and that is our biggest thing of the year. It’s crazy.”
Corners Gift Shop Corner’s Gift shop, located on the corner of S.E. King Street and Railroad Avenue in Snoqualmie, is one of historic downtown’s newer businesses. Opened in the fall of 2015, the shop, and it’s owner Peggy Lefley, have seen how recent improvements to the city have affected the local businesses. Lefley, a Snoqualmie resident, spoke about how and why she started a business selling home decor, clothing, and art produced by local artists. What made you locate your business in Snoqualmie? “It was by chance,” she said. Her employer was going out of business, she explained
and she was trying to decide what to do next. “We saw this ‘For Lease’ sign here and I said that would be a great gift shop. It’s a perfect location and before I knew it, here we were,” she said. Lefley also looked for possible business space in North Bend and the Snoqualmie Ridge, but decided that the space she first saw in downtown Snoqualmie was perfect for her. “I just like the charm of this downtown area. I love Snoqualmie, I love the people here. It’s just got a great vibe. I worked as a visual merchandiser most of my life, it’s like SEE VALLEY BUSINESS, 11
Snoqualmie Valley Record • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 • 11
2017 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS VALLEY BUSINESS FROM 10 space planning, display, filtering, what it feels like when you come into a shop. I was pretty comfortable, as far as what it takes to run the shop.” What services and products do you sell? “Home decor, specialty foods, jewelry accessories, clothing, box notes, journals, art, kids’ things,” she said. “My niche is that gift for a friend, family member, someplace to find something unique. I try to always remember that the customers who come in are special to me and I want them to feel special.” Who are your customers? “It’s the local people here, they like to buy local, they support us and we appreciate it so much. It’s what gets us through the slow times like right now. We are establishing that customer base from North Bend to Fall City.” Lefley said. “I also get the tourists and families with all the events down here. I think it’s an up and coming town, so I want to be a part of that.” How would you describe doing business here to another business? “It’s new for me. It’s one of those things, you have to be patient, you have to be able to roll with things, and change. You have to try to think of things to make people want to come in.” Also, she said, “There is a lot of stuff that needs to happen before you get started, such as … working out a lease, and all the things the city of Snoqualmie needs to maintain this character. You have to keep that historic feel, so that was a different process. It’s an eye opener how expensive all those things behind the scenes are.” What taxes and fees do you pay? “Quarterly, state tax, and business license, we work with a company that keeps us all in check with that stuff.” Have any challenges come up? “One of the challenges about a small business, is changing the way you advertise, get the word out to people. That’s been a challenge.” “For the first six months, I was basically here six days a week and realized real quick that burnout was going to take its toll on me if I didn’t have some help. I got two fantastic ladies who work with me, Carrie and Teresa. They work part time and they save me,” she said. “They just have a really great work ethic and they work really well together.” Because both employees live in the Valley, they are able to avoid most transportation issues, Lefley said. “The challenge of finding new products and keeping it new and following the trends and getting out there and working that takes a lot of time,” she said. “I bring local product in here, and I try and rotate it so I feature local artists.” Lefley is traveling to Las Vegas this week for the Las Vegas Gift Market, a furniture, home decor and gift trade show. By going to trade shows to find new items for her store, she keeps her business fresh and always changing. “I love seasonally changing things up, we move stuff around all the time, we are a seasonal type of shop.”
Staff at Pet Place Market include from left are: Megan, store manager Wendi Beerbower, holding company dog Jazzy, owner Chris Creighton, and Stormy.
Pet Place Market Most small business owners encounter a surprise or two as they get to work on their ventures, even if they’re getting into established businesses. Chris Creighton, the owner of North Bend’s Pet Place Market for about 10 months now, was no exception. Semi-retired from the tech industry, Creighton said he hadn’t known a lot about the pet care industry when he bought the business from Brenna Shoultz March 1 last year but as the owner of a pet with many allergy and skin problems for the past 10 years, he’s done extensive research on pet nutrition. Besides, he said, “I grew up in small country towns (in Canada, New Zealand and Australia) and fell in love with North Bend the first time my family and I visited.” North Bend’s natural beauty, plus its close-knit community were big attractions for Creighton. It also appealed to him that Shoultz worked at the shop only three days a week. However, “as fate would have it, I’m here about six,” he said, but that’s fine with him. “Frankly, I’d rather be here, because it’s fun.” Creighton learned a lot about pet care, over the course of the last year, and while he does have concerns about competing with Internet retailers, he tries to keep his prices similar to theirs, and he’s confident in his customer base. “It’s a really cool community… they expect you to participate, and they’re loyal,” he said. Observant, too. Creighton is preparing to expand the business on Bendigo Boulevard into another section of their building, to increase the amount of freezer space available for higher-quality raw pet foods, because his customers are asking for more of these products. “I think pet owners of all walks of life are starting to appreciate the better the nutritionally balanced diet they feed their pet — and this could be any pet — the less money they spend at the veterinarian,” he said.
Creighton enumerates the benefits of a raw-food diet, which include excellent teeth and better breath, shiny healthy coats, and less waste to pick up after them. “The same is true of a high-quality kibble,” he added. “It’s really an awareness now that, ‘if I can figure this out nutritionally, my furry loved one is going to be happier.’” Pet Place Market also carries pet chews and toys, clothing, bedding and some small-animal supplies, and offers three doit-yourself pet-washing tubs. The self-wash and spa was the original component of the business and still brings a lot of regular customers in, so there will be no changes to this section as a planned expansion starts. Instead, Creighton hopes to remove a wall in the additional space to add several more freezers for pet food. He’s also looking forward to, outside the building, having a expanded parking area some time in February, when a
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neighboring building on the property is demolished. All of these changes are perfectly timed to coincide with the business’ 10-year anniversary celebration, scheduled for the end of April. Learn more about Pet Place Market and its upcoming events at www. petplacemarket.com. The small staff at Pet Place Market in addition to Creighton include manager Wendi Beerbower, and five other staffers, two of them high school students. They will also see changes specific to them in the near future. Creighton plans to offer his staff some additional employee benefits in the coming year. “I’m going to make sure that employees that we want to stick around get competitive benefits,” he said. SEE VALLEY BUSINESS, 12
12 • January 25, 2017 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
2017 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS VALLEY BUSINESS FROM 11
Business workshops build on business consultants’ expertise
The city’s business environment is very supportive, he said, although most small businesses struggle with the same similar issues of attracting and keeping excellent staff people (although he adds that Pet Place Market has been extremely fortunate in that regard), balancing the benefits and costs of staff development, competing with online retailers, the rising cost of employment the rising cost of accepting credit card payments and, particular to North Bend, the increasing traffic congestion.
Wildflower Wine Shop One of North Bend’s newest businesses has a vision to buy local, as much as possible. Wildflower Wine Shop’s Kimberlea Miller, who co-owns the little restaurant on North Bend Way next door to Base Camp Fitness, said it’s as much about helping all businesses in the Valley as it is about building her own. “The economic growth of the wine industry is picking up here in the Valley,” she said, standing behind the bar of her shop, which opened in June. To demonstrate, she walked to the wine racks, then pointed out the general area of the wineries in her current inventory. “This is North Bend, this is Carnation, this is Fall City, we have Cherry Valley, we have Sigillo, we have Pearl and Stone, Piccola, William Grassie, Pleasant Hill…” Most of the wines are from the Snoqualmie Valley, a few come from other parts of Washington, but none from any farther away. “We have such beautiful, wonderful wines here, there’s absolutely no reason to go across the border,” Miller said. The food coming out of the kitchen, staffed by coowner Denise Romary, is just as local, coming mainly from Carnation farmers, Miller said. “We support the Valley whole-heartedly,” she added. “It’s very important to me.” That support extends to the people who live here, too. Miller has opened the shop up for various community events, including a recent personal supplies drive for homeless youth. Miller has lived in the Valley since 1973 and as a well known wine blogger, she’s been immersed in the industry. “I wanted to, with my background, be on the ground floor of the wine industry in the Valley,” she explained. Her plans for a wine business didn’t fall into place until she met Romary, then her personal trainer at Anytime Fitness in Snoqualmie, and they found a cozy niche in North Bend. The shop is long and narrow, with bench seating along one wall, the bar and wine racks along the other, a small but well-equipped kitchen in the back and smaller more
Evan Pappas/Staff Photo
Top: Denise Romary, who co-owns Wildflower Wine Shop with Kimberlea Miller (inset), poses for a photo by the shop sign. intimate tables, by the front. “It’s very European, a lot of my customers say, and it kind of fit our bill,” said Miller. The Wildflower women have overcome a few challenges as they opened shop in North Bend. “There’s a lot of things you need a permit for,” Miller said, including liquor sales, plumbing and electrical improvements to the building, signs and basic occupancy. Miller is also a registered paralegal and was able to figure out the requirements for opening a new business herself, but she encouraged other prospective owners to “Be very well prepared, get all your ducks in a row.” For example, Miller noted that the city of North Bend charges a B&O tax, based on square footage, but she can deduct the space taken by her inventory. Also, she notes that “Washington state is extremely expensive to do business in,” but that being able to live here makes it worth the expense. Learn more about Wildflower Wine Shop, and their upcoming events, at www.wildflowerwineshop.com.
Expert advice is always in demand, but rarely is it free, unless it’s coming from one of the Snoqualmie Valley Consultants Coffee Klatsches. These biweekly meetings, started last fall in a joint effort of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce and consultant Peter Busacca, feature area experts giving presentations on such topics as building a business plan, increasing revenues and how to grow your business. “These are some of the top-end consultants,” says Busacca, who started the group from his own contacts. A business consultant himself, he’d accumulated contacts in various fields, out of sheer necessity. “I help business owners to kind of fix their businesses, to get their revenues to improve, to get their profits to improve,” he explained. “But the list of things that business owners need is long and distinguished and I only do a couple of things.” He developed relationships with consultants in various fields, initially in Snohomish County, then, about five years ago, he realized many of them didn’t know each other. So, he invited them all to an informal gathering for coffee. “It lasted about 90 minutes, and we chose a topic to discuss,” Busacca said, and by the end of it, the monthly consultants coffee klatsch had been formed. From those gatherings, it was a small leap to expand into four klatsches, one for each point on the compass, and then a unanimous decision to include other business owners who could benefit from their discussions and advice. “All four of the klatsches have said they wanted to give back to the community,”Busacca said, “so after thinking about this, for a while, I contacted the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce.” Busacca proposed the lunch-and-learn sessions, featuring one consultant, giving a presentation in his field, at no cost to participants. The sessions are informal and intended for the benefit of participants, so questions are welcome. “We really want this to be more of an interactive workshop model,” Busacca said. The all-volunteer workshops are also still being developed. A website and a feedback system are goals for the future, as are a social media campaign. However, in the short term, Busacca said, “Let’s figure out how to do what we’re doing, well.” The next workshop is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Jan. 27, at Snoqualmie City Hall. Busacca will discuss using key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the health of a business, and to grow it. Bring your own lunch, or make reservations to order your lunch in advance. To learn more, visit www.snovalley.org.
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Encompass provides comprehensive care and support for families raising young children in the Snoqualmie Valley. Through our Early Learning, Pediatric Therapy, and Family Enrichment & Support programs, we provide the resources to help build a community where 209 Main Avenue ALL children thrive. Whether your child needs quality preschool education, specializedS. North Bend, WA 98045 therapy, or camaraderie with their peers, we have something for everyone. To learn more about Encompass and what we do, visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @encompassnw.
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Snoqualmie Valley Record • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 • 13
2017 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS Voted #1 Hair Salon 2005-2015! Bella Vita Spa and Salon is your local beauty spot! We have been thriving in the valley for over 16 years as a full service salon and spa. We are excited to announce we have a new owner! Pepper has been a loyal stylist in our team for more than 10 years, working hard to continue our amazing business. Bella Vita strives to maintain and offer reliability, kindness, quality, and incredible services to all of our amazing guests.The core of this is our outstanding team of talented cosmetologists and spa professionals. It is our duty to bring love, joy, and beauty to everyone in the Snoqualmie Valley area and we love doing it! So, stop by bellavitasnoqualmie. com or give us a call at 425-888-4888 to book your appointment today. We cant wait to share our passion with you!
Left to right: Marie Everett, Kyra Kolodejchuk, Pepper Allplun, Angie Riley Not pictured: Cammy Cirhin, Christina Stembler, Susan Duin, Shayla Rohrer, Tyler Trabont
7984 Falls Ave. SE • Snoqualmie • 425.888.4888
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The friendly folks at North Bend Materials are ready to assist you with your soil, sand, gravel, cedar chips & bark needs. We also carry propane, RV, spa & hot tub supplies, hay, straw and shavings, as well as heating pellets. Join our Punch Card Club! Gift Certificates Available. We Deliver.
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RiverTree Dental Care Dr. Brian Mayer, DDS
Left-right: Paul McMahon, Megan Vogel, Rachel Charbonneau, Roseann Vineberg, Stephanie Frost, Carol Wright, Judy Hallamore, Anna Chafe, Jenna Hansen, George Warren, and Liz Palmer. Not Pictured: Don Bleha, Ryan Hill, Henry Callahan, Kari Hull, and Jennifer Kirk.
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425.888.2703 38700 SE River St. Snoqualmie Our primary goal is to provide you and your family the most comfortable, relaxing care we would want for our own families. At Rivertree Dental Care you will experience all that modern dentistry has to offer, including a comprehensive list of general, restorative and cosmetic dental care services to meet the needs of the whole family. We are focused on helping each patient achieve and maintain long term dental health and a beautiful smile.
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14 • January 25, 2017 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
2017 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS Senior Living at its Finest
VOTED Best of the Valley since 2003
Join the Fun!
"See why Red Oak is the best value for Senior Care in the Valley and on the Eastside."
Reader’s Choice for Best in the Valley The wonderful staff at Red Oak
Snoqualmie Valley has active adult and customized assisted-living care offered in a smaller more personable community at the foot of Mount Si.
www.redoakresidence.com 425.888.7108 • 650 E North Bend Way • North Bend
35501 SE Douglas Street
Membership includes comprehensive Yoga program and Group Fitness classes! Get back in shape at our 14,000 square foot fully-equipped gym with professional, experienced personal trainers. FREE Fitness Assessment for new members ($25 value!) Child care available in our KidZone!
1546 Boalch Ave NW ◆ North Bend 425.831.7782 ◆ www.mtsisports.com
Our office is now 8 years old! Come by and meet both doctors. Dr. Kramer is a fellow Ridge resident too! Let us help you get that smile that will make you feel the confidence you've always wanted!
Mon-Sat 9am - 6pm Sun 9am - 1pm “Friendly, professional, and quick service. Recommend highly. “ ~ J.D. Snoqualmie “Excellent! Could not have been more flexible or more helpful.” ~ S.H. Fall City “This location was extremely well maintained. The employees were very helpful and competent.” ~P.D. Pasadena, MD. Snoqualmie Ridge Storage is phenomenal. I highly recommend them.” ~S.C. Redmond “Amazing how you worked with us. Thank you so much! Enjoy the day.” ~Mt Si Food Bank North Bend “Outstanding customer service. A+ experience every time!” ~S.C. Snoqualmie
8026 Douglas Ave Ste 200 Snoqualmie Ridge www.SnoqualmieFallsDental.com
Celebrating 14 Years in Business in the Snoqualmie Valley!
The Cleaning Authority Snoqualmie Valley The Cleaning Authority is “Locally Owned and Operated” by Paul and Stephanie McMahon. “Our mission is to be the best residential housecleaning company in the area, striving to provide the highest level of quality and service to our customers. We build long-term relationships with our clientele, with more than half of our customer base having been with us for 3 years or more.” Along with their housecleaning business Paul and Stephanie take a great deal of pride in their professional, highly-trained and, dedicated housecleaning staff. Some of the staff have been with them for several years and are making their way through their career opportunity path.
Photo courtesy of Michael Martin Left to Right: Scott Holz, Debi Hill, David Cook, Karin Ayling, Karin Simpson, Kathy White of Graystone Mortgage, Brian Davis, Regina Bronner and Brad Toft of Graystone Mortgage.
They take great pleasure in community involvement Their participation in The Snoqualmie Valley Schools Foundation, Cleaning for a Reason, North Bend Food Bank, several other local charities and their church is very important to them.
Residential – Commercial – Leasing www.cookreservices.com 425-888-7774
“We are striving to make the words ‘The Cleaning Authority of the Snoqualmie Valley’ synonymous with having your home professionally cleaned.
125 E North Bend Way • North Bend • 425-292-9643 www.thecleaningauthority.com/northbend
Snoqualmie Valley Record • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 • 15
2017 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS Hair Ink Salon and Spa
Group Photo: Left to rightBrittany Rockstar, Tracy Schroeder, Dana Pray, Jessie Scace, Robin Crowder. Inset: Shelly Powers
We will be celebrating five years in business March 1st. With much gratitude, we want to say thank you for supporting a small dream come to a special reality. We could not continue to pursue our passions here at Hair Ink without the love and support from our valued guests and staff. Our newest addition to the salon is a massage therapist with loads of experience. Continue to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to watch our talent unfold and see our specials we are offering in the salon. www.facebook.com/hair.ink05 Instagram@hairink
137 E North Bend Way • North Bend • 425.292.3488
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1% listing fee program is truly full service, only the commission is discounted. Listing includes professional HDR photos, 3D virtual walk-through or aerial drone photography, home staging consultation, property website, open houses, etc, etc. I also offer buyer’s a .5% thank you credit at closing.
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It’s a great time to sell, prices are up and there’s a shortage of inventory in the Valley. Call for a no obligation, complimentary market analysis today!
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Wrongful Death • Collisions Automobile Collisions Wrongful Death • Automobile • Serious Injury Insurance Claims • Product Liability • Civil Litigation Insurance Claims • Product Liability •
• Serious Injury Civil Litigation
16 • January 25, 2017 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
2017 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS We have the best view in the Valley!
Not just for Golfers! We are open to the public!
Our restaurant serves up one of the best breakfasts in town and our lunch is awesome too. Thanks to all our locals who keep coming out to see us. We have some great new menu selections. If you are planning a golf tournament, birthday party, class reunion, wedding or any other celebration give Tracy, our Restaurant Manager a call at (425) 888-2150. Our location, customer service, food and view are top notch. The golf course is in top condition this winter and we are working hard everyday. We have introduced a new greens program to keep the greens rolling their best and for the new season.
www.mtsigolf.com 9010 BOALCH AVE SE • SNOQUALMIE • 425-888-1541
NORTH BEND is the small town that is creating a premiere outdoor adventure destination in the Puget Sound region. Ken Hearing, Pamela Wickard, Tom Srouf, Gina Estep, Geoff Doy
The City of North Bend partnered with the Downtown Foundation, a 501c3 organization charged with revitalization and economic vitality of Downtown North Bend. From this partnership the North Bend Visitor Information Center and Mountain View Art Gallery (VIC) was created. Strategically located at the gateway to Downtown, the VIC hosts a full scale tourist information center and professional art gallery.
For a list of the North Bend community and recreation events scheduled this year aimed to drive up visitors and capture dollars, go to: www.ci.north-bend.wa.us
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