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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Biscuit Wizard is now open in Downtown Spokane

Back in early June we we're one of the first to announce the plans for a new eatery called Biscuit Wizard then coming to Downtown Spokane. Well now we can happily report the highly anticipated biscuit place is now open for business.

Biscuit Wizard is the latest venture of Chef Jeremy Hansen who many already know from his other restaurants like Sante and the Common Crumb Bakery ( which is actually in the same building as Biscuit Wizard ) .

Biscuit Wizard offers several biscuit sandwich options with fresh made buttermilk biscuits. There is also a limited selection egg dishes served between 7a-11a and some salads and snacks including something called Vladimir Poutine ( I for one am intrigued... )

Since Biscuit Wizard just opened this week I have not yet made it down there to check it out ( but you better believe I will... ) . So, I'll turn over the coverage of exactly what to expect to fellow local Spokane blogger SpokaneEats , who while un-related to this site posts about some pretty cool and delicious looking Spokane restaurants. Here is their news on Biscuit Wizard-

And, just for reference Biscuit Wizard can be found in the Saranac Commons market building at 19 W. Main in Downtown Spokane. They are in the same space as where Medditerrano once was.

Community Cancer Fund announces plans for a new Hospitality Center at Kootenai Health

In just it's third year of operation, Community Cancer Fund has announced their plans to building a new hospitality center on the campus of Kootenai Health in Coeur d' Alene. This will be the non-profit's most ambitious project to date and will be built as a collaboration between CCF, Kootenai Health and the Ronald McDonald House Charites of the Inland Northwest.

The new hospitality center will provide low cost accommodations for adults and free accommodations for pediatric patents and their families while using the services of Kootenai Health. The center will have 14 adult rooms and 6 rooms for Ronald McDonald House guests. While there guests will also have access to meals and pet therapy programs.

The new hospitality center is just the latest step of the major expansions that Kootenai Health has seen in the last 5 years. Mike Forness executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Inland Northwest even points out this as being part of the reason for their involvement in the project. He says " The demand for a Ronald McDonald House at Kootenai Health stems from recent expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ( NICU ) as well as expanding pediatric services ". Kootenai Health is also the largest medical center in the North Idaho region meaning adult accommodation needs will also likely continue to grow. It will be open to all, not just those with a cancer diagnosis.

Plans call for the new hospitality center to be built on a vacant lot on Northwest corner of the Kootenai Health campus. It will be connected to the main Kootenai Health hospital by walking trails and a shuttle service that will allow guest to be quickly taken to various locations on the Kootenai Health campus.

Currently adult accommodations are provided in a smaller center called Walden House. Once the new hospitality center is opened, the current Walden House will be removed to make way for future medical office developments. The adult section however of the new hospitality center will retain the Walden House name.

Architectural design work for the new hospitality center is expected to be completed sometime this fall with construction to start in the Summer of 2018. The current projected completion date in in early 2019. Fundraising for the hospitality center project will kick off July 28-29 at The Showcase event which benefits the Community Cancer Fund and is held at the Coeur d' Alene Resort Golf Course.

For more information on the Community Cancer Fund, the above mentioned event and all the good works they are doing in the Inland Northwest, visit their website at-

For more information on Kootenai Health visit-

And, for more information on the Ronald McDonald Charites of the Inland Northwest visit-

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Permits filed to build something called Incrediburger in Downtown Spokane

More information is pending but what we do know is that a building permit was applied for today for what will likely be an exciting new burger place coming to Downtown Spokane.

The filing lists something called Incrediburger going into 909 W. 1st Ave , which looks to be the empty former site of Dempsey's Brass Rail, a gay bar that had operated near the Knitting Factory. Under the filing it looks like a total remodel of the space as it mentions pretty much everything being new.

Keep watching this site for more as we get it ( which could be soon, or awhile yet.. ) . From what I know and quick Google search this would likely be a locally owned burger restaurant as Incrediburger is not a current chain restaurant name.

Evergreen Fountains Senior Living Community to undergo major expansion

Evergreen Fountains, the large senior living campus at 1201 N. Evergreen Rd in Spokane Valley has announced they are planning to break ground soon an expansion they are calling phase II .

The Evergreen Fountains expansion will consist of a 61,700 square foot building with 39 new units and 12 cottages. The new building will be state of the art with large modern floor plans for Independent and Assisted Living with an expected grand opening to happen around June of 2018. Construction already underway with a official ground breaking in August.

TW Clark Construction will act as the general contractor with architect Sam Nystrom doing the design work on the project. The project will also mean some new job creation although exact numbers are not listed.

The new expansion will be in separate building for the main structure but will be connected via a skywalk. The new section of the Evergreen Fountains campus will feature 1, 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans with living spaces up to 2000 square feet. And all residents will have access to the existing warm water pool, arthritis certified programs , gourmet dining, Vasi's Bistro and their wine tasting & entertainment room Athena's Cabaret.

Evergreen Fountains Senior Living Community is locally owned and operated by Prokey Arger and Gregory Arger who are both livelong residents of Spokane Valley. They are already beginning pre-leasing the new senior living units. For more information on leasing a unit at Evergreen Fountains contact them at 509-922-3100

And, for more information on Evergreen Fountains, visit their web site at-

SPi CRM to open call center in empty Silver Lake Mall anchor space

While it won't be used for retail or restaurants space the former Sports Authority space in Coeur d' Alene's Silver Lake Mall is about to be occupied again. It will be remodeled for use as a new customer service call center for SPi CRM a company based in the Philippines. This will be company's second call center in the United States with the first being near Madison,WI which opened about 4 years ago.

The new Coeur d' Alene SPi CRM call center is to open in September with a small admin / jobs office in another empty space in mall. Currently SPi CRM says they are hiring for 100+ open positions although sources say there will be more then 100 new jobs created as the center ramps up.
The center will occupy the entire 44,000 square foot anchor space which falls in the mall closest to the corner of Government Way and Hanley Ave. . 

SPi CRM takes calls for many different clients including those in retail , telecom & IT, banking , travel and more. The company provides traditional phone call services in addition to chat, e-mail and social media services for their clients.

Hiring has begun to fill the new jobs at SPi CRM Coeur d' Alene, pay starts at $11.50 per hour for customer service positions with QA, management and other positions also open. For information on how to apply visit

And for more information about the company itself visit-

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Skechers Factory Outlet coming to Spokane Valley

It's been almost 2 years since the Skechers shoe brand opened their first outlet store in the Spokane area. That store is still going strong as part of the Heritage North Shopping Center, right by the Y in North Spokane. And, now the shoe giant is bringing their brand a bit east with a planned new outlet location in Spokane Valley.

Sketchers will begin work soon on a new store at 14008 E. Sprague Ave in the Evergreen Marketplace Shopping Center across from Target in the Valley. The new Sketchers Factory Outlet will take up a little over 10,000 square feet of space directly next door to an Office Depot store. As some remodeling work is necessary the store will open sometime in November of this year.

Being a factory outlet store this location, like the other, will carry the full Skechers line. With shoes for men, women, boys and girls for most any occasion as well as accessories  . This is the only currently planned store for the brand in our area at this time.

For more information on Sketchers, visit their website at-

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Major renovations, new name coming to a Coeur d' Alene area hotel

The Shilo Inn & Suites hotel has been acquired and big things are on the horizon for the hotel which stands near I-90 at 702 W. Appleway in Coeur d' Alene.

The hotel , which is older, is now owned by Town Pump,Inc. of Butte,MT . This is Town Pump's second venture into Idaho as the Town Pump name remains a major player in Montana. There the company operates many gas stations, hotels and casinos.

Town Pump has already began some early updates and is being more aggressive in filling open positions at the hotel. And, soon ( likely in Sept. ) the hotel will be fully remodeled with updates to all hotel rooms, lobby, breakfast room and even the lighting and building exterior. Upon completion of the remodel the hotel will become a Comfort Inn & Suites hotel with completion date tentatively scheduled for April 2018.

The hotel boasts 139 hotel rooms , meeting rooms , indoor pool, sauna and hot tub and boasts a restaurant ( JB's Restaurant ) located adjacent to the hotel out front facing Appleway. It also boasts a prime location just a block away from the US 95 exit off of I-90 and a short drive from Downtown Coeur d' Alene.

For more information on Town Pump,Inc. visit their web site at-

Hotel rooms in the hotel can be booked on until the conversion to Comfort Inn & Suites.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spokane's first Firehouse Subs opens, construction underway on Coeur d' Alene's first

We we're the first to break the news that Jacksonville,FL based Firehouse Subs was planning a new location in Spokane. And, now we're one of the first to report that Firehouse Subs location is officially open for business after swinging open the doors late last week.

That new Firehouse Subs restaurant joins a new small strip mall in the converted North side Apollo Spas location at 7808 N. Division. The restaurant space is open to carry out and dine in with a firefighter themed dining area within the 2000+ square foot space. The new restaurant employs about 20 and is open seven days a week.

And, now with this new location open more are planned to come with possibly a few more in Spokane. But, first the next location recently went under construction near the new Cracker Barrel restaurant and across from Winco Foods at 1486 W. Appleway in Coeur d' Alene. The planned new Coeur d' Alene Firehouse Subs will occupy a space in another small strip mall at the address above. No opening date but this location should be open sometime this fall. 

Firehouse Subs has over 1300 locations , mostly franchised , in 44 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. The company is a positive community partner by giving back via a public service foundation called the Firehouse Subs Foundation giving millions for dollars for fire station equipment, training and support.

Like most chains all Firehouse Subs follow the same menu. Their menu consists hot & cold sub sandwiches, salads, sides and more. Kids options and catering are also available and more information about the menu and local hours of operation can be found on the web site-

Monday, July 17, 2017

Former Cheney High School becoming apartment complex called School House Lofts

The Spokane market is currently sitting with record low apartment vacancy levels. This is why we usually have a handful new apartment complexes under construction at any one time around our area. So, because of the regularity of these projects they only occasionally make it onto, usually for uniqueness. And it doesn't get much more unique then a new student housing driven apartment project in Cheney that is nearing completion.

That project is the new School House Lofts student apartment community which is being built within the former Cheney High School at 520 4th Ave. in Cheney. And, unlike all of the new construction apartment projects this is a complete renovation of an historic school building.

The School House Lofts apartments is currently under construction in the final phases with tenants allowed to move in time for this fall's move in at nearby Eastern Washington University. The building will have 36 apartments of varying sizes and floorplans on all 3 floors of the structure.

To stay true to building's history as a school the gym , while not quite as large is being kept mostly as is for tenant use. Even the lockers in the hallway are staying although they will no longer be functional for storage. The auditorium is also staying as common space used for the student tenants to study.

School House Lofts is being managed by NAI Black, rent is to be from $498 for a bedroom in a shared unit to a little over $800 a month for a studio apartment. Apartments will be largely furnished with wifi, bike storage and more. 

For more information about leasing at School House Lofts, visit their web site at-

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Industrial Leases = More Jobs in Kootenai County

A few new warehouses and factories look to be on the horizon in North Idaho. One for a company new to our area and another an ecommerce company that has been growing in our area for sometime now.

Here is the details-

Smak Products,Inc adds new manufacturing plant in Hayden

Vancouver,WA based Smak Products,Inc. has started to process of moving into a manufacturing facility at 181 W. Aqua Ave. in Hayden. Smak is a plastics manufacturer that produces a number of products using a low pressure plastic molding process called rotational molding. A perk for the company to choose the building in Hayden was that a similar company had occupied the building last leaving them with equipment they can use in their processes.

Smak Products, Inc. is already open for business in Hayden with a small crew. However once they are at full capacity the new factory will employ about 45. Company employees typically receive between $11 and $16 per hour.

Macs Designs,LLC dba NanaMac's Boutique leases new warehouse in Post Falls

Although there is no mention of how many jobs exactly it will create, the Coeur d' Alene based NanaMac's Boutique has agreed to lease a 21,000 free standing warehouse building at 6164 W. Seltice Way in Post Falls

NanaMac's is a growing online seller of women's clothing and accessories. They also operate in a brick & mortar retail store under the same name at 2018 W. Main in the Coeur d' Alene's Village at Riverstone shopping center.

The building they will lease was last used by a company called Integrated Ideas & Technology's who recently relocated to the Coeur d' Alene Industrial Park. Another small facility is also already under construction right next door to it for another company that we unfortunately have little information about.

We're also watching closely two planned factories coming just over the Washington border in Spokane Valley. We'll likely have more on that in a future post however...

Several new grocery store options have come to the Spokane/ Coeur d' Alene area

It seems like many people in Spokane are anxiously awaiting a Whole Foods store and Coeur d' Alene's shoppers seem to want a Trader Joe's store to call their own. And, while neither are coming just yet the grocery wars are heating up with a 3 new options opening in our area recently. Here is the details....

For the shopper looking mostly for fresh produce...

Today in fact is the first day of the grand opening celebration for Green's Fresh Market at 4915 N. Market is Hillyard . While the store is small ( 3500 square feet ) and at first is mostly a market of fresh produce only it is awesome.

The store is locally owned and operated by local businessman Jack Green who some may remember as the owner of the now closed Piccolo's Market on Mission. More grocery items are coming and they even hope to have a meat and deli selection in the store in the future.

Green's Fresh Market's grand opening starts today and runs all weekend.

For the restaurant owner / bulk food shopper...

Not everything at the new Smart Foodservice Cash & Carry's new store in Coeur d' Alene is in bulk sizes but it is defiantly the main focus of the Portland based grocery store chain. Cash & Carry already has 2 stores in Spokane and this is the company's first venture into Coeur d' Alene and North Idaho.

This store is a newly built 20,000 square foot building directly behind Wendy's at 208 E. Appleway in Coeur d' Alene. Like all stores in the Smart Foodservice Cash & Carry system the stores are open to the public and require no membership card. You'll find several different departments including walk in freezers for frozen foods and meats. They even have industrial sized cleaning supplies.

For the urban dweller / foodie...

Kinda similar to Seattle's well known Metropolitan Market is the newly opened My Fresh Basket which opened for business only about a week ago on the eastern side of Kendall Yards at the Summit / Monroe intersection.

The store has about 25,000 square feet and is a grocery store in every cense of the word. But, don't count on going into My Fresh Basket and expecting it to be like the endless acres of land under one roof at Wal Mart or Fred Meyer. My Fresh Basket is a fresher more local take on the grocery store concept.

Customers shop in big spaces of organic produce, get fully prepared grab & go meals , indulge on coffees from the in store location of The Roast House . The new store even has a salad bar, a full growler filling station and much more. Well worth checking out...

Also don't forget out local farmers market's , Spokane Public Market has returned as outdoor farmers market in Downtown Spokane every Tues. from 4-7 and I highly recommend the Liberty Lake Farmers Market every Saturday Morning!

Follow-ups on some new business projects

There has been a few new construction projects that people have been asking me about that we're actually already mentioned on the main site, so I figured I'd readdress them as best I can.

Unfortunately as new posts come along some of the older news gets pushed away into the endless abyss that is the Inland NW Business Watch archives.

But if your ever looking for news about a particular project either search for it on the top of the page, read the project listings in the top right or just ask!

So, here is what you have wanted to know lately...

Is U Haul going to take over the vacant former JC Penney store at U City?

We mentioned in early June that we had uncovered some pre-development documents about U Haul creating a new complex in what was once a JC Penney store in the now mostly demolished U City Mall ( that article- ).

Since that posting the plans to create the U Haul complex have moved forward, the company has acquired the space with signs that just recently went up indicating that U Haul is in fact " coming soon " .

This new facility will of course have a showroom for rental of U Haul trucks and other products but the majority will become a 3 story ( including the basement ) indoor self storage complex with over 800 storage units of varying sizes and about 42,000 square feet of space on each floor. It is to be open for business later this year.

What's going in on Newport Hwy. near the plaza with Ashley Furniture?

This was partly my fault as I had the address published wrong when the original article was posted. But the site at 10421 N. Newport Hwy nearby Ashley Furniture & Carpet Barn is being developed into Spokane's 2nd location of the Sonic fast food restaurant chain.

It appears this Sonic will be owned and operated by a Boise based company which is a different franchisee then the one Sonic's near Gonzaga and in Post Falls. No word on when it will open but it will be much like all other Sonic locations with a drive in style that features both drive up ordering booths and a drive thru lane but no indoor dining room.

The new North Spokane Sonic will be 2308 square feet with 18 ordering stalls and 5 parking spaces.

What's going in on Grand across from the Post Office?

Located just feet south of the Washington Trust Bank branch at the Manito Shopping Center the last thing you'd expect to see being built is another Washington Trust Bank . But that's exactly what they are doing on this site that faces Grand Ave. in-between 31st and 32nd across from a post office.

The new Washington Trust Bank branch will actually replace the older one to the north with the bank building sitting more on the north side of the project site. The south side of the project is be developed into a new restaurant which Washington Trust Bank claims to still be recruiting a tenant for that space. The project at first was a bit controversial however as it required demolition of a few older homes, a small commercial building and the relocation of a coffee drive up.

What construction projects would you like to know more about? Send me a message any time via or on our Facebook page at

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Gymboree Corp. plans store closures including 2 in Spokane

It's becoming common place to write about new retail store closure announcements. And, today there is another one that will affect 2 Spokane area stores.

Gymboree Corp. a San Francisco based retailer that operates children's clothing stores under the Gymboree, Crazy 8 and Janie & Jack brandings will close a total of 350 stores. The store closures are a result of the company restructuring due to more difficult times. Two of the 350 store closures will happen locally in Spokane area malls, no final days are mentioned but some store closures could happen as early as later this month.

The two local stores set to shutter are-

Gymboree River Park Square 808 W. Main #205 Spokane

Crazy 8 Spokane Valley Mall 14700 E. Indiana Ave #1052 Spokane Valley

With this Crazy 8 will have no stores in the Spokane market. However Gymboree stores in Spokane Valley Mall and Northtown Mall will remain open for business. Gymboree also sells via their products via their website at-

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spokane Arena adding hip new dining area called " The Market "

Over the last few years Spokane Arena has evolved significantly. A few new dining options we're added and of course security has been increased with metal detectors at each entrance. But now, the Arena is taking another step forward with the recently announcement that they will remodel a 4100 square foot section of the building on the north side for a new hip casual food court area called The Market.

The Market will be a collection of 5 new food booths including-

-An Asian wrap place

-A Gas fired pizza place

- A craft burger booth

- A new craft beer bar ( the Arena also opened there first craft beer establishment , Boone St. Taproom last year )

And, a new taco stand called Los Tacos de los Muertos . All of these are to be open in time for the home opener of the Spokane Chiefs on Sept. 30th . In addition to The Market the project includes new landscaping to increase space and " weather protection " for those waiting in line for security at the northeast entrance to the Arena which because of it's location and larger size is typically one of the more used entry points.

The restaurants planned for The Market area will be just like the other restaurants within Spokane Arena are only open to ticketed guests of the events at the Arena during the times the doors are open for said events.

For more information on Spokane Arena, including the upcoming events and sports games, visit-

Monday, July 10, 2017

Palouse Bar & Grill opens on the South Hill

The restaurant space that housed the short lived Anthony's Beach CafĂ© in the Regal Plaza shopping center ( Regal & Palouse Hwy. ) is filled once more. The new business is another new restaurant and is a locally owned and operated establishment called Palouse Bar & Grill.

Palouse Bar & Grill opened there doors a couple of weeks ago and serves a menu of what they call unique pub-style food and comfort foods. They also offer a full bar with craft cocktails and even offer up 80+ whiskeys.

The restaurant is about 4000 square feet with seating for 90 and employs 35. They'll have there menu available online in the near future as they have a website under development now. 

Coeur d' Alene Kmart to close

And, then there was just one...

The once large discount retailer Kmart has been announcing store closures almost back to back for a couple of years now. Even the company which is owned by the same parent as Sears stores admits a total closure could be on the horizon. Another of the store closure announcement press releases was submitted late last week which included the Coeur d' Alene Kmart store at US 95 & Neider Ave. This leaves Kmart with just one store still open in the Inland Northwest, at 4110 E. Sprague Ave. in East Central Spokane.

The Coeur d' Alene Kmart will close it's doors sometime around October with a store closing sale running for sometime before that. The building itself will likely be up for lease with no word, or even a hint yet as to what store or stores might replace it.

There is also a rumor that the East Sprague Kmart will appear soon on a store closure list. However this latest report indicates if it does it likely would remain in business at least till the end of 2017. The latest store closure list also includes some Sears stores but none in our area are affected.