Client Success Stories

AENEAS VALLEY, Wash.— The Aeneas Valley Country Store near milepost 11 is the only business along a remote 18-mile country road just south of the Canadian border that connects Highway 20 to the north and Highway 21 to the south. “We want to make that 18 miles feel like one block,” said Doug Isler, who … Read more

MOUNT VERNON, Wash.—For a dozen years, chocolatier Karen Neugebauerhas been perfecting her craft while running her own small business, Forte Chocolates. “Chocolate doesn’t back down,” she said from her production kitchen on Riverside Drive in Mount Vernon. That means chocolate is a fantastic medium for a self-described “control freak” who loves both science and art. … Read more

EPHRATA, Wash.–When a healthcare provider in a small town retires, patients are often left scrambling for care, either doing without or traveling long distances to find new providers. Fortunately, when Dr. Bill Davis, one of three chiropractors in Ephrata, retired after 36 years in practice, Dr. Tashauna Devine was able to take over the practice … Read more

OLYMPIA, Wash.—If only owning a day spa were as restful as being a patron at one. When clients walk into Ballaura Wellness Spa in Olympia, they are greeted by the warm, modern farmhouse look of whitewashed brick and shiplap walls, wood flooring, and blue and pink upholstered furniture. The peaceful, serene feeling created by the … Read more

Grandview, Wash.—David Ruelas was working in agricultural fields near his home in Sunnyside, following in the footsteps of his parents and older brother, when a door opened and he became an apprentice to a diesel mechanic in Yakima. Within a year, at age 21, he was a lead mechanic at the shop. The 45-minute drive … Read more

BELLINGHAM, Wash.—When cases of COVID-19 started emerging in the United States, Washington state was the epicenter of the emerging public health and economic disaster. When Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued his Stay Home, Stay Safe order in mid-March, Andi Vann, owner of Pure Bliss Desserts, was alarmed, but not panicked. February had been their biggest … Read more

EDMONDS, Wash. — Traveling abroad six years ago, Kris and Kali Kelnero encountered canned cocktails and thought, “we could do that.” After years of work and planning, the couple opened Kelnero cocktail bar in downtown Edmonds in February 2019 and, eight months later, contacted business advisor Janet Toth for help with their next step: Kelnero … Read more

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Running an adult family home in South King County is a long way from handling HR issues at the largest bank in Kenya, but Catherine Kamau says the StartZone program at Highline College helped her realize an opportunity of a lifetime: owning her own business. StartZone helps South King County residents … Read more

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Nurturing young children and their community of families has been a calling for Melissa Gillaspy since at least 2008, when she and her husband, Jacob, “fell in love with and remodeled” a charming building in a pastoral setting into Jack and Jill’s House Preschool. But when the Covid-19 pandemic closed the school … Read more