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Matt Dolan moves on

Matt Dolan, the former wine steward at the specialty grocery store Rocket Market on Spokane’s South Hill, has a new gig.

He’s managing Petunias Marketplace, where he’s organizing and hosting wine-and-food pairing events as well as selling wine and specialty foods, including house-made chocolates. Soon, he’ll also be roasting for Mutu Coffee Roasters, a certified organic and fair trade roastery in Spokane, which is moving into the shop.

Dolan’s friends, Russell and Tammy Fleming, own Mutu and recently purchased Petunias. The couple bought the business in early June, and Dolan started working there July 1. He’s managing the shop and putting in sweat equity toward ownership. After a year, he said, he’ll become a third partner in both the coffee company and specialty foods market.

Dolan said he loved working at Rocket but, “I was looking to grow and expand.”

Dolan had worked at Rocket for seven and a half years. His Friday night wine classes, started in the late 1990s when the shop opened, regularly sold out.

Rocket will continue to host the popular Friday night wine workshops. The shop’s new wine steward is Andrew Hansen, a former wine rep for Cru Selections. He’s got “very deep knowledge of the beer world,” said Rocket owner Alan Shepherd, noting, “Everything will proceed as usual – wine classes, wine club – plus, he wants to get deeper into the beer world. We are also considering doing a highly curated selection of liquor.”

Meantime, Mutu Coffee Roasters is in the process of moving from the South Hill to Petunias, which is on the North Side.

Petunias will also specialize in fresh, house-made pasta – regular as well as gluten free – as well as wine and beer pairing events and weekend supper clubs.

“We’ve got some cool events coming,” Dolan said.

Beer and wine events will be weekly – likely Saturdays, Dolan said. Supper club dinners will be offered Saturday and Sunday once a month. The first one is planned for mid August.

Dolan also plans to widen its selection of local and regional honey as well as specialty products, such as jams and jellies.

Petunias Marketplace is at 210 N. Madison St. Call (509) 328-4257. On the web: petuniasmarket.com.