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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Dirt: Natural Grocers to fill former Hastings location on South Hill

By Amy Edelen and Nicholas Deshais The Spokesman-Review

Natural Grocers is coming to Spokane’s South Hill, according to city permit data.

The health food chain that sells organic food and produce will take the space formerly occupied by the Hastings Entertainment store, 2512 E. 29th Ave., near the intersection of 29th Avenue and Southeast Boulevard.

Permits for $820,000 in work have been filed and are under review by the city, but if the store opens, it will join the other Natural Grocers in the area: 4603 N. Division St. in Spokane, and 222 W. Neider Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.

The company was founded in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1955 as a door-to-door sales business by Margaret and Philip Isely. According to the Colorado alternative newspaper, Westword, the Iselys then began what was originally called Vitamin Cottage after Margaret Isely became chronically ill and became interested in the growing field of supplements and health food.

Ahead of its time, the store focused on organic, local food and the practice of butchering and using the whole animal. The Isley family meals were filled with tongue, heart, liver and other offal after the prime cuts were taken to sell at the store.

The store name changed to Natural Grocers in 2008 to highlight its grocery selling and move away from vitamins. – N.D.

Former Knight’s Diner undergoing renovations

The former Knight’s Diner, now under new ownership, is undergoing renovations to upgrade its kitchen and add a food prep area.

Fettig Five LLC, whose principals include George Fettig – an early owner of several Zip’s Drive-In locations – filed plans in August to renovate the former diner at 2909 N. Market St., according to permits filed with the city.

Fettig Five LLC purchased the site for $100,000 in July, according to the Spokane County Assessor’s Office.

The Spokane Historic Preservation Office approved plans to extend a portion of the 657-square-foot Pullman rail car to accommodate a new kitchen and add a 1907 Northern Pacific caboose to house a food prep area.

Fettig Five LLC also indicated plans to modify the interior seating configuration of the original rail car, to remove a section of the counter area and add booths, rehabilitate windows, repaint the exterior as well as add handicap ramps and a door.

Coeur d’Alene-based Chris & Pat Inc. is the project contractor.

Knight’s Diner closed in July after more than 37 years of serving breakfast and lunch in north Spokane. Owner Vicki Green told The Spokesman-Review in July the restaurant would be purchased by a well-known local investor who will continue to serve breakfast at the diner, but with a different menu.

Permits filed with the city did not specify the restaurant concept. Fettig did not respond to a request for comment.

The rail car that housed Knight’s Diner is on Spokane’s Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1906 and served the Northern Pacific Railroad as car number 988 on the “Yellowstone Park Line” before it was retired to the Northern Pacific Yards in Spokane Valley, according to a historic register nomination document.

The car was pressed into service as a classroom for soldiers during World War II.

Jack Knight, a former headwaiter at the Davenport Hotel, purchased it for $600 in 1949 and hired Beadmore Transfer to move the rail car to Division and Jackson streets. He renovated the interior into counters and stools and opened Knight’s Diner in 1949.

Knight operated the diner for five years. Ownership of the diner changed hands several times before the Greens purchased it in 1982 and moved the rail car to its current location in the early 1990s. – A.E.

Spokane Housing Authority renovating building on Nora Avenue

The Spokane Housing Authority is embarking on a $1.2 million renovation of a building it purchased last year on Nora Avenue, according to permits issued by the city.

The office renovation of the Nora building, 25 W. Nora Ave., will bring many changes to the 19,000-square-foot, two-story building and its basement, including new interior walls and an outdoor patio. The building is two blocks from SHA’s headquarters at 55 W. Mission Ave.

Spokane Housing Authority was created in 1972 by the city of Spokane to provide housing assistance to the region. The group serves Spokane, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Whitman counties, and provides assistance to more than 5,500 low-income families through tenant-based rental assistance and SHA-managed apartment communities.

SHA purchased the building, which was called the Atlantic Professional Building, in July 2018 for $1.86 million.

The work was designed by ZBA Architecture, of Spokane. – N.D.

Contact Nicholas Deshais at (509) 459-5440 of

Amy Edelen may be reached at (509) 459-5581 or at

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