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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Dirt:Ninja Nation begins remodel to open Spokane franchise

A former contestant on American Ninja Warrior and his wife have begun remodeling a former Huppin’s retail store on North Division that will become the first Ninja Nation franchise in the area.

Sarah Matousek and her husband, Dr. Alexi Matousek, a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, have already demolished the inside of what had been the showroom for Wipliance, which last year purchased the building from Huppin’s.

That family business, led by Murray Huppin, moved to the North Division location in 2013 after Huppin’s operated for 60 years at 421 W. Main Ave., in downtown Spokane.

Sarah Matousek said she and her husband hope to have the remodel, of more than 12,000-square-feet of interior, started later this month.

“The latest we hope to open would be early January, but we are hoping for sooner than that,” she said.

The building is flanked by a T-Mobile store on the north and Pawn 1 North Division on the South.

“Ninja Nation has a specific format for how they fill their spaces,” Matousek said.

Around the main floor, plans call for building spaces to house birthday parties that will surround a series of large obstacles that are designed to offer a range of difficulty. Some will be appropriate for 5-year-old beginners all the way up to advanced adults, she said.

The design will allow crews to switch out certain obstacles inside the building, she said.

One standing feature will be a curved, 14 foot wall that allows participants to run up, grab the top and pull themselves up, she said.

The work is being designed by architect Joey Clark with Naos Design Group, based in Denver. The expected cost of the remodel was estimated at about $500,000.

Matousek said they have not yet selected a contractor for the project even though the demolition has begun.

“They are taking the whole thing down,” she said of the building’s interior. “The space was quite beautiful. It had been used to display home theaters. We are making it a blank space so a contractor can put up walls and the obstacles.”

Wipliance moving to Spokane Valley

The company that vacated the “beautiful” space for Ninja Nation has already started building it’s replacement location in Spokane Valley.

Wipliance owner Lee Travis, who purchased the former Huppin’s location last year, said he hopes to open his new showroom in September at 12410 E. Mirabeau Parkway in Spokane Valley.

Wipliance transitioned the North Division store into an appointment-only venue where consumers can come view a range of custom installation home theater systems and other products.

The new venue in Spokane Valley will also partner with Huntwood Custom Cabinets and other vendors to show off their best items, Travis said.

“They’ll get to see this amazing vestibule area, outdoor area, kitchen, family room and theater,” he said. “They’ll also get a tour of our operations and test equipment.”

Travis said the new location will also make it easier for a wider range of clients.

“Division (Street) is good for North Spokane, but not for Post Falls, Liberty Lake and Coeur d’Alene,” he said. “We moved to this (new) location because it’s more convenient.”

Health clinics for Shadle, North Central

Spokane Public Schools is seeking permits from the city to remodel areas in Shadle Park and North Central high schools to add health clinics in each school, said Greg Forsyth, the director of capital projects for the district.

“We are partnering with CHAS (Health) for our students,” Forsyth said.

Plans call for remodeling existing break rooms into small clinics that will have exam, reception and work areas. Forsyth said the clinics will not function like urgent cares within the school.

“It’s not for setting broken arms,” he said. “It’s more of a health clinic to direct them, if they have a problem, where to go to get help.”

District officials hope the health clinics will provide an opportunity for students whose parents either can’t afford health care or who don’t know where to get those services.

“It’s kind of a walk-in clinic for our students,” Forsyth said.

If the permitting process goes well, officials hope to have clinics open in both high schools open by early 2024.