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

The Dirt: Bar and bagel shop opening downtown

Opening on Monday, a new downtown bagel shop is putting a unique turn on the age-old business model.

The Bagel Authority at the southwest corner of Lincoln Street and Riverside Avenue specializes in steamed bagels and bagel sandwiches – the only such kind of bagel shop in Spokane according to its owner Brett Hendren.

“We’re the only one that I know of,” he said.

Contrary to a toasted bagel, steamed bagels have a different texture, he said. “Steaming gives it a really fresh taste and a slightly doughy feeling.”

Hendren was first exposed to steamed bagels in Moscow during his studies at the University of Idaho. Called Moscow Bagel and Deli, the shop offers steamed bagels which he cannot believe has not expanded to Spokane yet.

“We’re taking that concept and bringing it over here,” he said. “I always felt like we needed one here because I enjoyed it all throughout college.”

The Spokane bagel shop will also feature four beer taps and a bar specializing in brunch drinks like mimosas and bloody marys.

After working as a staffing manger for 30 years at companies, including Amazon and Boeing, Hendren acquired his affinity for the restaurant industry when he owned Wild Dogs. That downtown bar served gourmet hot dogs but closed last year.

Ahead of the grand opening, Hendren already has plans to open one new location every year for the next 5 years.

“That’s what I think the area can hold,” he said his next location will be in North Spokane. “Then hopefully Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Post Falls.”

HomeGoods expanding

The discount home goods store will open Saturday in the old Shopko building in North Spokane.

The location at 9520 N. Newport Highway is north of Holland Avenue and south of the highway near Muv Spokane and Best Buy. The company has an existing store in Spokane Valley.

HomeGoods Inc., a nationwide company off-price retailer, sells furniture, decorative accessories, kitchen and dining goods, bedding and more at 20%-60% below major retailers, according to a company news release.

The company manages to sell at lower prices by buying products from other retailers that they have canceled or overstocked or during a closeout deal when a vendor wants to clear merchandise at the end of a season, the statement said.

“With a large variety of merchandise from around the world, customers will always find thrilling values in our treasure hunt shopping experience,” John Ricciuti, president of HomeGoods, said in the release

At about 27,030 square feet, the remodeled Spokane warehouse will employ about 65 full and part-time employees.

HomeGoods operates about 900 stores across the country.

Spokane Bins moves

Spokane Bins has moved to a larger space at 5320 E Sprague Ave. in Spokane Valley across from Costco.

The retail store operates an unconventional business model in which it sells items that were liquidated by major retailers like Amazon and Target.

Either because they are damaged, returned by the customers or overstocked, the items are sold on the open market to companies that bundle the items and ship them to stores like Spokane Bin.

The Spokane store receives around 26 pallets about every six weeks, according to the store’s co-owner, Michelle Boston.

The items are placed in large bins for customers to dig through to find what they want. The contents of the bins decrease in price every day starting at $13 on Saturday and they decrease to nearly $1 by Wednesday.

After first hearing of the new shopping experience, Boston and her sister Sharon McConnell wanted to experience it for themselves but found no such stores within a reasonable driving distance.

This sparked an idea between the sisters.

“We realized this must be a pretty bare market,” Boston said. “We saw people find crazy stuff in these bins on social media so we really wanted to go to one and we were sure other people would, too.”

Soon after, the two opened their first location at 14 E. Mission Ave. in February of last year.

Before opening the store, McConnell worked as a manager in the cleaning industry and Michelle worked as a social worker specializing in mental health therapy.

“We’ve never owned a business before,” Michelle said. The first location “was very much a closet in an alley with bad parking.”

Despite the poor location, the two found immediate success.

“We did great right away and we thought we were going to be millionaires,” Michelle said.

But their immediate success was short lived as it entered the summer, which she said is the slow season in the retail industry.

“We realized the model works and now we have reliable suppliers and demand,” she said.