Whidbey grower now offers organic seeds

Gardeners will have a new source for seeds cultivated to thrive in Whidbey’s climate. Deep Harvest Farm located on South Whidbey Island is offering a varieties of organic vegetable seeds at Bayview Farm and Garden located in Langley.

Chamber honors Coupeville’s business stars

Coupeville Chamber of Commerce honored several members Feb. 6 during its annual awards banquet. The big winner of the night was Dan Miranda and Front Street Grill, which won Business of the Year.

Michelle Martin

Oak Harbor Kmart closing doors in late April

Oak Harbor’s Kmart is closing its doors for good in late April, according to a company spokesman. Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holding Corp, said a total of 68 employees, mostly part-time and hourly workers, will lose their jobs. And another commercial property will sit empty in the city.

Michelle Martin
Connie Arroyos of Whidbey Party Store hurries to prepare a Seahawks balloon bouquet Jan. 29 in Oak Harbor.

Boost in business: Seahawks’ presence has made this no ordinary Super Bowl for stores looking to meet demand

Connie Arroyos couldn’t fill the balloons fast enough. Just moments after she completed her balloon bouquet, it was snatched up. But it wasn’t just any bouquet. Most anything blue and green has disappeared fast at the Whidbey Party Store in Oak Harbor this week in preparations for Super Bowl XLVIII. Any Super Bowl matchup is traditionally a popular occasion for a party. But with the Seattle Seahawks involved Sunday, the impact has been felt at the cash registers of retail outlets on Whidbey Island.

Connie Arroyos of Whidbey Party Store hurries to prepare a Seahawks balloon bouquet Jan. 29 in Oak Harbor.

Nominations sought for Coupeville chamber awards

Coupeville Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for our 2014 Excellence In Business Awards, sponsored by Whidbey Island Bank. Categories are: Business of The Year, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Business Leadership and Lifetime Achievement Award. Winners of the 2013 Excellence In Business Awards were: Business of The Year: Whidbey Island Bank; Entrepreneurial Spirit: Lavender Wind; Business Leadership: Janice Vaughan; Lifetime Achievement: Coupeville Festival Association.

Navy beefs up OLF security; closes Maylor trail

More than 1,000 large cement blocks connected by thick cable are being installed around the perimeter of the Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville.

Coupeville couple catches restaurant

Years toiling in the restaurant industry paid off for one Coupeville chef. Tyler Hansen, who recently moved to Whidbey Island, is the new owner of the Oystercatcher, a cozy little bistro located in downtown Coupeville.

Wifi zone goes live in downtown Coupeville

Visitors to downtown Coupeville can now access the Internet free of charge. A free wifi zone was created by the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association with financial partnership with Allstate Insurance and Town of Coupeville. The zone encompasses the downtown corridor from Coupeville Inn to Main Street and down onto the wharf. CWHA started the project earlier last year and has been working to find the best system for the project.

Ebey Bowl back in action with new partnership

After taking a break, Ebey Bowl is back in action. The bowling alley was closed for about a month, and re-opened mid-October. On Sept. 22, Traci Wisdom received a phone call from Matt Iverson and Mimi Johnson, the siblings who own Ebey Bowl. They asked her if she wanted to become a partner. The siblings own an Allstate Insurance Company branch in Oak Harbor as well. Between the business in Oak Harbor and the bowling alley, they were not getting to spend as much time with their families, Wisdom said.

Minimum wage in Washington raises in 2014

Washington’s minimum wage will increase to $9.32 per hour beginning Jan. 1. The state department of labor and industries calculates the state’s minimum wage each year as required by Initiative 688. The 13-cent-per-hour increase, from $9.19 to $9.32 an hour, reflects a 1.455 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI‑W) over the last 12 months ending August 31.

Owner Vanda Coleman shows off a dance outfit at Fantasia Boutique

Oak Harbor shop offers dance clothes, practice wear and more

Business owner Vanda Coleman is dancing her way to a new location in downtown Oak Harbor. Her store, Fantasia Boutique, moved to 665 Southeast Pioneer Way two weeks ago, and Coleman is excited to be there. “At the old location, we were upstairs and it wasn’t working,” Coleman said. “We wanted to make sure everyone could reach us.” The boutique supplies island residents with quality dance equipment, such as shoes, practice wear, performance outfits and more.

Owner Vanda Coleman shows off a dance outfit at Fantasia Boutique

Wild bird store is music to owners’ ears

As pretty as some birdhouses go, the ones that make Mike Dessert cuckoo are those outfitted with a tiny stick poking out of the front. “If you ever see a birdhouse that has a perch, it’s not a real birdhouse,” Dessert said. “You don’t find perches around cavity holes in the wild. There’s a reason for that. It’s so predatory birds don’t eat the young birds.

The orginial Koetje office on Pioneer way in 1942

Oak Harbor’s Koetje Real Estate celebrates 70th year

Koetje Real Estate has come a long way from its beginnings in 1942. After selling his Crescent Harbor farm to the Navy in 1940, Neil Koetje started the first real estate and insurance offices in Oak Harbor. After passing down through the family for more than 60 years, including long-time Oak Harbor mayor Al Koetje, the real estate business recently split and sold half of the agency to Rick Schutte, a broker with the agency since 1995.

The orginial Koetje office on Pioneer way in 1942

Puget Sound Energy hosts open house to celebrate five years in Freeland

Puget Sound Energy is celebrating its five-year anniversary of its office with an Energy Fair 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 1794 Main St., Freeland. Experts will be on hand to explain PSE’s rebates and incentives for improving energy efficiency in homes or businesses. Whidbey-based Energy Advisor Brian McCleary will be available to answer questions.

  • Sep 19, 2013
After 26 years as a flight attendant for American Airlines

Flight attendant gets lift from opening his own pet boutique in historic downtown Oak Harbor

Chris Reissner’s career in the airline industry is going to the dogs. The cats, too. After 26 years of traveling the world and living all over the country as a flight attendant for American Airlines, Reissner is hitting the brakes and settling into life as a small business owner in historic downtown Oak Harbor. In May, he opened the pet boutique, A Paw in Hand, on Pioneer Way.

After 26 years as a flight attendant for American Airlines

Store collects new owner

A new face is behind the counter of a Coupeville boutique. Oak Harbor resident Cheryl Nunn took over Collections Boutique last month from previous owner Rita Hart, who still works at the popular shop on a part-time basis.

Owner of chocolate-themed store in Langley ‘pulls them in by their nose’

At the store, people are drawn in by the wafting scent of chocolate in the air. Online, word-of-mouth has garnered a significant following around the world. Marie Lincoln, owner of the Chocolate Flower Farm in Langley, has developed a successful retail store, online product business and farm based on chocolate.

Third-generation gemologist Matt Fikse plans to take over the family business Gerald’s Jewelry when his parents retire.

Third-generation gem expert continuing a family tradition in Oak Harbor

Matt Fikse became a third-generation gemologist last month keeping with family tradition. Grandson of Gerald and Janet Fikse, founders of Gerald’s Jewelry on Midway Boulevard in 1958, Matt Fikse said he plans to take over the family business after his parents Dave and Jane Fikse retire. “I’m so proud to be a part of what my grandparents and parents have built,” Matt Fikse said. “It will be an honor to carry on the tradition they have been known and respected for.”

Third-generation gemologist Matt Fikse plans to take over the family business Gerald’s Jewelry when his parents retire.
Active-duty Navy volunteers Kaelyn Hall and Jenna Sowers arrange showroom furniture.

Oak Harbor habitat store big success for humanity

When Whitey Kirschenmann took over management of the Habitat Humanity Store in Oak Harbor six years ago, it was a sleepy business run by eight volunteers. Since then, the store has increased its revenue by five times and is run by an army of 107 volunteers. Paired with the income from its sister store in Freeland, Habitat for Humanity of Island County has built 36 homes on Whidbey and Camano islands.

Active-duty Navy volunteers Kaelyn Hall and Jenna Sowers arrange showroom furniture.

Port to consider cash machine at Coupeville Wharf

Visitors to downtown Coupeville might find an easier time trying to find a cash machine in the future. Officials for the Port of Coupeville are considering a plan to place an ATM on port property. The small port district received a proposal from Premier Merchants Group, based in Kearney, Neb., to place the cash machine in the breezeway of the Coupeville Wharf.