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We Have the ‘In-Cider’ Information

in Business Spotlight/Featured/Local Food
Liberty Lake cider production

Cider lovers can now breathe a ‘cider’ relief: The Trailbreaker Cider Tasting Room will be holding a soft opening towards the end of June with the anticipation of a hard opening in July.

Liberty Lake cider production
Multi-level seating and production viewing area

Co-owner, Trent Maier, is excited to finally be opening their new facility located on the corner of N. Madson Rd and E. Appleway in Liberty Lake. The cidery will have approximately 12 of their own ciders on tap in addition to beer, wine, and a great food menu where you’ll find some traditional German style foods such as brats and sausages, plus a salad bar. The owners may switch it up and offer a baked potato bar, taco bar or maybe even a mashed potato bar.

The facility has a large seating capacity and having multiple levels makes the floor plan very versatile to hold meetings, events and entertainment. The two-story seating space will accommodate every persons seating preference and the upper level offers great views of the entire production facility.

Maier states, “We plan on being open 7 days a week to start. We want to feel out the community. Our hope is to be open every day beginning at 11am to accommodate the lunch crowd and stay open later into the evening.”

Be sure to like their Facebook page and follow them for updates

Café 19 – A Hidden Gem in Liberty Lake

in Business Spotlight/Featured/Local Food
Cafe 19 salad bar
Bekka Weitman chef
Bekka Weitman, Café Chef

I’m happy to put an end to the rumor of Café 19 closing. As it turns out, Café 19 is not closing. As a matter of fact, they’ve hired Bekka Weitman as Café chef, and Bekka is excited about the future of the Café.

Owned by Tim Mitchell and Matt Logan of Mangia Catering Company, Café 19 is a cafeteria style café, who relies heavily on the honor system. Customers ring up their own food and beverages and cash out by paying with a credit or a debit card.

The café is open Monday – Friday from 7:30am to 10:00am for breakfast. Customers can choose from breakfast burritos, omelets, French toast, a breakfast combo, biscuits and homemade gravy or Sweetwater Bakery items.

Lunch is available from 10:30am – 1:30pm, where you can choose from a trip to the salad bar, deli bar or healthy snack hummus bar. But wait, there’s more!

The café also offers a variety of burgers, a quesadilla, chicken strips, and a few sandwich options including their newest mouthwatering addition, a crispy chicken and Belgian waffle sandwich with bacon, a spring mix and maple mustard.

Additionally, Café 19 offers Grab & Go items such as, chips, candy, cookies, Craven coffee and a large assortment of bottled and fountain beverages.

If you’re pressed for time or ordering for a large group and don’t want to wait, Café 19 invites you to log in and place your order online at

The café is located in the Liberty Lake Business Park at 22425 E. Appleway Ave. DOOR 19

From Shrub Monster to Dueling Squirrels – Screen Tek’s Foliage Saga

in Business Spotlight/Community Spotlight/Featured/Other News
Screen Tek shrub monster

It may have been the closest thing Liberty Lake ever came to Bigfoot.

When the Weeping Blue Spruce outside Screen Tek Inc. on Appleway began to take on a life of its own, longtime employees like Emily Synold recall bypassers stopping by to gawk. A co-worker had added a pair of giant googly eyes, transforming the massive shrub into a leafy version of the Abominable Snowman.

“We’d see people in the parking lot, taking pictures,” Synold said.

Screen Tek, a manufacturer of custom-made printed graphics, has called Liberty Lake home since 1988, six years after it was founded. Sybold said the company’s most recognizable plant “just kind of started to weep the wrong way.” A dense, sprawling version of the Evergreen Tree, the Weeping Blue Spruce is known for growing in a narrowly upright and columnar fashion. Screen Tek’s spruce was positioned just to the right of the main entrance, scaling over 10 feet and acting as a foreboding de facto gatekeeper.

“It was a novelty that was fun and kind of cute but you had to walk around it,” said Screen Tek co-owner Scott Mader who purchased the company last year with his wife Miesha. “We had customers that would have to duck to get in.”

Screen Tek squirrelsEarlier this year, the decision was made to retire Screen Tek’s most famous landscape landmark. Don Nelson of Tree Artistry in Otis Orchards, who trims the foliage around the Screen Tek property, transformed the tree into a carved piece of art featuring two squirrels scrambling for an acorn. The Screen Tek Inc. acronym, in patriotic red, white and blue, is also part of the design.

“It had really become too overgrown,” Mader said. “It had its time. Some folks wanted to keep it, others wanted it to come down. We were just more concerned about our customers scraping their heads.”

Synold, who has worked for Screen Tek since 1997, said the transition from shrub monster to dueling squirrels has been accepted in stride.

“There may have been some people who were a little sad that it went away but there was no protest or anything,” she said.

Mader said Liberty Lake’s rendition of a non-deciduous Sasquatch will be remembered fondly.

“After the eyeballs were added, people were like, ‘What’s the deal with this?’” he said. “It was just kind of this weird company mascot that will always be part of Screen Tek lore.”

A Space of Their Own – Liberty Lake Portal Offers Unique Rental Options

in Business Spotlight/Featured/Other News
Liberty Lake Portal building

Bill Mogauro may call Boston home – but the project manager with Agility Recovery has sparkling reviews for a building at the corner of Mission Avenue and Molter Road in Liberty Lake that has become a unique home to dozens of businesses.

Agility – which provides resilient recovery for companies facing everything from an earthquake to a break in a water main – has occupied space at the Liberty Lake Portal for over two years. Mogauro credits Portal General Manager Keith Kopelson and his staff for being “extremely intuitive in offering suggestions and going out of their way to help us achieve our goals.”

“Keith has probably been the best business manager I’ve ever worked with,” Mogauro said.

Portal common AreaThe Portal has been around since 2000 and grown in scope and visibility over the years. Originally known as the TierPoint Building, the site benefits from the TierPoint data center, located in the Portal’s basement. Mogauro first discovered the Portal through Agility’s connection with TierPoint.

“It started with cloud services and our partnership with TierPoint,” he said. “We learned there was office space available here.”

Mogauro says he appreciates the Portal’s centralized location between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, easy access to amenities and convenient features like a loading dock just off Agility’s office space. Expanded parking in the back of the building has also drawn positive reviews from tenants.

Office space at the Portal ranges from 100 square feet up to 4,000 square feet. Agility – which has sites in College Station, Texas and the Boston area, as well as a collection of mobile units – occupies a 1,450-square-foot office that Kopelson has tailored right down to the corporate colors in the break room.

“This is a very modern, well-situated facility,” Mogauro said. “For us, it couldn’t be more perfect in terms of accommodations.”

Keith Kopelson at Portal office
Portal General Manager, Keith Kopelson Contact Keith at 509-343-0103 or email

Kopelson, a former member of the Liberty Lake City Council and a successful entrepreneur, took over as the Portal’s general manager in January 2017. He greets occupants here by their first name and always with a genuine smile.

“I really like working here,” Kopelson says. “I like to make sure people are comfortable, whether it’s adding a wall here or taking a paint swab and adding corporate colors to a room.”

Kopelson’s flexible approach has been apparent recently with new, short-term rental options for conference rooms and executive suites. While Portal tenants still get first dibs on a space like the Mica Peak Room with capacity for 50, outside groups have been utilizing the room for events like a First Aid training. Mica Peak can be leased for $80 per hour at a minimum of two hours or $300 for six hours.

“Tenants get priority but we don’t bump people,” Kopelson said. “Once a space is booked, it’s booked.”

Portal board room
Board Room

A classy boardroom that comfortably seats a dozen is available for $40 an hour while rentals of traditional office space run $100 for four hours or $150 for eight hours. Two smaller executive suites can be reserved at $25 an hour for a minimum of three hours.

“Because our executive suites did so well, offering a temporary office made sense,” Kopelson said. “These are great if you work out of your home and are meeting a customer. You have people where it doesn’t make sense to have a permanent office, so this works out well.”

The temporary offices are fully furnished and include features like a desktop computer, large monitor and printer.

Kopelson notes that the Portal can be likened to an incubator space with tenants moving up the square footage ladder as their respective operations expand.

“As they grow, we get them into bigger offices,” he said.

Mica Peak Room
Liberty Lake Portal – Mica Peak Room


Liberty Lake Wine Cellars: Where great wine and good friends meet!

in Business Spotlight/Featured/Local Food
Liberty Lake Wine Cellars building

Since meeting in 2005, Mark and Sarah have dreamed of entrepreneurship and owning and operating a winery. That dream became reality in January 2016 when they purchased the Liberty Lake Wine Cellars (LLWC) from Doug and Shelly Smith.

In 2017 the couple moved the winery from its original home overlooking Liberty Lake to their newly built winery located in the heart of Liberty Lake. The new winery allows them to produce approximately 1500 more cases of wine than the previous location. It boasts a larger tasting room, production space, and barrel storage area.

Mark and Sarah have embraced an interactive winery with all wine production taking place on-site. Grapes are harvested in September and October, pressed in October and November and every bottle of wine is bottled by hand during the spring and summer months.

Since purchasing the winery, the couple has invested into upgrading their barrel program to primarily American made barrels with a very tight grain which act like French barrels. They’ve also made some changes to their Wine Club. Speaking of which, if you are interested in joining one of their three Wine Clubs, don’t hesitate. The Wine Clubs are approximately 150 people away from having a waiting list. Each Wine Club was named after the community: Lake Club, Eagle Club, and Pavillion Park Club.

Since opening, Mark and Sarah have enjoyed making big bold reds and have added a second label, Tahija, introducing whites, rosés, and other reds. Recently released and very well received are the 2016 Bud Burst Reserve Red Blend, 2014 Heritage Reserve Red Blend and the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. Upcoming releases include: 2016 Petit Verdot, 2016 Syrah, 2018 Tahija Dry Riesling, and 2018 Tahija Sangiovese Rose’

“Because we buy great Red Mountain fruit we can take a hands-off approach to winemaking, let the grapes do most of the talking, and focus on having a little fun,” comments Mark. “All of our wines (except one) are fermented to dryness (i.e. no residual sugar.) They are also vegan because we don’t find them with additives.”

Both Mark and Sarah love being a part of the community and enjoy offering and introducing extraordinary wines to inspire the palate of all who walk through their doors. Sarah states, “Liberty Lake is such a great community, so supportive of its citizens that we’ve had a lot of fun creating events for the community and partnering with various local organizations. We’re excited to do more.”

In addition to being a great place to enjoy a savory glass of wine and antipasto plate with friends and neighbors, the Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is also a fantastic place to hold private events: Milestone birthday parties, bridal showers, business meetings, etc. Mark and Sarah hold various events at the LLWC including Bottle Painting, Sign Making, an annual Liberty Lake Library Fundraiser, a Mother’s Day event, plus many more. You can view their scheduled events under the event tab on their webpage

As of April 01, 2019, Mark and Sarah expanded their hours to:

  • Wed, Thurs & Fri: 1pm-8pm
  • Sat & Sun: Noon – 5pm

Stop by and tastes the new releases or enjoy a glass of an old favorite.

InteGRITTY Fitness: “Changing lives, 45 minutes at a time!”

in Business Spotlight/Community Spotlight/Featured
InteGRITTY Fitness logo

Have you ever faced a task that seemed unmanageable or a point in your life where you just knew in your heart you couldn’t go on even one more step?

Business owner, Paul Miethe, is no stranger to feelings and situations that seemed insurmountable. At the age of 25, Paul had back surgery, which was almost the beginning of the end for him. He became horribly addicted to pain medications. Up until this point in his life he had never experimented with any type of drugs or marijuana. One could barely call him a casual or social drinker.

In no time at all, Paul fell deeper and deeper into addiction. He had worked at the URM for several years, had a solid work ethic and a great rapport with his employer. It wasn’t long before his employer became aware of his addiction and paid for him to enter into a treatment program after he was caught stealing pain killers out of a co-workers lunch box. He returned to work after completing the treatment program but his sobriety was short lived. Once again they sent him into a treatment center but Paul just couldn’t stay sober.

Pain medications were no longer giving him the feelings he was looking for. Pain medication turned into heroin, heroin to meth, and so on. He was now addicted to intravenous drugs. His addiction went on for approximately ten years.

Paul lost everything in his life that meant anything to him: his marriage and career of 13 years, his relationship with his children, every element of trust with every person in his life prior to his addiction and every moral and ethical belief he had. He lied, cheated and stole so much that even his closest family and friends were afraid to be around him. He became suicidal and hopeless.

Paul wasn’t able to keep a job because he was consistently fired for stealing. He slept in his 1996 Ford Explorer until he signed it over to his drug dealer for drugs. Then, a family member allowed him to sleep in their pop-up camper on the property of a close family friend, but that didn’t last long. He broke into their home and stole from them while they were out of town and was kicked out of the camper and off of their property. At this point, he was truly homeless and spent a few weeks on the streets sleeping in parking lots and under trees.

During this time, Paul made several attempts at recovery and had brief stints of sobriety. He continued to car prowl and steal in order to stay loaded. At this point, he was wallowing in self-pity and had given up on himself. He didn’t believe in his heart he’d ever change and he truly thought he’d die a drug addict. Each time he’d enter treatment his body would go through physical withdrawals. “I felt like my skin was crawling. I was puking. I had uncontrollable sweats and terrible body aches,” said Miethe. “Meth cured me from opiate withdrawals but now I had that monkey on my back.”

Paul’s family stopped enabling him early on, but they never gave up on him. After completing his 8th round of treatment, Paul moved into the Oxford House in Spokane, WA, a home for “clean and sober living, ” where he resided for 6 months. During this time he was able to stay off drugs but was still drinking and pretending to be fully sober for the people who ran the house. During this same time, he met his now wife, Krystal. He fell in love with her immediately. Within a few short months, the power of addiction had hijacked him again. Krystal begged him to go back into treatment. He doubted himself and the ability of the treatment center to help him, after all, he’d been in 8 times before. This time something different happened.

On March 28, 2013, Paul entered his 9th and final treatment center. Upon entering the center, he met a counselor who talked straight to him, “You are an addict and will die an addict. You want somebody else to fix you,” said the little older gentleman. Those words hit Paul deep inside. He went through their 30-day program and immediately went to an AA meeting the day he was released. He found a sponsor, became very active in the program, worked the 12 steps to the best of his ability and has continued ever since. To this day, he still attends weekly meetings.

Shortly afterward, Paul found a newfound strength in fitness. He lost over 130 pounds and has kept it off for over four years. He and Krystal were married, they adopted a child and had a child of their own. He sponsors several men and supports them on their journey of sobriety.

In 2017 Paul opened InteGRITTY Fitness in Liberty Lake. While waiting for his gym to open, Paul taught fitness lessons in the park free of charge for nearly 3 months. Since the doors opened in November 2017, enrollment has exceeded 300 members. “InteGRITTY Fitness is unlike any other gym out there. We have created a unique environment. It’s like one big family. We are the “Cheers” of gyms, where everybody knows your name…We have fun and truly enjoy our workouts but we also produce results unlike any other gym out there. It’s a special thing,” states Paul. “Whether you are a 19-year-old Rugby player getting ready for the season or a 74-year-old grandmother trying to lose 10 pounds, you will feel just as comfortable.”

InteGritty Fitness is quickly becoming known to many as “a place of healing.” They offer 45-minute classes every hour. Additionally, they have a staffed, beautifully decorated and well stocked Kids Zone. “We wanted to provide a gym where parents could bring their children and be able to get an awesome workout without having to worry about their kiddos!”

Paul states, “Hitting rock bottom forced me to a level of self-examination that I don’t believe most people have the privilege of seeing. I had to tear apart every old idea, every belief, every value and every single element of who I am. There was not one relationship that I didn’t do damage to. I’ve since gotten to make amends thanks to the miraculous teachings of the 12 steps of AA. But the fact of the matter is that I will be repairing broken relationships until I draw my last breath.” He wants every person struggling with any type of addiction to know, “You can’t do it alone…It’s a cunning, baffling and powerful disease and you have to find a higher power. Something or someone bigger than you. You have to work at it every day.”

The staff at InteGRITTY Fitness can’t say enough great things about Paul and what he’s brought to the community. One member of the coaching staff states, “You have to watch him coach. He is truly amazing!” Another states, “Where he’s been, what he’s accomplished and what he does for people is so inspiring.”

InteGRITTY Fitness offers a one week free trial to everybody. They are located at 22820 E Appleway Ave STE B in Liberty Lake. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Snow Eater Brewing Coming Soon to Liberty Lake

in Business Spotlight/Featured/Local Food
Snow Eater Brewery in Liberty Lake

If you’re a fan of beer, you are about to have another choice when one of the Inland Northwest’s newest breweries opens in Liberty Lake this fall. The building for Snow Eater Brewing Company is currently under construction at 2325 N. McKenzie Lane in the industrial area. Erin Whitney, who owns Snow Eater with her husband Richard Whitney, says an official opening date hasn’t been set yet but is coming soon.

“If we don’t hit any more roadblocks it will be the end of September,” she said. “But more likely in October.”

Under federal law, the Whitneys can’t make beer in a different location so the race is on to get the roof on the building and brewing started. As a result, they plan to open with only three or four beers and introduce others later until they are up to speed with a full menu of ten beers. Whitney describes Snow Eater’s offerings as “big and full bodied” with most having over 6% alcohol.

Richard Whitney has been making beer for several years, despite having a full time job in the Tri Cities. Erin Whitney also works full time there so the two have been commuting to Liberty Lake to manage construction on the business.

“My husband has been a home brewer for nine years,” said Whitney. “He’s a pilot and he’s been flying for twenty years but we just decided the opportunity was there to make this into a business.”

It was Richard’s occupation that led to the name of the business.

“We were trying to find something that was very northwest. Wind came up because my husband is a pilot,” said Whitney. “We thought about Chinook but that’s already been taken. The nickname for the Chinook wind is snow eater.”

The company’s logo, which features a bear in the center, grew from that.

“We expanded upon the Snow Eater name with Native American culture, to go with the northwest theme again. There’s a pretty significant story about the bear and the wind, so that’s how we appropriated the bear for our logo.”

According to internet research, the story goes that one winter thousands of years ago drug on and on as the people waited for the annual warm Chinook winds to melt the snow and ice. Winter lasted so long that wood and food grew scarce and people were starving. A young boy took several animal friends to look for the winds. They found a bear in a den who had stolen the winds to keep him warm all winter. The boy waited for the bear to go to sleep then set the wind free. By the time the boy returned to his village, the snow and ice were already melting. And that is why bears hibernate through the winter and don’t come out until the weather is warm.

As for why the Whitneys are building in Liberty Lake and not the Tri Cities where they work, Erin Whitney said it came down to where they want to be full time. She is from the Seattle area and the couple have been living in the Tri Cities about eight years but decided they didn’t want to make that their permanent home.

“We’re trees and mountain people,” Whitney said.

So they started looking around the northwest and discovered Liberty Lake.

“We learned about the town and visited and kind of fell in love with the town. And we found out it didn’t have a brewery, which is unheard of.”
The Whitneys plan to employ a brew master and at least three other people. Their original plan didn’t include having a food menu but instead utilizing food trucks. That plan is up in the air at this point.

“Liberty Lake currently has a ban on food trucks so, along with the winery (Liberty Lake Wine Cellars) we’re hoping to work with the city to change that,” Whitney said. “If we can’t, we’ll do what we have to do.”

Once those kind of details are worked out, the Whitneys are planning a big opening celebration and hoping to coordinate with other new businesses like Liberty Lake Wine Cellars and the Trailbreaker Cider Tasting Room that is also currently under construction.

“In this industry, it’s kind of the more, the merrier. If we can create a destination, people will come. I think all three of us are super excited.”
While nothing has been decided yet, the three businesses have tossed around the idea of a Liberty Lake crawl or something similar. Whitney says the entire Liberty Lake community has been extremely supportive so far.

“Everyone has been so incredibly nice.”

New Cider Tasting Room Coming to Liberty Lake

in Business Spotlight/Featured/Local Food
Trailbreaker Cider in Liberty Lake

Liberty Lake is seeing a surge in food and beverage businesses, with another new option on the horizon; the city is about to get a cider tasting room. The Trailbreaker Cider tasting room and production facility building is currently under construction at the corner of Appleway Avenue and Madson Street.

“We’re hoping to be open later this year,” said Trent Maier, one of Trailbreaker’s owners. “The primary focus for us right now is to get production moved from Pullman.”

Maier co-owns Trailbreaker with his brother-in-law Brian Augdahl. Both of their wives are also heavily involved, and have been since they started the cider business seven years ago in Pullman under the name Whiskey Barrel Cider Company. They found out a couple years ago they would be forced out of that location and started to look for a new home.

“The building that we owned down there was purchased by the local airport as part of their expansion,” said Maier.

The team knew they wanted to continue their business but weren’t sure initially where to do that.

Trailbreaker Cider Building“The Spokane area was kind of targeted as to where we were moving to. We looked at Spokane, we looked at Coeur d’Alene. We sell a lot of our product in Coeur d’Alene so it bridges a gap quite literally from Coeur d’Alene to Spokane to have it located in Liberty Lake,” said Maier. “And then there were the opportunities in terms of land that came available. We thought they were pretty good values in Liberty Lake.”

While cider production was stopped a while back due to the lack of a facility to do it, Maeir says they plan to use the move to Liberty Lake to their advantage with a new name, new branding and new products.

When the production end of the business moves into its new facility, Trailbreaker plans to market not only ciders, but also juice.
“The whole thing really starts and ends with fresh juice.”

The company produces its own juice that is blended with fermented cider to make hard ciders, but discovered there is also a market for the fresh juice.
“We hope to develop that end of production to sell in grocery stores. We used to have people who don’t drink alcohol come in and get growlers filled with juice. And for kids.”

A marketing emphasis will also be put on the gluten-free aspect of cider.

“Two of the four of us (owners) have gluten-related health issues,” said Maier. “That trend hadn’t really started seven years ago when we started the company but while in Pullman, we catered to the gluten- free crowd with our hard cider.”

Trailbreaker will also offer beer and wine for those who prefer it, and food.

“We’re going to go with a German-themed restaurant modeled after a German restaurant in Leavenworth called Munchen Haus.”
The restaurant will also offer outdoor seating, be open for weekday lunches to serve the local business community, and on weekends for those looking for a social gathering place, as well as event space.

“It’s hopefully a fun place to do some events,” said Maier. “Bigger events than what has been able to be done in the area before.”

That could be a little while in the future though. Maier is just trying to get his building up at this time and start producing cider again. As a way to expedite that, he and his brother-in-law Augdahl are serving as the general contractor on the project. Maier says he is doing a lot of the actual construction as he has more available time than Augdahl.

“I also do most of the cider operation because they all still have full time jobs,” he said, “That’s my job right now.”
As for a schedule, it is uncertain at this time when Trailbreaker Cider will open but a soft opening is planned, followed by a grand opening and ribbon cutting with the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“I think everybody would love to see that tasting room get open before the holidays hit but as soon as we can is the theme,” Maier said. “Stay tuned, I think, is the message right now.”

If you are anxious for the new tasting room to open, you can follow Trailbreaker Cider’s progress on Instagram at @trailbreakercider and on Facebook at

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