By Chris Hendrickson, special to the Monitor
Carolyn Eslick is going back into business at The Dutch Cup.
Only now she won’t be running a restaurant. Instead, she’ll move the Sultan GROW Washington store there, as it is a larger space than the current location, in an effort to accommodate further economic development for local retail business owners.
The 6,500 square-foot Dutch Cup Restaurant building has been closed for over a year. GROW Washington has confirmed a lease agreement with the current owner of the building and will begin the process of moving from their current Main Street location within the next two weeks.
Sultan residents may notice the bustle of activity as GROW members begin readying the former social hub, focusing first on cleaning up the outside of the building and then proceeding inside. The Dutch Cup restaurant signs will be removed this week, with GROW members bidding a final farewell to the trademark windmill affixed to the front of the building.
The grand opening will be pending the completion of the cleanup activities, the inventory transfer from GROW’s current location, and the Snohomish County inspection and permit process.
“The move is a great opportunity for the GROW Washington retail and business incubator because it also has a commercial kitchen to be rented to start-up entrepreneurs,” explains Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick, Founder and Director of GROW.
GROW Washington is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting in the establishment and growth of local product-based small businesses. GROW was started in Snohomish with the Snohomish store, which opened in 2010. Experiencing success and recognizing the need to support more local entrepreneurs, GROW expanded to include a store in Sultan, located at 403 Main St. The grand opening of the Sultan store took place in November of 2012.
In addition to marketing opportunities, free publicity, internet representation including website evaluations, referral benefits, access to funding, and an affordable storefront to display products, GROW offers many classes and workshops to assist business owners in all aspects of running their business. Classes include such topics as new business orientation, product development, taxes and working with the Department of Revenue, marketing skills, money management, and interviewing techniques.
In addition to the retail space needed to create and display their products, entrepreneurs are given access to a host of tools to help them grow and build their businesses. Through GROW, small business owners become part of a business-growing community, and are able to work together to increase their success.
Visiting the storefront on a Saturday afternoon, the shop is being managed by two GROW entrepreneurs. Once a business owner goes through the application process and becomes a member of GROW, they are asked to volunteer a minimum of twice a month to assist in managing the store. They are able to use the time to develop their products, work on promoting their businesses, and take care of any walk-in customers and subsequent sales.
Kathy Cotterill, owner of Haywire Ridge Jewelry, has just finished assisting Mary Pitts, owner of Sky Valley Outdoors, in creating a custom brochure which will highlight her products and services. This is a key aspect of one of the benefits that GROW offers to entrepreneurs; being independent, yet still part of a team.
“Just being an individual, it would be a lot harder to go to another business owner for help and have the open communication the way we do here,” said Pitts.
A member of GROW since December of last year, Pitts has found great value in the education offered.
“Even if you’ve been in business before, or have been in business forever, you’ll still learn something,” she stated.
“Carolyn is an incredible instructor,” she added.
Cotterill, a recent member of GROW, has been creating one-of-a-kind jewelry for eight years, and is in the process of implementing a new system for tracking her inventory. Not only can she use the retail space to create, display and organize her products, but also for her instructional jewelry-making courses which she offers twice a month.
GROW membership within the Sultan chapter currently features 20 vendors offering products like hand-made scarves, jewelry, fishing bait and tackle gear, art, candles, small garden arrangements and more.
The store is an eclectic collection of products crafted by local merchants, including edible items such as handmade candy by Maggie Torza of Miss Maggie’s Desserts. Torza will be the first to use the commercial kitchen at the new location, and her pastries will soon be available on a daily basis.
The GROW store is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will soon be located at 927 U.S. 2 in Sultan.
For more information about becoming a member of GROW, or to learn how to support GROW, please visit the website: http://www.growwashingto