Small Business Awards finalists include Issaquah entrepreneurs

September 27, 2011

Issaquah companies specializing in iconic root beer floats and pan-Pacific shipping earned spots as finalists in the inaugural King County Executive’s Small Business Awards.

Trans-NET Inc., a shipping company focused on Far East ports in Russia, is nominated in the Exporting Small Business of the Year category. Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in is up for Minority Small Business of the Year.

“Those are two very diverse businesses,” Issaquah Chamber of Commerce CEO Matthew Bott said. “One does niche shipping to Russia and one does burgers and fries and nostalgia. It shows that we have some really unique stories behind our local businesses.”

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Artist re-creates favorite downtown landmarks in handmade postcards

September 13, 2011

Jane Garrison, Issaquah landscaping architect, displays her hand-drawn postcards of downtown landmarks. By Tom Corrigan

Downtown Issaquah isn’t necessarily related to Jane Garrison’s duties as a docent for the Issaquah History Museums at the Gilman Town Hall Museum.

Still, it seems appropriate that Garrison can speak happily and fluently about the background of various downtown buildings and landmarks.

“I love downtown Issaquah. I love the buildings,” said the talkative and friendly Garrison, 70.

With an architectural landscaping business of her own on Front Street for roughly 25 years, Garrison said that after she retired she got to know and truly appreciate the feel of downtown Issaquah. Always having been an artist, one of her side projects included pen-and-pencil drawing of various downtown landmarks.

The spots she sketched include Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, the Eagles Hall and the salmon hatchery. Garrison initially made the drawings strictly for her own enjoyment. But now she has decided to use the sketches to create some very unique and localized greeting cards.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the cards will benefit the history museums. The cards are blank inside, but one of Garrison’s 12 drawings appears on the front along with a history capsule about the location depicted.

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County Small Business Award finalists include Issaquah entrepreneurs

August 30, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 30, 2011

The finalists for the inaugural King County Executive’s Small Business Awards include Issaquah enterprises, TransNET Inc. and Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in.

King County Executive Dow Constantine — along sponsors Microsoft, KeyBank, enterpriseSeattle, Small Business Partners for Prosperity and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County — named 21 finalists in seven categories Monday.

TransNET Inc., a logistics provider, is nominated in the Exporting Small Business of the Year category. The award recognizes a small business for achieving “significant increased international sales” in the global marketplace.

The iconic Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in is up for Minority Small Business of the Year. The honor highlights a minority-owned business for attaining “outstanding business achievement” and exemplifying the contributions made by minority-owned businesses in King County.

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Issaquah biker roars to Rolling Thunder rally

July 26, 2011

Dave Scandiffio, 55, has been riding motorcycles since he was 8 years old. But on June 12, having returned home from a monthlong, 8,965-mile trip across the country and back, the Issaquah man set a record for himself — and for most people.

Dave Scandiffio smiles, having just arrived in Washington, D.C., with 900 other Run For The Wall motorcyclists. Contributed

Scandiffio began in his trip in Issaquah with four friends from the area. The group motored to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where they united with other bikers in the Run for the Wall. The ride is an annual 10-day ride to the nation’s capitol as a gesture of appreciation for the sacrifices that veterans have made for the United States.

Upon arriving in Washington, D.C., the 900-strong pack joined what Scandiffio estimates were more than 500,000 motorcyclists in the annual Rolling Thunder demonstration. The demonstration’s mission is to educate the public about the many American soldiers who were left missing in action or as prisoners of war.

“It’s an emotional trip and there’s a reverence about the ride itself,” Scandiffio said. “The main message is that there are soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war left after every major war. It’s holding the government accountable for finding out what’s happened to them.”

Scandiffio served in the United States Navy from 1974 to 1979. A committed biker, he used to take his motorcycle aboard the ship. From 1983 to 1987, he served in the Oregon National Guard.

Though many of the riders were veterans, others joined the cause because they wanted to support those who fought for this country.

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Issaquah eateries dish up more, more, more in oversized offerings

July 2, 2011

Sunset Alehouse's The National Champ

Some meals must be confronted, in a grab-the-bull-by-the-horns style, rather than eaten.

Consider the proof: Issaquah eateries peddling a pizza as broad as a manhole cover, potatoes heaped as high as the Rockies and a gooey ice cream sundae as large as a bathtub.

Turns out that the fabled XXX Burger is not alone among belly-busting options in Issaquah. The city boasts behemoth burgers, sure, but other options abound, beyond beefy and french fried delights. Establishments revel in menu items meant to satisfy oversized appetites — and egos.

Come, gluttons and gluttons for punishment, on a grease-stained and sauce-spattered odyssey through portions the next size up from ample.

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20 reasons to ♥ Issaquah

July 2, 2011

The spectacular landscape is a reason to love Issaquah. By Connor Lee

Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.)

Salmon Days

The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.

Issaquah Alps

The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.

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José Enciso, drive-in proprietor, receives top honor

May 24, 2011

José Enciso Sr., longtime Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in proprietor, received dual awards May 17, including the community’s highest honor.

José Enciso, owner of the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, smiles while audience members applaud as he is inducted into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the annual Issaquah Community Awards banquet. By Greg Farrar

The city inducted Enciso into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the 32nd annual Community Awards Luncheon. The man serving behemoth burgers and enormous root beer floats along Northeast Gilman Boulevard also received the Business Person of the Year honor.

Enciso said he was told about being nominated for Business Person of the Year, and that was why he had to attend the luncheon. But the Hall of Fame honor surprised him.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was great.”

Enciso joins a diverse and rarified group in the Issaquah Hall of Fame. Past inductees include environmentalist Ruth Kees, Salmon Days Festival organizer Robin Kelley and, last year, retired City Administrator Leon Kos.

Enciso bought the iconic drive-in more than a decade ago. Nowadays, the restaurant is a mecca for spring and summer car shows.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders also named Tom Sessions as Citizen of the Year, another leading honor. Councilman Fred Butler received the Volunteer of the Year honor.

The lunchtime ceremony at the Holiday Inn attracted a who’s who of Issaquah — City Council members, Issaquah School District administrators, business leaders and community activists.

José Enciso, drive-in proprietor, receives top community honor

May 19, 2011

José Enciso, owner of the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, smiles as audience members applaud as he is inducted into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the annual Issaquah Community Awards. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 12:30 p.m. May 19, 2011

José Enciso Sr., longtime Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in proprietor, received dual awards Tuesday, including the community’s highest honor.

The city inducted Enciso into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the 32nd annual Community Awards Luncheon. The man serving behemoth burgers and enormous root beer floats along Northeast Gilman Boulevard also received the Business Person of the Year honor.

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Off the Press

April 26, 2011

Everybody has a story. People may think they don’t, but they do. Maybe that grouchy old man who lives on the corner fought in World War II and now he can’t get close to people because he fears he will lose them.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Maybe that woman you see from time to time in the grocery store used to be a secret agent for the CIA.

Maybe that young guy down the street has been flying planes since he was 5 years old.

Maybe that couple who owns your favorite restaurant loves Elvis so much that they go to Graceland every year to celebrate The King’s birthday.

After more than two decades in the news business, I truly believe everybody has a story. You might have to coax out of someone that she collects thimbles and has more than 1,000 of them. You might have to chat a while with someone to learn that he met Marilyn Monroe.

But there is something unique and interesting about every person on the planet.

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Diners can sample bargains during restaurant month

March 8, 2011

Eateries encourage diners to sample special offers and menu items during Issaquah Restaurant Month.

The inaugural dine-out event kicked off March 1, as more than 20 restaurants rolled out discounts and other treats for diners. Organizers said the monthlong celebration is meant to attract attention to local restaurants, and encourage residents to try fresh flavors.

The participating restaurants include longtime establishments and newcomers. Diners interested in checking out Issaquah restaurants during the event can nosh on barbecue and pizza one day, and nachos and lo mein the next.

“Each restaurant will offer a lunch and/or dinner prix fixe menu that represents the best of what that restaurant has to offer,” Diane Symms, Lombardi’s Italian Restaurants president and CEO, said in a release. “This is not a discount but rather an offer of quality and value for the community.”

Issaquah Restaurant Month is similar to events staged in Seattle and other major cities nationwide. The year-old Issaquah Restaurant Coalition, a trade group, coordinated and promoted the celebration.

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