Cheese Louise expands to Richland

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Cheese Louise has secured a second location, at 619 Parkway in Richland, and the store is scheduled to open next month with a grand opening in early October. It will be operated by Murphy Felton and Alex Eberle, who are related to owners Tamara and Bill Krieger.

The Kriegers operate Cheese Louise and Tamara's Gifts & Teas on Wellington Avenue in Walla Walla.

The expansion is an experiment for the four: A Web site laying out the concept behind the new shop poses the question, "Can two business virgins use social media to rekindle a brick and mortar business?"

According to the site, Felton and Eberle will have six months to build a successful business at the storefront, at special events and online, and what they learn will be put into place in the Walla Walla shop.

Key to the effort is the use of social media -- blogs, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel thus far -- to build business. The stakes are high. "It's been a great run, but if a new location and new energy can't save the store, we'll try another path," the Kriegers say in an online profile.

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While the remains of the Blue Mountain Mall molder and the foundation for what's next languishes, signs at the site advertising the imminent arrival of Ross Dress for Less remain an optimistic, if lonely, beacon for would-be bargain hunters.

But if your intuition says that store is on hold, pat yourself on the back.

Bobbi Chaville, senior director investor and media relations at Ross Dress for Less, said Friday the company still hopes to build in Walla Walla, but not� until the development as a whole is back on track.

"It's kind of back in the landlord's hands and we'll have to see what happens," Chaville said. "If the situation changes, we're happy to move forward with the project."

Calls seeking comment from the developer, Jason Bontrager, were not returned.

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