Eatery to steak claim in Walla Walla

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Something for steakhouse fans to chew on: A new restaurant appears on its way to Walla Walla.

Sterling's Famous Steak, Seafood & Salad Bar, a longtime Tri-Cities, establishment is apparently expanding to Walla Walla.

The restaurant is slated for 1425 W. Pine St. in the former site of the Pine Street Diner and, before that, Elmer's.

Sterling's is owned by Jim and Laura Sterling. The restaurant has operated about 28 years in Richland and expanded in 2008 to Kennewick.

Attempts to reach Jim Sterling and building owner Randy Grudzinski have been fruitless so far.

But according to documents in the city's Development Services Department, a business registration has been filed for the restaurant.

A giant sign posted on the building has announced that the hiring process has begun.

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Inland Octopus will be extending its tentacles early next week.

The toy store owned by Bob Catsiff will be making the jump from its current location at 220 E. Main St. to 7 E. Main St., the former home of Gotta Go Embroidery and the neighbor of Bright's Candies.

Catsiff, who's dubbed the move "The Great Octopus Migration of 2010," will re-open Tuesday in the new spot.

Regular business hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.

For more information, call 526-0115 or send an e-mail to: email@inlandoctopus.com.

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A new senior director of research and development has joined Key Technology Inc.

In his new role for the designer and manufacturer of process automation systems, Dr. Michael Nichols is responsible for implementing programs to develop and acquire new technology that add value to customers in the food processing and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries.

His initial objectives are to reduce new product time-to-market and implement processes to assure the highest quality equipment and software are designed, said Key CEO David Camp, in a prepared statement.

"Key is focused on solving customers' production challenges," Camp said in the announcement.

"We invest significant resources to develop technology and equipment solutions that help customers improve product safety and quality while reducing operating costs."

Nichols previously worked more than 15 years for Planar Systems Inc. He held numerous positions there, including his most recent as director of operations for the company's Command and Control Systems division. Before Planar Systems, he worked for Tektronix from 1976 to 1994.

Nichols earned his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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