Shops open for business post downtown fire

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A fire in the historic downtown building at 109 E. Main St. on Thursday isn't dampening plans for a weekend event at the neighboring Walla Walla Clothing Co.

The store will host its annual Denim and T-shirt Event, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, said co-owner Teresa Morasch.

She said the business is free from smoke damage from the 8:42 a.m. fire Thursday that started next door. According to the Walla Walla Fire Department, construction workers using a cutting torch to remove a section of I beam at the front of the building ignited a floor joist and wall framing. There were no injuries, but about $20,000 damage resulted.

The fire closed down the Walla Walla Sweets Shoppe on Thursday. But that operation was expected to open for regular hours today, according to a post on Facebook. Retailer Lost Boardroom, however, was expected to use a day or two to clean the store and prepare for winter.

As for Walla Walla Clothing's event, the store will showcase not only the talent of its denim-fit specialists but also the widest selection of premium denim brands in Eastern Washington, Morasch said.

"We not only offer a huge selection, but can fit any body type that walks in our store," she said in an announcement. "Our goal is to make you look great in a pair of jeans since denim is one of the most sought after and maybe even the most important piece in every person's wardrobe these days.

The event features 10 percent off all denim and Michael Stars and Three Dot T-shirts. Free gifts will also be presented with the a purchase, and customers can enter a drawing for a free pair of jeans.

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The Walla Walla Dutch Bros. will be serving up a complimentary jolt Saturday to the men and women who serve, protect and extinguish.

The Ninth Avenue coffee business will provide free drinks to police officers, sheriff's deputies and firefighters "as thanks for all they do for us," said owner Dave Beamer.

Saturday is the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on America. Beamer said qualifying customers just need to mention their affiliation. The business at 630 S. Ninth Ave. operates 5 a.m.-11 p.m.

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Big 5 is turning 55 and celebrating with a five-week celebration.

The launch Sunday of the El-Segundo, Calif., company's social media sites will begin Big 5 Sporting Goods' mega-celebration of weekly sales promotions and a special trivia contest.

The retailer operates 388 stores in 12 states under the Big 5 name. Sunday will mark its first venture into social networking with a new Facebook and Twitter presence. "This is new territory for Big 5, and we are looking forward to joining millions of fans of social media and opening online conversations with our customers," said Big 5 President and CEO Steven G. Miller, in a prepared statement.

Information on the trivia contest, company history, historic photos and links to the company's Facebook and Twitter sites will be featured at www.big5sportinggoods.com/birthday.

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The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Walla Walla Foundation planned to welcome Marcy's Bar amp; Grill to the neighborhood today with a ribbon-cutting and grand opening.

The event at 33 S. Colville St. was scheduled for 4 p.m. with a wine tasting from Russell Creek Winery at 5 p.m. and live performances from Doug Benjamin and the Gary Winston band at 7 p.m.

The celebration continues Saturday with vocals from Kat Dyer at 6 p.m. and The Pete Crawford Quartet at 8 p.m. On Sunday a tasting with Amavi Cellars will take place at 4 p.m.

Marcy's is open daily at 11:30 a.m. and serves up the menu from the neighboring Pita Pit. Happy Hour runs 3-6 p.m. with discounts on beer, well drinks and food. For more information call 525-7482.

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

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