Waitsburg sees boom month in business openings

A coffee shop, bar, diner and a consignment shop make their downtown debuts.

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The number of places to go in Waitsburg for a bite to eat and a beverage increased by three new downtown business openings in August.

A fourth business having nothing to do with food -- a used goods and clothing consignment shop -- also made its debut.

Betty's Diner 50s Eats & Treats, a 1950s-style diner, bar and coffee shop at 114 Preston Ave., has been attracting attention for weeks, according to contractor and restaurant manager Bart Baxter. The chrome and red caf© with black and white checkered floor will appeal to the nostalgic and those hankering for good hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and shakes.

Baxter has already heard from several car clubs wanting to make the diner a cruise destination.

Betty's Diner is at one end of the building most recently home to the Whetstone Public House.

Bart's mother, Bitsy Baxter, will work in the adjacent store, operating Baby Girl Consignments and More at 112 Preston Ave.

Both businesses are owned by Stephanie Laposi.

The business will provide several jobs, Baxter said.

Around the corner at 137 Main St. is Coppei Coffee, which owner and local newspaper publisher Imbert Mathee intends to make "Waitsburg's living room." A retail section will offer coffee beans to help orphans in Ethiopia and honey from Octopus Garden in Dayton. Pastries and ice cream to go with Italian style espresso will be offered.

When Mathee bought The Times from Loyal Baker in 2009 and realized it came with a second building, he immediately envisioned the coffee shop. "This town needs a coffee shop. It was just such a no-brainer," he said.

Coppei Coffee will employ eight people, three of them full time, Mathee said. Mark Bru, Mathee's business partner in the venture, will manage the shop.

Across Main Street and down a couple of doors, at 128 Main St., the former American Legion Hall is now the Anchor Bar.

Owner Charles Smith, who managed bands in Europe before coming to the Walla Walla Valley to make his name as an acclaimed winemaker with his K Vintner syrah and other labels, said he wanted to fashion the establishment as "kind of like my dream bar." The cavernous building also offers space for private gatherings.

Smith added a stage and will bring in regular live entertainment. He envisions occasionally bringing in a big-name entertainer.

"I tend to want to feature blues and rockabilly. We'll have Sunday matinees for country bands," said Smith, who also converted a former downtown Walla Walla automotive garage into a wine bistro.

Rinda Chambers will manage the Anchor. The bar will have eight employees, according to Smith.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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