Schmooze on First: Friday, event will offer food, drink

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Thirty vendors will line First Avenue, closing the week with the formal debut of "Fridays on First."

Vendor "booths" will line up on First Avenue between Main and Alder streets Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., creating an after-hours destination for shopping, commiserating and entertainment.

Though technically this is the second event of its kind, an initial Fridays on First in July was considered a "soft" event with just 10 vendor booths.

This time around music will be provided by Jesse Campos. Numerous merchants will provide specials and demonstrations, including Book & Game Co., which will demonstrate games outside its entrance; Frosted, the Cupcake Shop, which will offer samples and coupons; and Plumb Cellars, which will feature 10 percent discounts on its newest release, a white blend called "Afternoon Delight."

Other vendors represented will include metalwork sculptors, a soap maker, cured meats vendor, growers, weavers, psychic readers and more.

"We were really happy to see the turnout in July," said Edie Johnson, organizer and Plumb Cellars owner in a prepared statement. "Our goal was to create an event that would give Walla Wallans a place to meet, shop, and enjoy their downtown, to feel welcome here. On July 6 we saw friends meeting friends and people making new friends as they strolled from one booth to another, enjoying the music, the atmosphere and the conversation -- and our stores as well."

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Walla Walla office furniture and equipment dealership Total Office Concepts has opened a new location in the Tri-Cities.

The store, a temporary location at the Columbia Center Heights Executive Suites in Kennewick, is its third operation in Washington, according to an announcement.

It is designed to market the company's line of commercial office furnishing solutions as well as Kyocera print and document management solutions.

David Carlile, the company's senior vice president and chief operating officer, manages the Tri-Cities store. He has help from consultant Linda Morgan, a print and document management solutions specialist; and Colleen LeFavour, a commercial furnishings and space planning and design expert with 27 years of industry experience.

"While we have been serving the Columbia Basin since our inception in 1926, we're excited to have a physical location in the Tri-Cities to better partner with our current and prospective client base," said Mark Carlile, president and chief executive officer of Total Office Concepts, Inc. "We're pleased, too, that Kyocera has chosen Total Office Concepts as its only authorized dealer to represent their award-winning line of print and document management solutions in that very important and explosive market."

Total Office Concepts has offices and showrooms on Ninth Avenue in Walla Walla and in Wenatchee.

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Architecture and engineering firm USKH Inc. has built a reputation as one of the best firms of its kind for which to work.

The Alaska-based firm, which has a branch in Walla Walla, was ranked the 14th-best place to work for multidiscipline architecture/engineering firms across the country.

The recognition was announced July 19 at the Best Firms to Work For Summit, sponsored by ZweigWhite. Rankings were based on results of a comprehensive survey of workplace practices and an independent survey of employees, according to an announcement from USKH.

To qualify for the multidiscipline award, firms had to have a minimum of two disciplines. Em-ployee-owned USKH offers architecture; civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and environmental engineering; planning; landscape architecture; and surveying. The company was founded in 1972 and services clients throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

"The most successful firms have great teams because they bring out the very BEST in their people. And the BEST people want to work for the most successful firms," according to ZweigWhite.

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