New Ranch and Home still on track for Milton-Freewater

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Ranch and Home is still planning a move to Milton-Freewater.

Originally slated to open last fall, the Oregon branch of the clothing, equipment and supply store has taken longer than expected because of building conditions and a paperwork issue with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In an update late last week, the Dress family, which owns Ranch and Home, said they continue to move forward on the new location along Highway 11.

"Nobody wants the store open more than the Dress family, and our entire staff," the update said. "We initially believed that we could open the Milton-Freewater store with a minimum of renovation. As we got a better sense of the condition of the new building, more items had to be upgraded for code compliance."

Furthermore, the application for a federal license that would allow the sale of firearms at the store had been misplaced after its submission, owners said. They've had to reapply for the license. Store owners planned to meet with bureau representatives today and said they "look forward to getting authorization to proceed shortly thereafter."

Additional delays have also been linked to health issues in the family, they said.

Ranch and Home officials have said the move into the 25,000-squarefoot former Big Apple Grocery Warehouse will take place "soon." The building most recently was home to Milne Tool & Hardware and Elgin Appliance. The latter now operates inside Henry's Ace Hardware.

Ranch and Home was founded in Pasco by George Dress in 1974. Its focus was clothing, equipment and supplies for farmers. The business expanded to serve the needs of ranchers and homeowners, too. A second store opened in Kennewick in late 1999. Dress's sons, Bill and Jeff, joined as owners at that time. Milton-Freewater's store will be the third.

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Visitors to the Walla Walla Regional Airport can get a taste of Italy without leaving the tarmac.

Dominick's on the Runway, the restaurant inside the terminal building, has added an all-youcan- eat spaghetti night to its menu.

The bottomless pasta special runs Tuesdays only. The cost is $9.99. Meatballs or Italian sausage can be added for $1.50 more. D

ominick's operates seven days a week, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. For more details call 522-9898 or visit the restaurant's Facebook page.

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Columbia Basin Hearing will be welcomed to its new downtown Walla Walla neighborhood with a ceremony and grand-opening event Wednesday.

The celebration runs noon to 4 p.m. at 30 W. Main St., suite 205. The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce will perform a ribboncutting ceremony. Lunch will take place noon-1:30 p.m.

The opening is an expansion of the Tri-Citiesbased company founded in 1978. With offices in Kennewick, Prosser and Richland, the operation bills itself as the largest private practice audiology clinic in the Northwest. Prize drawings and free audiological services will be part of the festivities. For more details visit columbiabasinhearing.com.

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The outdoor course at The Sweet Putt is on par for an early April opening, owners say.

Over the weekend, they laid out the artificial green turf on four of the 19 outdoor greens, including the Drew Bledsoe tribute hole, Fourth & Putt, and the 18th green that features two sculptures donated by Tyson and Mike Hammond from Melody Muffler. That one's been dubbed, "Do You Know The Muffler Man, The Muffler Man..."

"At this pace, and barring any late winter weather, we should be on track to open the outdoor course in the early part of April," said Juli Dunn, part of the two-family ownership team at the miniature golf operation, 417 Wellington Ave.

Dunn said operators are also in the final two weeks of their Namethe- Green contest. Two greens will be named per week over the next two weeks. The haste is to allow plenty of time to get scorecards printed with the names, pars set and more. For more details, follow The Sweet Putt on Facebook. Strictly Business is a local business column.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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