Flag drops on M-F Drive In's 51st season

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The M-F Drive In Theater will lift the proverbial curtain on its 2012 season tonight.

The theater will bring its first double feature of the year to the big screen with "The Hunger Games" and "One For the Money," according to an announcement on Facebook.

Gates to the outdoor venue, 84332 Highway 11, open at 7 p.m. The first show is expected to start around 7:30.

This will be the 51st season for the drive-in since owners Dick and Loretta Spies took the helm of the operation in 1961. They continue to operate it with help from their children and grandchildren.

O'Reilly Auto Parts is up and running at its new location.

The automotive parts retailer has opened its new 7,500-square-foot store at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Poplar Street. The building is a relocation from the store's previous spot at 412 S. Ninth Ave. That spot has closed for business, though much work is still being done onsite to clean out the building.

City permitting documents estimated construction value of the new store at around $765,000.

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O'Reilly specializes in automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories.

Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 529-4957.

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Could Le Chateau be bidding au revoir?

Port of Walla Walla officials say owners of the tasting room at the Walla Walla Regional Airport industrial park are planning to close the local operation.

They've notified the Port, which owns the tasting room building at 175 E. Aeronca Ave., of the plan and have asked to transfer improvements made at the property to the Port.

Le Chateau is the tasting room at the gateway of the industrial park that welcomes visitors with a giant mural of a French-style chateau on the exterior of the building.

The tasting room was opened in late 2010 by Dick and Diane Hoch and Bob and Crista Whitelatch, operating as Whitelatch-Hoch LLC.

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Owners of A Wing and A Prayer BBQ + Catering did a thorough makeover of the interior of their new location before opening at 201 E. Main St. Now they reportedly have their sights on the building's facade.

Business owners Timm and Teri Johnson are planning to update the exterior of the building with signage and a paint scheme to fit downtown Walla Walla's historic design standards. The changeover includes multiple shades of brown on the facade and trim, according to an update in the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation's weekly newsletter.

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Area Chamber of Commerce members are invited to hit the slopes Saturday.

The Dayton, Pendleton and Walla Walla chambers will descend on Ski Bluewood for a mega networking event in the powder.

Members of the business organizations can get 50 percent off lift tickets by bringing a Chamber announcement with them. A free lunch buffet will be served. The event is offered as an opportunity to meet new people, promote businesses and strengthen ties to existing customers and clients. It runs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more details, call the respective Chambers: Pendleton, 541-276-7411; Walla Walla, 525-0850; and Dayton, 509-382-4825.

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

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