Art teacher’s influence spreads beyond her garage doors

June 26, 2013

Betsy Matias’ art studio looks like a typical space for creative instruction. The walls are covered in paintings and drawings, aprons and brushes are packed into a corner, and several stools lay upside-down on a large table.

But Matias doesn’t teach art in a normal studio. She teaches in the garage of her Sammamish home, and over the past 18 months, her business has skyrocketed from 10 part-time students to a five-days-a-week gig during the school year.

Surrounded by student artwork and her own painting of a guitar, Sammamish art teacher Betsy Matias is seeing a spike in business for her art studio, Henry and Mei, where she leads a series of classes for children during the school year.  Photo by Neil Pierson

Surrounded by student artwork and her own painting of a guitar, Sammamish art teacher Betsy Matias is seeing a spike in business for her art studio, Henry and Mei, where she leads a series of classes for children during the school year. Photo by Neil Pierson

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Pet store to move

January 8, 2013

New: Jan. 8, 1:53 p.m.

Local pet store Civilized Nature will be moving to Grand Ridge Plaza in the Issaquah Highlands this summer.

Owner D’Arcy Dent said the store is planning to move by August. Read more

City’s business sales growing

October 14, 2012

New: Oct. 14, 1:18 p.m.

2012 continues to be a good year for local retailers, according to statistic released by the Washington State Department of Revenue.

Sammamish saw an 18.1 percent increase in total economic activity, including the construction industry, during the second quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, according to the department’s statistics. Read more

Sammamish residents’ new winery opens Saturday

September 21, 2012

New: Sept. 21, 3:50 p.m.

When Heather and Doug Roberts, of Sammamish, decided to open a new winery and tasting room, they knew they wanted it to be about their family.

The couple named their vineyard after their daughter, Ashlyn and the wines and tasting room after their other daughter, Amelia Bleu, both students at McAuliffe Elementary.

“We have two daughters,” Heather Roberts said. “One got the vineyard, and one got the wine label.”

Now, after years of work, they are debuting their 2009 vintage wines at their new tasting room in Woodinville, which opened Sept. 22.

They wanted to go a step further to honor their families, however, said Heather Roberts. Both she and her husband had lost a brother to cancer, and they wanted to commemorate them. So they named one of their wines Riverenza, the Italian word for reverence, in their honor. The couple also plans to donate 5 percent of their profits to cancer research.

“We kind of started the whole business around family,” Heather Roberts said.

The trip to owning their vineyard started in 2009. The economy had tanked, and the couple was looking for investments to protect their money. They saw a vineyard for sale near a vacation home they own in Chelan.

The 6-acre vineyard had been planted, Heather Roberts said, but grapes (barbera, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot) had not yet grown. With the unsteady economy, they thought that if they chose not to open a winery of their own, they would still likely be able to sell the grapes to other winemakers.

“We knew we had some options,” Heather Roberts said.

They spent the past couple years learning everything they could about winemaking and the business. As the economic picture has begun to turn around, they decided to make a go of opening their own business.

They found people to help them with harvesting the grapes, then carted them back to the area for production. They’ve partnered with another winery and use its facilities to make and age the wines.

Doug acts as the winemaker, Heather Roberts said.

They have a barbera and the “Riverenza,” a red blend made of syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot available for tasting and purchase.

Heather said they also have a merlot available for tasting, but it is not yet for purchase. There is also a 2008 riesling they made with grapes from another vineyard, but they are nearly sold out of it, she said.

While they had been working with local grocery and liquor stores, Heather Roberts said that navigating the new state liquor sale regulations had forced that issue to the back burner as they tried to open their new tasting room.

Now that the tasting room is getting off the ground, she said they hope to begin working with other wine and liquor stores in the area.

She said they don’t want to grow the business too quickly, but eventually hope to add more varieties of wines into the mix.

“We’ll definitely offer another white in the future,” she said.

If you go

The Amelia Bleu winery is at 19501 144th Ave. N.E., suite D-500 in Woodinville.

Grand Opening weekend, the tasting room will be open Sept. 22 from noon-7 p.m.

Regular hours are Saturdays from noon-5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. The winery, which is part of the Woodinville Warehouse will also be open from 4-8 p.m. the third Thursday of each month.

Visit www.ameliableu.com.

 

 

Editor Ari Cetron can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 233, or samrev@isspress.com.

2012-2013 Business Directory

August 7, 2012

Open publication – Free publishing

New Sammamish liquor store open for business

June 28, 2012

New: June 28, 3:03 p.m.

Sammamish liquor connoisseurs unimpressed by the selection at local grocery stores have another option for wetting their whistles.

With the implementation of liquor privatization measure Initiative 1183 on June 1, the state liquor store in the Sammamish Highlands shopping center reopened as Plateau Spirits. Sammamish residents Dae and Jin Kim, who won the bidding for the right to run the store, aim to offer more selection and customer service than some of their larger competitors.

Sammamish residents Jin and Dae Kim pose in Plateau Spirits, their new store offering liquor, wine and beer in the Sammamish Highlands shopping center. The Kims won the bidding for the right to take over the state-run liquor store June 1. Photo by Caleb Heeringa

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Sammamish vintners honored

June 6, 2012

Two Sammamish-based wineries were honored at the Seattle Wine Awards May 21.

Rock Meadow Cellars took home three “double-gold” awards – the highest recognition given out at the awards – for their ’09 Rockin’ Red, ’09 Merlot and ’09 Cabernet Franc. The winery also got a gold medal for their ’09 Syrah, a silver for their ’09 Cabernet Sauvignon and a bronze for their ’09 Satisfaction.

Fivash Cellars also won a bronze for their ’09 Cabernet Franc.

The wines were judged by a panel of more than a dozen sommeliers, wine buyers and distributors from around the region.

Sammamish City Council adopts new business regulations

May 24, 2012

New: May 24, 2:18 p.m.

The City Council tilted a set of regulations on home businesses to favor the neighbors of those businesses. The council, at its May 14 meeting, cited concerns about the traffic, noise and other impacts on residential neighborhoods.

The updated regulations passed 6-1 after extensive last-minute amendments. Councilwoman Nancy Whitten, the dissenting vote, led the charge on the neighbor-friendly tweaks, worrying that the Planning Commission-crafted law would lead to a proliferation of people running disruptive businesses out of their homes. She said that the changes still did not go far enough to protect the neighbors. Read more

Council lukewarm on home business regulation update

March 22, 2012

New: March 22, 11:18 a.m.

A plan to rewrite regulations surrounding home businesses seems likely to get an overhaul by the City Council.

After months of deliberation, the Planning Commission proposed a set of rules governing how the businesses should operate. Some on the City Council are lukewarm to the ideas, saying they favor businesses over homeowners. Read more

Ace Hardware may move to new location

March 7, 2012

Sammamish Ace Hardware’s prospects for staying in town are looking up.
Owner Tim Koch confirmed March 2 that he has signed a contract for a spot for the hardware store in a proposed commercial development near the corner of Southeast Fourth Street and 228th Avenue. He declined to comment on the specific location or when the new store may be opened. Read more

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