Articles by Robin Wojtanik

Robin Wojtanik spent most of her career in broadcast journalism, working at television stations around the country. She spent nearly a decade managing newsrooms in the Tri-Cities and Yakima. She enjoys volunteering for Junior Achievement and Christ the King School and serves on the board for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Northwest chapter. She lives in Richland with her husband and children.
Remodeling is underway for the Tri-Cities’ second Bath & Body Works store. The store at Richland’s Vintner Square off Queensgate Drive will be in the western corner unit of the building that also houses Starbucks, Jamba Juice, GameStop and Fiesta Mexican Restaurant.

Bath & Body Works store to open in Richland next year

Construction is underway on the Tri-Cities’ second Bath & Body Works store, planned for the Queensgate area of Richland. The company’s corporate office said the store is scheduled to open in early 2019 at 2471 Queensgate Drive, Suite A7. The developer of the Vintner Square property, Bowman Development Co., narrowed the store’s opening date to…

As the lone regional, indoor shopping center, the Columbia Center mall in Kennewick fills with shoppers each holiday season. The National Retail Federation’s predicts a 4.1 percent increase in consumer spending for the 2018 holiday shopping season compared to last year.

Retail outlook strong for holiday season

Tri-City retailers are optimistic about the upcoming holiday shopping season. “Our market usually outperforms the national trend due to our strong local economy,” said Barbara Johnson, general manager of Columbia Center mall in Kennewick. “It’s always kind of like looking into a crystal ball. I’m expecting consumer spending locally to be up 4.5 percent over…

After 100 years as a family business, Kennewick’s True Value Washington Furniture and Hardware owner and general manager John Gravenslund has decided to pare back the store’s inventory and hours.

Kennewick hardware store changing gears after 100 years

The owner of a 100-year-old retail mainstay in downtown Kennewick is winding down operations. “Age and time and generations running out; the business is healthy, happy and doing great, but it’s just time for us to change course,” said John Gravenslund, owner and general manager of True Value Washington Furniture and Hardware. After three generations…

A new 14,000-square-foot building for the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electricians is underway in Kennewick with a planned completion in summer 2019.

New $3.4M union hall under construction in Kennewick

An expansion plan approved nearly 20 years ago is underway for the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. IBEW Local 112 is building a new $3.4 million union hall that includes an auditorium on vacant land at 114 N. Edison St. in Kennewick, just south of West Clearwater Avenue and east of…

The Kabob House will open in Richland’s Vintner Square at 2762 Duportail St. at the end of November and in Pasco’s Sandifur Crossing at 5802 Road 68 in early spring.

Regional Mediterranean restaurants coming soon to the Tri-Cities

The Tri-Cities soon will be welcoming two new Mediterranean restaurants known for their chicken kabobs, gyro sandwiches and shawarma plates. The Kabob House will open in Richland’s Vintner Square at 2762 Duportail St. at the end of November and in Pasco’s Sandifur Crossing at 5802 Road 68 in early spring. The Richland restaurant will be…

Benton and Franklin counties recorded 1,046 single-family home permits filed through August 2018, an 8 percent increase compared with the same period in 2017. The permits are valued at $617 million, a 14 percent increase compared with the same period’s total in 2017. (Photo: Shawna Dinh)

Market Overview: Tri-Cities boasts stable economy

More than 1,000 new homes have been built in the Tri-Cities since the start of 2018, but this is barely sustaining an appetite for housing in a market where supply can’t keep up with demand. “We are still in a very hot sellers’ market,” said Lola Franklin, chief executive officer of the Tri-City Association of…

After years of planning and efforts to secure funding, construction on the Duportail Bridge got underway in early 2018, with a planned finish date of 2020. (Photos: Scott Butner Photography)

City of Richland: big projects underway in central district

The opening of the Queensgate Drive roundabouts allowed Richland to wrap up one of its major capital projects in 2018, while shifting focus for the next six months on building its new City Hall. The central district is a part of town receiving more attention from the city after a surge of growth in south…

A yet-to-be-named elementary school is under construction at 2100 Sunshine Ave. in West Richland to support 600 students. It’s part of the “school-driven” commercial growth seen in the city, which has grown 4.5 percent year over year to 15,320 residents in 2018. (Photo: Richland School District)

City of West Richland: ‘bedroom community’ expands west

At 15,320 citizens strong, West Richland is looking to its undeveloped western end of town as the focus for future growth. “The center of town is pretty much built out,” said Aaron Lambert, West Richland’s community development director. What feels like the center of town for West Richland tends to be the area near Yoke’s…

Tyrone Riggle, president of Riggle Plumbing Inc., is one of many Tri-City subcontractors who lost money when Vandervert Construction Inc. was placed in receivership amid financial crisis. Riggle considers his company fortunate to have lost less than $10,000 for work performed for Vandervert Construction after initially filing claims totaling nearly $300,000. (Courtesy Riggle Plumbing Inc.)

Dozens of Tri-City subcontractors still left without paycheck

Contractors who once did business with Vandervert Construction Inc. are separating themselves into two groups: lucky or unlucky. “We are one of the lucky ones,” said Mary Rosen, controller for Richland-based Garrett Electric Company Inc. The lucky ones are those who got paid most or all of what they were owed for doing work for…

Pasco has agreed to sell 6.7 acres of land to Moore Holdings, which could become the site of a new Hyundai dealership. (Courtesy city of Pasco)

Sale to close soon on former aquatics center land in Pasco

Pasco is ready to offload nearly seven acres of land on the western side of the city once intended for a regional aquatics center. Pasco’s Deputy City Manager Stan Strebel said the 6.7-acre property is under contract with Moore Holdings at $5 a square foot, for a total purchase price of $1.5 million. Pasco originally…

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Tri-Cities Prep Candlelight Christmas Concert

December 16 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Free Movie – The Polar Express

December 21 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Free Movie – The Polar Express

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