Yakima County Development Association - Spring Harvest Fiber Mill Wins Enterprise Challenge

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 



Spring Harvest Fiber Mill Wins Enterprise Challenge

Spring Harvest Fiber Mill Wins Enterprise Challenge

January 22, 2014

New Vision, the Yakima County Development Association, announced that three emerging businesses were selected as winners of the Enterprise Challenge business plan contest.  These entrepreneurs were selected by seven judges that met with business plan contestants yesterday.

Spring Harvest Fiber Mill won New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge and will receive $10,000.  The company produces yarns and fiber products made from Alpacas.  Bob and Danise Cathel are alpaca farmers and avid fiber artists.  They process wool (fiber) from alpaca farmers located throughout the Pacific Northwest and also spin out rugs and other products for retail customers.  The company plans to use their prize winnings to purchase more equipment and support staffing increases.

Active Life Chiropractic placed second in the contest and will receive $5,000.  The chiropractic business opened last year in Yakima and specializes in sports related injuries and treating children.  Nathan and Kristina Coppock are owners of the business – they are both chiropractic physicians who are building their Yakima office slowly yet steadily.  They offer patients a fresh approach that incorporates techniques from physical therapy, massage therapy, athletic training, and chiropractic.

4 Seasons Fresh took third place in the contest and won $2500.  Entrepreneurs Mathew Buchanann and Jedidiah Haney are planning to launch a greenhouse farm that can produces high quality vegetables, herbs, gourmet mushrooms, and fresh whole fish the year round.  The greenhouse would utilize hydroponic and aquaculture systems that can be closely controlled and monitored.  Products would be sold to restaurants and consumers in local and northwest markets.

The other five final contestants also ealt textxcelled in the Enterprise Challenge.  According to New Vision’s Jean Brown, “All our contestants have enormous potential in terms of launching or running successful local businesses.  If these emerging companies get off the ground according to their plans we should see them opening or expanding facilities and adding a significant number of jobs.  Everyone is a winner in our contest.  The hardest part is not having cash for everyone.”

Bob and Denise Cathel, owners of Spring Harvest Fiber Mill, were thrilled to win the contest:  “The Enterprise Challenge was a fantastic experience.  It gave us an opportunity to network with other great entrepreneurs and share our experiences.  We are so excited about moving our business forward.  The contest judges reaffirmed that we have started something special and gave us invaluable feedback as we continue to grow our company.”

New Vision’s Enterprise Challenge started in October and featured several educational events where contestants could learn more about managing a business.  The development association plans to to evaluate the Enterprise Challenge over the next couple months.  According to Brown, “We have run a great contest for the last four years and we want to look at how we might expand or change the contest to make it even better.  For more information about the Enterprise Challenge click here.  To see our previous contest winners, click here

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"The reason Valley Processing is located in the Yakima Valley is because of the close proximity to fruit, good transportation infrastructure, and a good workforce. " - Terry Bliesner, Vice President, Valley Processing