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New, Moved, Bigger, Better
Winthrop business changes

Downtown Winthrop continues to change as local businesses expand, swap places or prepare to open for business.

photoThe interior of the expanded, remodeled Rocking Horse Bakery space, which opened Friday, January 31.


Steve and Teresa Mitchell opened their larger, transformed Rocking Horse Bakery today (Jan. 31) after a two-month remodeling project in the former Fasse North Cascade Realty office space. (The real estate firm moved north into a slice of the bakery’s former space some weeks ago.)

The bakery is about one-third larger, according to Steve Mitchell. The new entry door opens onto a long, high-ceilinged room painted in earth tones and designed to show off the repurposed wood counters and new furnishings, including many antiques.

There are additional display cases, a longer work bar for employees, and more open floor space to improve customer traffic flow between the order station and the condiment pick up station.

photoBakery owners Steve and Teresa Mitchell pose on a ladder while taking a break. He did the painting, but they both worked on the interior design.

“We were kind of maxed out over there [in the old space],” Steve Mitchell said recently while taking a break from painting walls.

Customer comfort was another goal, the Mitchells said. Thus there is an improved heating system, and air-conditioning has been installed. More flexible seating areas were created to accommodate both groups and more private conversations. A room in the back, overlooking the confluence of the Methow and Chewuch rivers, can be reserved for meetings.

The kitchen did not move, although the layout will be tweaked and some new equipment added before the project is finished.

“[The expansion] will allow us to add more products,” Mitchell said, including more breakfast and lunch options. “The lunch business has really taken off,” he added.

Teresa Mitchell said paninis will be “another hot option for lunch.”

“And, no, we are not opening for dinner,” Steve said.

The work of local artists will continue to be displayed along with antiques from the Mitchell family and local historic artifacts, such as a penny farthing bicycle and early-day local post office equipment on loan from Winthrop’s Shafer Historical Museum.

But the focus will stay on “providing the best quality food and beverages,” Steve said. “We really listen to what our local people want.”


Dave Swenson and Meghan Sullivan plan to open a new wine shop in downtown Winthrop in April called The Wine Shed. They’ve leased 1,700 sq. ft. of space in the gray building that sits between the NOCA coffee shop and

“You know how the valley is, you have to create your own job,” Swenson said. He and Sullivan started the Rocking Horse Bakery in 2004 and later sold it to the Mitchells.

Swenson said that while wine is available in the valley, “There’s no place purely dedicated to wine.” The couple plans to fill that gap by stocking “wines from all over the world.” Swenson said he knows what he likes and is fond of Spanish wines. “But Meghan is the one who has more of a palate than I do” for the subtleties, he added.

The couple also has started the “process of trying to buy Kristin Devin’s liquor license” from the state. Devin owned the Winthrop store license before liquor sales were privatized. Swensen said, “I think there needs to be more variety” in the liquors available locally. If they get the license, they will offer “top shelf” spirits and “try not to duplicate the grocery stores.”

photoThe sign for nectar skincare, which is expanding and moving downtown. The new Westernized sign will say Nectar Skin Bar.

He said the space they’ve leased comes with a “nice deck out back” and use of the adjacent parking lot.


Construction is about to start at Leslie Lanthorn’s new Nectar Skin Bar at 134 Riverside Avenue—the former frame shop and gallery space just north of Aspen Grove.

Lanthorn is expanding her three-year-old nectar skincare business, renaming it and moving it north from south Winthrop. She will continue to do business in her present space during the remodel.

She said she is adding a second aesthetician, two massage therapists and someone to do pedicures. “Express treatments” will be offered. And there will be a retail product space “with an assortment of beauty products.”

“Dana Stromberger will be my office manager,” she added. “Did I score with that one, or what!” Stromberger had been lead dental assistant for dentist Steven Harrop and has a background in construction project management in Seattle.

photoBrian and Amy Sweet stand amidst the Grubstake rubble they created at what is becoming the Cascade Outdoor Store.

Lanthorn, who has lived in the Methow Valley for 13 years, said, “I’ve done something in this kind of [beauty] business my whole life. “We will have a good team of five people and myself.”


Brian and Amy Sweet are just home from a buying trip to the annual outdoor gear trade shows, and are back at work on their Cascade Outdoor Store venture. They hope to open by June 1.

The Sweets, who left Winthrop to live in Vermont, returned to the Methow Valley last year and bought the vacant Grubstake restaurant building. They are doubling the space to about 2,000 sq. ft. by building north toward the Winthrop Town Hall. “This is bigger than anything we’ve ever done,” Amy Sweet said. “It’s our first new, new business.”

The couple bought the existing Trail’s End Bookstore for their first business venture. They moved it to its present location and expanded the business before selling it. In Vermont, they bought an existing bakery and expanded that business before selling it.

When the Sweets hiked the Appalachian Trail last summer, “We really paid attention to what people were carrying and wearing,” she said. They concluded there is a niche in the Methow not filled by the existing bike, ski, outdoor clothing and gear shops. “We’re offering brands and things that aren’t available here yet,” she said.

photoAn early image of East 20 Pizza’s expansion project, which will open Feb. 3, if all goes as planned.


Ryan Clement’s East 20 Pizza is closed to finish a new addition and remodel. If all goes smoothly, he plans to reopen on Monday, February 3. Meanwhile, take-and-bake versions of some pizzas are available at the deli in Hank’s supermarket in Twisp, according to a recorded message.

Clement is reconfiguring the kitchen and adding bathrooms and dining space.


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