Art crafts

The evolution of arts, crafts and business in downtown Tieton started with a flat tire | New

It’s funny to think that a small town like Tieton has been transformed because of the goat’s heads. Yes, those annoying sharp thorns.

Well, it all started 16 years ago when Ed Marquand one day ran into Tieton while traveling in the suburb of Yakima. He was riding a bike when he realized he had passed a patch of goat heads piercing the tires. Marquand was forced to stay the rest of the day while the tires were repaired.

Looking around, Marquand saw many empty storefronts. He later learned why they were empty: Tieton’s proximity to Yakima’s commercial entertainment such as bowling alleys, cinemas, and soda fountains had killed similar businesses in the small town.

“It got me thinking,” he said. “What could be going on in these spaces that we couldn’t do in Seattle, in a way that could hire people from the community, teach them to work at a very high level, benefit the community and achieve some of the their creative ambitions? ? “

Marquand set out to create Mighty Tieton.

“Its core business is understanding how to take long neglected buildings, repair them and set up businesses there to give them new life and bring more vitality to Tieton and the Upper Valley,” he said.

“When our team arrived one of the first things we did was plant gardens because it made the place more beautiful. But it also meant a kind of hope. You don’t plant a garden if you don’t expect it to be there for a long time. It really helped make the place healthier and more lively.

“The only important thing we did in Tieton was to give the people of Tieton a sense of hope. I wanted them to feel like we were adding to the community, not moving it. “

Since the day of this cycling trip, Marquand and his team have transformed a former warehouse into Lofts Tieton. The group also converted another warehouse into Mighty Tieton, which hosts the annual Dia de los Muertos Exhibition, an annual Christmas bazaar and other art exhibits when not in use as a site for weddings and quinceaneras.

In addition to Mighty Tieton, Marquand has created Tieton Mosaic, a mosaic tile studio that is working on 25 colorful and unique pieces that will be on display at the Sound Transit Station, which serves the Seattle metro area. And locally, several mosaics made in Tieton are already an integral part of the city’s decor.

Marquand also opened a store called Tieton Made which sells products made in Tieton, such as cider, goat cheese, greeting cards, posters and newspapers. In addition to this retail store, he opened a restaurant called 617 on Tieton Square, which supports food, wine and beer grown and manufactured by Yakima.

Finally, there’s Paper Hammer, a publishing company that makes special, limited-edition books for museums and libraries. Paper Hammer is an offshoot of the Lucia / Marquand de Marquand publishing company in Seattle.

It was important to Marquand that no business was moved when setting up new businesses. Instead, he found empty storefronts for over 10 years and carefully remodeled them to meet new business needs, breathing new life into Tieton Square.

Marquand wants to benefit Tieton in a creative way, but he is always focused on employment opportunities.

“I’m much more interested in attracting design and production companies that will create jobs,” he said. “Art doesn’t create as many jobs, but design and production really does. I think it is much more beneficial for the community to be able to provide jobs than just entertainment. “

Looking to the future, Marquand intends to transform a giant empty warehouse in Tieton into an events and convention center. He would like to have a hostel at one end so that visitors who come to Tieton have a place to stay.

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