Chewelah got a fresh paint job along Highway 395 last month. Quite literally. The building on King and Park that served as the former Redline shop and once a gas station was sitting vacant before Mike Bellevue took it over and moved in his three businesses – Bellevue General Contractors Inc., Chewelah Painting and Chewelah Electric.
“It makes my job easier having everything close by,” Bellevue said. “It’s nice to have everything under one roof. We can have better communication between employees and things can run smoother.”
Bellevue moved over from the former Chewelah Chamber of Commerce building on King Ave., renting it from Frank Sety because he needed more space for his growing businesses.
“With growth comes space problems so it was a logistical move,” Bellevue said. “Frank has been great to work with as a landlord. He does a lot to support and help local businesses.”
Bellevue started in Chewelah with just himself and a van in 2008. Now he’s grown to five crews of painters, a carpentry crew and two electricians. He started out with Bellevue General Contractors Inc. and continues to build, paint and rewire. Versatility has been the name of the game for Bellevue, as the three companies serve Spokane, Stevens, Ferry, Whitman, Lincoln and Pend Oreille counties.
The three companies are very busy with numerous painting projects, new construction projects and remodel work. The electricians have been completing various service work from new service and service extensions to LED lighting upgrades. Chewelah Electric has a bucket truck available for high work- changing parking lot light bulbs, installing and maintaining signage and overhead service work.
The new space allows Bellevue to have his painters in one shop space along with the electricians and carpenters; there’s a lot more space and the shop layout allows painters to load trucks as they are pulling out of the shop.
“They don’t go to the job without stuff they need because they drive by our stock on the way out,” Bellevue said.
Bellevue said that he also appreciated how the crews handled the move to a new shop.
“They’re busy crews going out everyday and I’m here saying ‘I moved the shop,’” he said. “They all stepped up and helped organize things here in short order. It was challenging during the transition as everything was on pallets.”
Bellevue expanded out into Chewelah Electric because he wanted to be able to have electricians in-house for his painting and construction jobs.
“There are good electric companies in Chewelah and they’re busy because they show up and do good work,” Bellevue said. “With the projects I’m doing, having on-site electricians is easier to get rolling a lot quicker. We can also be more responsive to smaller electrical projects and service work.”
Bellevue has two electricians – Eric Desalles and Brandon Montgomery who are certified to work on residential, commercial and industrial jobs along with motors and well pumps.
Desalles has 15 years of journeyman electrical experience, including working for Aztec Electric in Spokane, and Knight Construction in Deer Park.
Experience will come in handy as Chewelah Electric and Chewelah Painting are both more visible, moving right alongside the highway.
“There has been a steady stream of walk-ins,” Bellevue said. “Its been amazing how many people stop by here and ask what’s going on. I like it being on the highway so people can drive by and know where you’re at.”
Margo Sety also pitched in with the move, painting the Chewelah Painting sign on the side of the building.
Running the scheduling and dispatching is Lisa Atkinson, who has a new office to call home. She’s new to the team and admits she’s very busy.
“We’ve been in the new building a couple of weeks and we’ve been pulling over 10 hours a day,” Atkinson said.
So keep an eye out when you drive through Chewelah next time, it’s hard to miss the building with a fresh coat of paint.
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff