On Main Street | After three years, sisters have settled into running Knemeyers

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent


This occasional column highlights business news in Waterville and in other Douglas County communities. If you have business news that you would like to appear in this column, email larsen.karen.y@gmail.com.


Knemeyers Eatery & Spirits owners Casey Smith and Candy Jones stand in “the brick room.” The sisters have run the restaurant for three years. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Sisters Casey Smith and Candy Jones have run Knemeyers Eatery & Spirits for three years now. Asked how they feel after the three years, Smith and Jones give a sense of having come into their own.

“Our feet don’t hurt as bad,” Jones joked.

They have become comfortable with the foods that need to be purchased and prepared, the bookkeeping that needs to be done, the bartending and waiting on tables, the maintenance of the building, the hiring of staff, and the difficulty in estimating the number of customers each day. The job descriptions for their chosen line of work are many and varied, but they have gotten the hang of it.

“Now it just feels like it is part of the normal day,” Jones said.

When Jones and Smith’s mother, Jerry Jones of East Wenatchee, heard that they planned to buy the restaurant together she was worried that it would ruin their relationship. This hasn’t been the case.

Jones said they seem to complement each other well. Jones does the cooking, and Smith does the finances and waits on the tables. Jones is a morning person, so she does the prep work and opens the restaurant, while Smith serves in the afternoon and closes up in the evening.

In order to keep up with each others’ lives, they have to go out to lunch together.

Jones feels their working relationship succeeds because they know each others’ strengths and weaknesses and give each other space.

Asked what they are most proud of about their achievements with the business, Jones said that they have always been determined to offer a good quality product at decent prices. This can be challenging as food prices continue to go up, but the sisters have found ways to economize without wavering from their vision of quality. They do this partly by preparing foods from scratch and partly by finding economical sources for their ingredients. They have insisted on maintaining good portion sizes.

“It’s probably one of the most important things to us to make sure that people feel like they’re getting what they paid for,” Jones said.

They have also worked hard to keep their hours consistent despite fluctuations in the number of customers that come in. The sisters feel this has paid off and helped to increase their customer base.

Jones and Smith have made quite a few improvements to the restaurant recently. They have redone the back porch, painted the exterior and put in new tables. Three of these tables they made from doors that came out of an old farmhouse. They painted the windows of the doors in attractive quilt patterns. They have also purchased a new pizza oven, which decreases bake times and produces a superior quality product.

One of the special historic aspects of this restaurant, which has been in operation since 1914, is a painted advertisement for “Bull Durham Tobacco,” on the interior brick wall that dates from the early 1900s. The advertisement was uncovered by the previous owners some years ago. Jones and Smith use this as a banquet room, called “the brick room,” which can seat up to 30 people. In order to better utilize the brick room, they have been working on developing buffet style meals for events such as birthdays, retirements and meetings. The meals have been popular and the sisters are hoping to continue to develop this aspect of their business. To book the banquet room, contact Knemeyers at 745-8450.

The Knemeyers regular menu includes burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, pizza and homemade soups. Their menu is available at knemeyers.com.

Knemeyers is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. Because they operate as a restaurant, they are open to family dining.

Kathie McMahon, owner of Yesteryear Quilting, needs to sell her inventory in time for the library to move into the Locust Street building this May. Fabric is 10 percent off and patterns, books and notions are 25 percent off. All of her displays are for sale, as well as her Gammill long arm quilting machine. The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until everything goes. Contact McMahon at 745-9306 for more information.

Kopey’s Restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They offer breakfast until noon, and lunch and dinner specials. Their sirloin steak dinner is $10.99. The community senior lunch is held at Kopey’s at noon every Friday. The lunch includes a meal, a drink and a dessert for $7.57, including tax.

Umpqua Bank has great mortgage rates now. Their 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is around 4.25 percent, and their 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is at 3.625 percent. They have a home equity line of credit running at 4.5 percent. Funds obtained from the credit line can be used for anything. For more information, contact the bank at 745-8511.

The Douglas County Historical Society Thrift Store has been closed for the winter but will open again on Feb. 5. The store has been cleaned and is ready for its new year of operation with lots of Valentine’s Day items and new merchandise. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store accepts consignments and donations and is always looking for volunteers. Contact Sharon Casteel at 745-8800 for more information.

Waterville Parts Supply has everything you need to get ready for spring and to do winter repairs. They are expanding their inventory all the time. Come check them out from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart, consider Field Moon Handmade Soap. Owner Naoko Hinderer will have chocolate soap and raspberry pink clay soap available beginning Feb. 1. She also has a new coconut body butter.

In celebration of the third anniversary of the business Feb. 10, Hinderer is giving away a beeswax lip balm for 50 customers who purchase any products by the anniversary day. You can place your order online at fieldmoonsoap.com.