Regional Voices: Liz Ward – BumbleBar
Liz Ward co-founded BumbleBar in 1995 “so I could combine two of my greatest passions – healthy food and sustainability – into one great-tasting, organic snack bar.” She launched the company on Washington’s west side and moved the production facility to the Spokane Valley in 2004. Today her healthy, gluten-free nutrition products – including gourmet pet treats – are sold throughout North America. Liz is the company president.
What brought Liz and Glenn Ward to Spokane: After ten years on the west side, we were ready to give up the high cost of living and daily three-hour commutes. We looked all around the Northwest and chose Spokane because of its marvelous, accessible recreation, excellent schools, cool neighborhoods, and available manufacturing facilities. Driving around the South Hill looking at great houses for very reasonable prices, and seeing how far our dollars would go for quality industrial space, we were sold. We bought a house within walking distance of a wonderful public elementary school, and leased space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park for a fraction of what we paid in the Seattle area.
BumbleBar’s evolution: Since moving here, we’ve more than quadrupled the size of our production facility, to 36,000 square feet.
Spokane’s advantages: The low cost of doing business, combined with an excellent talent pool and shorter commutes, have contributed considerably to our ability to grow our business. And the Spokane culture is exceptionally friendly and open. People tend to be much more interconnected and share a spirit of collaboration. When we moved here, one of our neighbors held a block party to welcome us!
Ways the city has changed: There are more food options, both restaurants and grocery stores. Also lots of improvements in the infrastructure – from the Spokane International Airport to Riverfront Park, Main Street, and the South Perry business district. Numerous projects have made Spokane a prettier, more modern place to live and visit.
The community’s greatest assets: Friendly people, the many universities and colleges in the area, and proximity to natural beauty and recreation.
Goals she would like Spokane to embrace: Continue making Spokane even more livable through increased access to safer and more comfortable biking, walking and public transit.
New businesses that would be a good fit: Natural foods and outdoor recreation, as well as any Internet-based business.
The best part about living here: I love how easy it is! There is so much to explore and do within just a few hours of Spokane. I like the many lakes and rivers. I am originally from the Midwest, and I will never tire of how breathtakingly beautiful this region is. And on the way back from amazing weekend adventures, I love not getting hung up in traffic.