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Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
December 3, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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December 3, 2015

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' - " ..... - .......... ~';:!.,~;.~:; CHENEY FREE PRESS Thursday, December3,2015 II Manufacturer supplies unique equipment to ceramics industry By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Many parts of the world come to Cheney and Eastern Washington Uni- versity for education. What is not so evident is that other parts of the world also do business with a Cheney company that manufactures unique prod- ucts for the ceramics industry. North Star Manufacturing is lo- cated on First Street west of town in a steel-sided building in Cheney's Tech- nological Park and supplies ceramics businesses with three primary products: slab rollers, extruders and a device called a shelf truck. North Star makes what is called "sec- ondary studio equipment." Almost all 9f their products, outside of a few compo- nents, are manufactured in Cheney "Our bread and butter product is called the slab roller," owner Rhonda Elliott said of the device that sells for $929.95 and transforms clay into a fiat sheet. The extruder makes clay into a spe- cific shape with prices starting at $370. The shelf truck holds the finished, or nearly-completed products, and with a cover can provide a controlled environ- ment, it allows a potter to continue to work on a piece. It retails at $659. Within the wails of North Star is virtu- ally every piece of equipment any mod- em manufacturer might need including a full machine and paint shop - complete with powder coating - and an enormous computer controlled router. North Star Manufacturing in Cheney, owned by specialized equipment for the ceramics industry Every one of North Star's machin- ists are over 65 years-old, Elliott said, "Our work ethic goes like this; if you're over 50 you know what one is." Some equipment North Star uses is also "old school," with one of the lathes dating back to the 1930s. "We moved to Cheney in 1991 and at that point we had none of this stuff," Elliott said. "We had almost every part made elsewhere, we brought them into the old Sears building, actually, painted them, packaged them and shipped them out." Relying on contractors that might not have had the same standards was a problem. "We decided that the only way we weregoing to have decent quality control Photo by Paul Delaney Rhonda Elliott (pictured), builds and sells worldwide. -- and we were getting busier and busier and busier - was if we do this ourselves and we control as much of it as we can," EUiott explained. That occurred in 2003 with the move to the present building. Before landing in Cheney, the com- pany that traces its roots to Texas and Elliott's late husband, Bob Creighton, had been located all over the Northwest. After Texas, North Star moved to Se- attle, Cusick, Coeur d'Alene, Sandpoint, Omak and finally Cheney. When operating in Omak the company was growing rapidly Elliott said. The moves came because North Star was out- growing the space it was renting, but relo- cating to Cheney had another motive. "We were killing ourselves driving from Omak to Spokane to get parts, (with) a three hour trip (six hours both ways), two or three times a week" E1- liott said. As they looked for the next place to locate after Omak, Elliott said, "We needed to move, we knew most of our suppliers were in Spokane but we didn't want to live in Spokane. What we did was get out a map and drew a circle around every town that was within 30 minutes of Spokane." A call to the Cheney Chamber of Commerce and the interest they showed sold Creighton and Elliott on the city. Creighton, passed away in 2011 after a life-long battle with diabetes. North Star currently employs 12 people, but that number fluctuates, E1- liott said. At least 30 percent of North Star's business revolves around school art programs and ebbs and flows ac- cordingly. " It used to be in July the business was slow and then super busy in September when schools ramped up again. "We're always really busy in November and December," Elliott said. That was the pattern until 2007 with what has become known as the Great Recession hit. "Everything basically went to hell and I don't know how we survived it," Elliott said. In addition to schools, North Star has a network of distributors both do- mestically and worldwide. About 20 percent of the business for the company belongs to hobby potters, but that num- ber varies because some of that market is also retail. Internationally, North Star does business in Denmark -- one of their See North Star page 9 EMV card b By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter With credit card fraud striving to become the national pastime of the criminal element, finan- cial institutions are in the process of fighting back. Their weapons of choice are credit and debit cards with a funny- looking metallic splotch called an EMV chip. EMV stands for Europay, Mas- terCard and Visa, the three companies that originally created the standard. As the Christmas buy- ing season is upon cus- tomers across the United States, some will have the enhanced card and some not. The same holds true locally. "We're in the friends and family pilot stage," Cheney Federal Credit Union's chief operations officer Lynn Mount said. Cards have been is- sued to employees to do transactions at a variety of merchants. The idea is to see how well - or not - the cards are working and report accordingly. "That way our employ- ees, once we start issuing them to the membership, will be able to explain gin to filter into market (how they work)," Mount said. EMV-equipped cards have also been issued to a couple of CFCU mem- bers in Germany to see how foreign transactions work. Europe embraced the use of the chip card long before the United States. Spokane Teachers Credit Union started is- suing credit cards with EMV chips about a year ago to members who frequently travel interna- tionally, communications manager Dan Hansen wrote in an email. "Those members were a priority because other countries are way ahead of the United States in accepting chip cards. In some cases, travelers find that traditional cards with magnetic strips were not being accepted overseas," Hansen said. On the banking side, the business owners who will be most affected by the switch from tradi- tional magnetic strip, or 'mag cards," is one of the concerns of Kelly McPhee, vice president of commu- nications and public rela- tions at Banner Bank. "We want our busi- Photo by Paul Delaney EMV chips will become more common for customers of banks and credit unions in 2016. ness owners to under~ stand that the liability has shifted to them," McPhee said, explaining that with magnetic strip cards any fraudulent use was the responsibility of the financial institu- tion. With the EMV cards there's what McPhee calls a complete paradigm shift. "That's a big change for a business owner to understand that if they choose not to implement the new chip technology, as far as accepting the cards - they absolutely have that leeway - then they need to accept the financial loss," McPhee explained. Cost of the new tech- nology has been the pri- mary reason many banks and credit unions have See EMV page 9 Dr, David Turner, DMD Modern Most dental dentistry insurances with 01daccepted fashioned including Tricare care ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS Davenport Family Dentistpj 707 Logan St., Davenport, WA 509-725-1181 "BREAKFAST WITH SANTA & GIFT BAZAARTM Saturday, December 12th 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Cheney High School Cafeteria a cra . Sh~ yew C~ ~hea with Sa~ua aad get yow picuce wJ~ Bn se ho//&y g/# boz gqt/&as k/& a&/ts. B RF a AST: $5 per l rso. The CHS Class of 2016 " A/l-Nigfiter Graduat/on Party J The best chicken and fish in town/ Side Orders: Mashed Potatoes & Gravy ,. Corn , Green Beans Macaroni & Cheese Potato Wedges EVERYDAY! VISIT US A T Drive Thru Open 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 pro. 116 W. 1st, Cheney, WA 235-4222