Reber Ranch has come up big as a small business.
A neighborhood favorite, the full-service veterinarian, pet supply and food store that sits on Lea Hill between Kent and Auburn, at 28606 132nd Ave. SE, recently was selected as the King County Rural Small Business of the Year.
“This is an amazing family because, as I tell people from the heart, they put their money where their heart is … that means they support the community,” Bill Greene, Reber Ranch’s general manager, told a small gathering for an award-recognition ceremony outside the store on Sept. 26. “This family has been here for 35 years. We’re on the third generation. … It’s exciting to see that the good things that have started are going to continue.
“This is a really nice honor, and I appreciate our business partners … and customers.”
Reber Ranch was one of seven small businesses from the county to be honored at the eighth annual King County Executive’s Small Business Awards on Sept. 20 at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center. Judges from chambers of commerce throughout the region chose the winners, using criteria like customer service, community involvement and business model innovation.
Hundreds of nominations were narrowed down to 28 finalists in seven categories, representing 24 of the 39 cities in King County as well as unincorporated areas.
Reber Ranch, which was established in 1984, is a feed store that offers a 14,000-square-foot retail store stocked with pet food, supplies, treats, toys, beds and supplements. Services include a grooming salon, do-it-yourself dog wash, veterinary hospital and free outdoor dog parks.
“It’s a special place,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph. “We are excited that King County has recognized what we have known all along.”
Two other Kent businesses were finalists: Sidetrack Distillery in the Rural Small Business of the Year category and PowerScreen of Washington in the Workforce Development Small Business of the Year division.
Sidetrack Distillery is a family-operated enterprise that produces hand-crafted liqueurs, brandies and specialty spirits. The distillery rests on Lazy River Farm, a 7-acre spread that includes manicured gardens, orchards and berry patches. Fruit, herbs and nuts grown on the farm feed an old world-style distiller, which produces many flavors that are served up to customers in a tasting room.
“It’s a labor of love. We still love to farm,” said operator Larry Person, a retired man who grew up in Auburn and worked in construction for most of his life. The family has served as a careful steward of the historic farmstead in a sustainable, natural way for the past 25 years.
PowerScreen of Washington is a distributor for industry leaders in the design and manufacture of dry screening, washing, crushing and recycling equipment. Its equipment targets the quarry, mining, landfill and waste management industries.