EOTP – Business, Rising Star and Non-Profit

Since 2014, The Entrepreneur of the Palouse Awards have celebrated those businesses and individuals that best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of our region. The awards are broken into three categories: Business, Rising Star, and Non-Profit.

With nominations in process for this year’s awards, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a look back at past winners for inspiration and to further highlight their remarkable contributions to the business ecosystem here on the Palouse.


Our inaugural awards in 2014 are a little different in that we had not yet added the Non-Profit component.

  • Individual: Gropp Heating, Air & Electric
    • For 28 years, Scott Gropp and his company has been the premiere provider of heating, air, and electric services on the Palouse. Born and raised in Moscow, as well as raising three of his own lovely children in the area, Scott prides himself on “maintaining great relationships with his customers and understanding the importance of their contributions to the community.”
  • Rising Star: College Hill Custom Threads
    • Started above a bar in Pullman, WA, Tony Poston’s company has gone on to be one of the leaders in creating custom apparel for fraternities, sororities, and athletic organizations across hundreds of campuses nationwide. As his company has grown, Tony has employed scores of Coug and Vandal students and alumni, passing on his overwhelming passion and dedication to customer service and philanthropy to a slew of young professionals.
  • Business: Biketronics
    • Owner and founder Mike Meehan combined two of his passions, Harley Davidson motorcycles and electronic engineering, into a thriving homegrown business. In addition to providing a multitude of ingenious products from on-bike radio and speaker systems to lighting controls, Mike and Donna have made their fabrication equipment and resources available to the community, allowing others to refine their skills and create the products of their dreams.


2015 recipients are as follows:

  • Business: Sangria Grille
    • Chef/owners Carly Lilly and George Skandalos are overjoyed to share their love for Peruvian food and drink with the Moscow community, which they also adore. From years of traipsing through the Moscow Farmer’s Market for the freshest, most delectable produce, Sangria now has an established relationship with over 25 local farmers, ranchers, and artisans.
  • Non-Profit: Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse
    • For 35 years, this vital organization has served victims of domestic and sexual assault by providing them the support, resources, and tools necessary to feel empowered to take control of their lives in the wake of such traumatic circumstances. Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse offers as much information and practical help to allow people to regain confidence, self-control, and agency for themselves and for their families.
  • Rising Star: College Cabs

In addition to providing safe, reliable transportation for folks throughout the Moscow/Pullman area, College Cabs is proud to build relationships and provide jobs for many people throughout the Palouse.


2016 recipients include:

  • Business: Schweitzer Engineering Labs
    • For over 30 years, SEL has been working to make electrical power safer, more reliable, and more economical for communities around the world. SEL has cultivated excellent relationships with the local universities and residents, and it has also engendered a strong sense of community both in and out of work.
  • Non-Profit: Latah Trail Foundation
    • Combining conservation and convenience, the Latah Trail Foundation formed to preserve the Moscow-Arrow railroad corridor for non-motorized recreational and transportation use.
  • Rising Star: Poppy, Eco-Friendly Salon and Spa
    • As the name intimates, Poppy offers all the usual salon and spa treatments with an unusual attention to detail and overall skill, while also using products that are free of ammonia and other common chemicals endemic to typical beauty products.


2017 award-winners are:

  • Business: Austin and Lora Storm
    • The Storms own and oversee several businesses in Moscow, including The Storm Cellar, and have had in remodeling and redesigning several other spaces in Downtown Moscow. The Storms use their position in the community to give back to countless local projects and have a special affinity for supporting the arts and artists, as well as encouraging the reuse, re-purposing, and recycling of items.
  • Rising Star: Troy Zakariasen
    • Troy started PACT EMS, an ALS-licensed ambulance company, after recognizing the stark need for additional round transportation between local hospitals and care facilities while he was volunteering through the Moscow Volunteer Ambulance Company. In addition to providing timely, professional transportation at critical times, Troy has cultivated a strong group of community-minded employees, where he facilitates their higher education by helping with paramedic school and encourages them to spend parts of their time off volunteering for local EMS agencies.
  • Non-Profit:Friends of the Neill Public Library
    • The FNPL dedicate more than 1,000 hours and thousands of dollars each year to support the library’s many community services and programs, including the Summer Reading Community Literacy Program, assembling literacy packets for Pullman Regional Hospital’s new parents and children, and the public Book Sale, as well as insuring commonly-used services like printing from library computers and acquiring requested titles are available to all residents.


2018 Entrepreneurs of the Palouse are:

  • Business: Allegra Printing and Image 360
    • Trent Bice, a lifelong veteran of the printing industry, has owned and operated Allegra for more than 23 years. With three fulltime designers, a wealth of experience, and a plethora of state of the art technology, Allegra is more than capable of creating remarkable products under even the most stringent of deadlines. A family business in the truest sense, Trent’s kindness and care for his customers and the community at large is something all business owners should aspire to.
  • Rising Star: Sam’s Apothecary
    • Kraig Brown named his shop after his late mother, and he honors her legacy with his center for holistic healing on the Palouse. Offering everything from custom essential oil concoctions to herbal teas and ointments, as well as classes ranging from Raiki to Tarot readings, Kraig uses local-sourced products whenever possible and has sought to develop mutually-beneficial relationships with many local businesses in order to better the holistic health of all Palouse residents.
  • Non-Profit: Backyard Harvest
    • Backyard harvest gleans, gathers, and grows produce to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to those who would otherwise not have access to such foods. In addition to partnering with private gardeners, local farms, and community gardens, Backyard Harvest has also developed programs to teach gardening and cultivations skills, as well as ensuring that EBT and other forms of government assistance can be used at the Moscow Farmer’s Market.


We would like to extend hearty congratulations once again to each of these wonderful businesses and the work they do on behalf of the whole Palouse community.  If these examples remind you of a business or person you know, please visit btebootcamp.com and share your thoughts with us.