May 25th, 2019
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07/30/2004 - Rings & Things Expands

The economic development opportunities from optical fiber have been touted far and wide. Rings & Things, the Terabyte Triangle's international wholesaler of jewelry making supplies, has found a new use for fiber. Optical fibers are fused and then machine-cut into shimmering beads.

"Optical fiber beads have flash and fire that set them apart" according to the Rings & Things Web site. These beads are also known as "synthetic cat's eye" beads and come in fifteen colors. Made in China, their "rich chatoyancy" (shimmer) is their most coveted and characteristic feature. These beads and everything else Rings & Things sells can be purchased through their Web site at

The Rings & Things Web site is huge. It contains their entire four hundred page wholesale catalogue --- much of it in color. In addition there is another nearly four hundred pages of information including a Gem Stone Index. This index includes such information as mineral lore, what a gem is also known as, and even a bit of "new age" values and characteristics. Although large, the site is easily navigated with alphabetically arranged items and a very useable site search engine. Their on-line store is as large as the catalogue, and it was created in-house and programmed in Hazel.

Rings & Things Wholesale is now thirty-one years old and is bursting at the seams at their current location in the Bon Macy's building. To relieve the pressure, the business has purchased the "big concrete box" at 304 E 2nd Ave. The new premises will more than double their current square footage. According to Russ Nobbs and Dee Mueller, Rings & Things Principals, the remodeling plans for the new headquarters will require about three months; followed by three months of build out. Because the bidding process hasn't been completed, the actual cost of the remodel is as yet unknown, but may go as high as $300,000.

Nobbs and Mueller are working with the Interdisciplinary Design Institute students and adjunct faculty at Washington State University Spokane on the remodeling plans. Ideas range through straw bale insulation, solar panels for redundant power, environmentally efficient windows, and a three-season outdoor balcony break room for the employees.

Although Nobbs and Mueller claim they run a low-tech business, they are looking forward to being able to plan and execute well documented LANs (Local Area Network) for their new building. They will need a minimum of three LANs. The new location will have a server room to house their current seven servers, with room for growth. The server room will have everything that such a facility needs --- air conditioning, redundant power, and fire suppression. Their seventy plus computers will have well-planned circuits.

The building at 304 E 2nd has an interesting history. Beginning in 1911, the site was occupied by the Settler Box Company. This company built paper boxes. They sold to the Ainslie Box Company in 1920. The original building burned in 1946, and the existing concrete structure was built that same year. The property was sold in 1960 to the Rural Electrification Administration which later became Inland Power and Light. The building was next sold to Pacific Wholesale Florist Inc. who was the seller to Nobbs and Mueller doing business as Rutabaga Properties, LLC.

Billie Moreland
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