Pybus Public Market houses more than 20 restaurants, shops and specialty stores inside a former steel warehouse on the Columbia River waterfront in Wenatchee. In addition, on the grounds outside, up to 35 vendors associated with the Wenatchee Farmers Market sell fruits and vegetables grown in the Wenatchee Valley from May till October.
Pybus Market first opened its doors in May 2013 amid much anticipation in the community. The Port of Chelan County acquired the property in 2010 and later worked with private investors Mike and JoAnn Walker and the City of Wenatchee to convert the 28,000-square-foot structure — a football field in length — into a functioning and lively market. Total cost of the project was $10 million.
The name for the market comes from E.T. Pybus, who owned the steel warehouse at the site for decades. In converting the structure, designers retained the structure's industrial flair. Corrugated steel was used for the walls and the fixtures recall a bygone era. The outside features a large red sign similar to the one seen at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market to welcome visitors.
Pybus is located adjacent to the 10-mile-long Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail along the Columbia River. The core of historic downtown Wenatchee is two blocks to the west.
Other features include an eight-foot bronze statue of E.T. Pybus, a commercial food demonstration kitchen, outside patio seating, picnic benches, bike rentals, and a flatbed railroad car that sits on original tracks and is used as a stage by performers.
- Steve Robinson, Pybus Public Market Executive Director, (509) 888-3900
The steel warehouse, from which Pybus Public Market came to be, was built in 1946 by E.T. Pybus. A native of England, Pybus arrived in Wenatchee in 1911 as a 37-year old. A year later, he purchased a blacksmith shop where he welded and fabricated metal as well as worked on wagons and machinery.
During World War II, Pybus began hauling scrap steel from Pasco to Wenatchee. In 1946, he built an enormous steel warehouse, using some of that material, near what is now Worthen Street and Orondo Avenue. The business thrived for many years, producing steel for Northwest dams, shipyards, and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Pybus died in 1961 at age 88 and his Pybus Steel Co. was sold a few years later. The business continued operating for several decades but sales slowed following construction of the last dams in the region.
In 2010, the last business in the building closed. That same year, the Port of Chelan County purchased the vacant warehouse from Morse Steel with the joint vision with the City of Wenatchee of developing a public market.
Partnership History and Improvements
Pybus Public Market traces its beginnings to the decision in 2010 by the Port of Chelan County to buy the old and then-vacant steel warehouse for $1.33 million and turn it into a year-round public market, which would stimulate private investment along Wenatchee's waterfront.
The idea attracted Mike and JoAnn Walker, who regularly exercised across the street at Gold's Gym. Mike Walker had memories of the steel mill from his youth and was worried the badly deteriorating World War II-era building might be torn down. In 2011, Walker inquired if the property was for sale. The Port countered with the notion the two parties enter into a partnership, with the port retaining ownership, renovating the structure and then in turn leasing it to Walker.
The Walkers agreed, investing $3 million of their own money, and creating a non-profit foundation to run the market. The Port had $1.35 million slated for construction. The City of Wenatchee secured a $1.4 million grant.
Work began in 2012, with Pybus Public Market opening in May 2013.
Today, the market is operating under a 50-year lease from the Port of Chelan County, and attracting a mix of tourists and locals. For the community, it has become a major gathering spot, just as the Port, the Walkers and the City had envisioned. Others have taken note. In May 2015, KING-TV's Evening Magazine show named Pybus Public Market the state's number one market.
- Address: 7 N. Worthen St., Wenatchee, (509) 888-3900
- Size: 2.45 acres
- Topography: Level and graded with street frontages
- Within an Urban Growth Area: Yes
- Zoning: Waterfront Mixed Use (City of Wenatchee)
- Utilities and Services: Water, sewer, telephone, Internet, electricity
- Roads: The property is located on Worthen Street, which runs parallel to the Columbia River. Highway 28 is about two miles away and Highway 2/97 is about four miles away. Interstate-90, via Highway 28 and Quincy, is 40 miles away.
- Air: The regional Wenatchee Airport, with connecting service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, is 4 miles away.
- Rail Access: Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks run next to the property but there is no siding. Amtrak passenger trains stop at Wenatchee's Columbia Station, located four blocks away.
- Public Transit: Link stops at Pybus and elsewhere in Wenatchee and serves all cities in Chelan and Douglas counties.
The City of Wenatchee (population of 33,070 in 2014) is part of the Wenatchee Metropolitan Area (population of 110,884 in 2010), which is comprised of not only Wenatchee but also the City of East Wenatchee and the towns of Rock Island and Malaga, and surrounding unincorporated areas. The main economic sectors in Wenatchee and the Wenatchee Valley include agriculture, tourism, medical and professional services, utilities, and government services. Because of its geographic attributes along the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains, the valley has long been known for its recreational attributes.
The Columbia River flows through the Wenatchee area, bisecting the cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, as well as Chelan and Douglas counties.
The state's largest city, Seattle, is located 140 miles to the west of Wenatchee. Another large city, Spokane, is 160 miles to the east. Yakima is 124 miles to the south. Portland, Ore., is 290 miles to the southwest.