Everyone needs to come check out the West End of downtown!
This is the advice of Andrea Williams, Chief Marketing Officer at The Woodshop, a full-service marketing agency located on the second level of the Electric Building at 122 South Monroe Street.
“I’m a downtown girlie, I call it,” said Williams. “I love the whole west end. There are all these great things happening, and it’s so cool to be able to work and play on this side.”
From the brewery scene to bakeries, fun shopping places to fitness classes at The Union (where Williams is training to be a spin instructor!), the West End is also a popular place to call home.
In fact, living at The Madison, Williams enjoys just a two-minute stroll to work through Railroad Alley.
Don’t let the word “alley” conjure up shady images in your mind. Located between Monroe and Madison, Railroad Alley is wide, walkable, clean, and gorgeous with exposed brick and cobblestone, lights and balconies, and patios in the summer, courtesy of The Woodshops’ downstairs neighbors, Heritage Bar & Kitchen and Whistle Punk Brewing.
Having lived in the West End of downtown Spokane her entire adult life, Williams is a natural advertiser for all the businesses in the area. She can tell you about the ultimate comfort food (Heritage’s “The Fancy Nancy,” a handmade meat pie stuffed with seasoned beef, onion, tomatoes and cheese) and why 90% of her mornings include a stop into First Avenue Coffee.
If there’s a meeting after three o’clock, you’ll likely find Williams and The Woodshop team at Whistle Punk Brewing.
“They brew over 100 different beers every year and their tap list is constantly changing, so you’re never going to get bored,” shared Williams.
In her role at The Woodshop, Williams said it’s always been a goal to work with as many downtown businesses as possible because that’s just her natural lifestyle and consumer behavior.
This past year has been particularly fun for The Woodshop, working with West End businesses they support and engage with personally all the time.
Their projects included creating social media ads for Spokane Symphony and The Fox; packaging for Dry Fly Distilling; and brand messaging for the downtown Spokane Public Library, where they often hold client meetings, as you can reserve one of their beautiful brand-new conference rooms for free with your library card.
“I’m so proud that we get to help showcase our downtown community,” shared Williams.
The Woodshop’s location inside the Electric Building, a beautiful old brick building listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places, is a far cry from where founders Tony Baird and Jeremy McGee started the agency in 2016: inside an empty office in the valley at Zerorez Spokane, which McGee also owns.
The goal was always to get downtown, to be centrally located, where you can easily walk to client meetings or grab coffee or lunch.
“Spokane is very walkable,” said Williams. “I’ve never felt unsafe walking downtown. And I’ve been doing that for well over a decade.”
Outside of work, she often walks to Riverfront Park or to the new Downtown Spokane Dog Park on West Riverside Avenue with her two dachshunds.
Being part of a tight-knit community is another big perk of working downtown. If one business owner hosts an event, you’ll see everyone from the downtown crowd showing up to support them.
“It’s this small-town feel, even though Spokane isn’t that small,” explained Williams.
The West End of downtown used to be an industrial auto block, not a place to go exploring.
When Brick West Brewing Co. moved into the old Watts Automotive Building in January 2020, they pioneered the area’s redevelopment into what it is today: a walkable, well-lit area with all the food, fun and excitement you could want in a community.
With Brick West’s Farmers Markets every Monday in the summer and pumpkin patch in the fall, all the surrounding businesses have benefited from more foot traffic.
“I think they really deserve a lot of credit for getting more people into the west side of downtown and establishing that neighborhood feel,” said Williams.
Over the next ten years, Williams envisions the few remaining empty buildings becoming apartments or condos, adding to the vibrancy of the West End neighborhood – the place she loves to work and call home.