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Honoring Bob Stanley

Bob Stanley was a prominent businessman who owned several businesses, the largest being Stan’s Merry Mart. He started this store as a small military surplus store after WWII on South Wenatchee Avenue. It grew into what is now a large general hardware and variety store. 

Before his death, Bob felt a strong need to contribute to his community. Bob made a donation of one million dollars to the nonprofit Supporters of the Center “SOC,”  which was the precursor to today’s Numerica Performing Arts Center.

Bob Stanley’s gift proved crucial because our downtown performing arts center would never have become a reality without this gift. The SOC was worried about the rising costs of construction and whether it would be able to raise enough seed money. With Bob’s contribution, there was now enough momentum for the SOC to seek state funding. Legislators Rep. Linda Parlette, Sen. George Sellar, and Rep. Clyde Ballard (who was Speaker of the House at that time) were approached. As a result, the legislature allocated three million dollars to the project. With eventual success now more likely, a number of large donations followed from such donors as the Gates Foundation, Grady Auvil, Stemilt, Harriet Bullet, Jim Goodfellow, and many others. 

The community’s indebtedness to Bob Stanley is best expressed by how the late Wilfred Woods described it in his article on how the performing arts complex was developed: “On a blustery Friday afternoon, Wenatchee Avenue was blocked off in front of the Rose/Wade building, and Stanley announced the gift before a local crowd of three hundred interested citizens, including Rep. Clyde Ballard, Rep. Dale Foreman, and Sen. George Sellar. His gift put the campaign over the $2.5 million mark. It did more than that. It persuaded many local folks and our legislators that a performing arts center was really on the way. The organization honored Bob Stanley by naming the whole civic center complex in his name, with the approval of the city.”

The Stanley Lifetime Achievement Awards were created in 2002 to honor the life-long arts and culture commitment of Mr. Bob Stanley.  Each award is presented at the Numerica Festival of Trees’ Holiday Spice performance to an individual who is a volunteer supporter, artist, and/or musician, or a teacher of the arts.