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In May of 2006, Layman Lumber ceased production after 50 years. The management team and several key employees remained. After retooling the old mill into a woodshop, and retraining the mill workers, we opened LaKat Gallery on Highway 12 in Naches, just 12 miles west of Yakima.

LaKat is a photo and crafts gallery featuring the skills of our talented craftsmen. All photographs are printed at Layman Lumber studios and all frames are made from wood produced at the mill before it was closed. With few exceptions, the handicrafts use Layman Lumber wood.

Framed Photographs

Every frame is hand crafted and uniquely designed for each photograph. No two frames are exactly alike as they are made one at a time by our craftsmen. Each frame is stained, lacquered or sprayed individually. Each mat is designed and cut in our studio to best suit the individual photograph.

LaKat Gallery photographs are designed to give you many years of enjoyment. We use ultraviolet ink to print the pictures and Tru Vue conservation clear glass for additional protection. Matboards are made of alpha-cellulose (wood pulp) fibers that have been chemically treated to eliminate the acids and lignins that can degrade the matboard and artwork.


Wood Handicrafts

All handicrafts are produced in our workshop by our staff with local materials, much from our own mill. The creations featured include: birdhouses, hanging plaques, wood burning designs, napkin holders (both wood and horseshoe), book shelves, display shelves, jewelry boxes, quilt chests, wooden chests, bookends, log furniture, and even a rocking horse. Our artisans are constantly creating new items for your enjoyment.

Please come and experience the wonderful atmosphere and original one of a kind products at LaKat Gallery!

La Kat Gallery wins award

La Kat Gallery tied for first place in the 2008 Yakima Business Times "Best in the Valley" recognitions ... for Best New Business.

LaKat Gallery
10201 Highway 12
Naches, Washington 98937
Tel. (509) 653-1350, 653-2221
Fax (509) 653-1287
Website www.lakatgallery.com

LaKat Gallery is located just west of the traffic light on Highway 12, next to the Shell station.
Google Maps link

Map to La Kat Gallery

The Secret Is Out: LaKat Gallery Opening In Naches

Yakima Valley Business Times
March 14, 2008
By Carrie Snider

Perhaps you’ve heard the rumor – something is happening at the old Casper’s restaurant in Naches. Until you step inside and see what the owners have been up to for the past year, you won’t believe the transformation.

A year ago, Larry and Kathy Kratzer bought the building and literally gutted the place. But this isn’t your typical renovation. Their goal was to open a business in Naches like no other – an upscale photo gallery. They intentionally kept the details a secret.

“We were low key. We wanted to go for the ‘wow’ factor,” said Larry.

At the grand opening to be held April 3, 2008 no doubt they will see a lot of surprised looks and even hear some “wows” as curious patrons pass through LaKat’s doors and see for themselves the array of photography adorning the gallery.

From the snow-capped mountains of Greenland to the buildings at Red Square in Russia, it’s all on display at LaKat Gallery in Naches. The mix of traditional to modern photography is quite stunning. And what has been done to the building is a masterpiece itself.

The old brick building stands in the middle of town at 10201 Highway 12 – home over the years to an auto dealership, the U.S. Forest Service, and then several restaurants. It’s most recent vacancy came at the right time. The Kratzers had wanted to open a gallery and were in the position to start the process.
Utilizing Fickel & Son Construction, they added a step-down ceiling for a more dramatic lighting effect, a brand new entryway added onto the side, a unique reception counter with intricate woodwork, and “bathrooms that rival the Venetian in Las Vegas,” according to Jim Fickel.

But to truly understand what went into this transformation, you’d have to know a little about the Kratzers.

Behind the Scenes

This couple has a quiet sweetness about them, but they are very savvy business people. At the core of their beliefs is to never do anything halfway. LaKat Gallery is no exception.

Kathy’s father owned Layman Lumber in Naches, and eventually the couple moved to the area to help out. They closed the mill awhile back, but kept on some craftsmen behind the scenes to develop skills in preparation for future projects of a very different nature.

“We saw potential,” said Larry. “We retooled the mill. This project has been a group effort. We have some very talented people working for us. They are eager to learn new things.”

When you walk in the doors of LaKat Gallery, perhaps even more amazing than the stunning photos is the fact that the Kratzers employees have a hand in the details.

They milled and prepared the wood for each one of the frames in the gallery. From rustic to modern, each frame is custom-built for the photograph it highlights.

The Kratzers decided to buy a matting machine, and now Kathy and another employee do the matting work themselves. Each and every matte is handpicked and custom designed for each photo.

The workers also built the freestanding display units where the photos hang.

The Kratzers also purchased a photo-printing machine and print the photos themselves.

Photography on Display

So just who took all these photos that the Kratzers have taken such care in displaying?

Larry himself took most of them. He has been taking photographs for years, and now he has the perfect place to display them.

Under the bright pendant lights, with images from the local area to far abroad, he can name the locations and story behind each of his photos.

Other photographers featured in LaKat are his son-in-law and a friend in Australia. A few nonphotography art pieces at the gallery are old saw blades from the mill painted by local artist Shawn Eby. They’ve also uniquely framed a few old comic books and magazines.

The Kratzers craftsmen have also been busy for the past year hand-building gift items for the gallery – a standing boat-shaped shelving unit, birdhouses, keepsake boxes and more. Cards will also be made from photos and sold as thank you cards, postcards, etc.

Beyond the main gallery area is a separate room that houses a special collection of photographs. On display are an industrial series that commemorate the old mill, telling the story of part of the history of the area. The photos were taken by an employee.

There is also another room where the Kratzers plan to host special events and showings at the gallery.
The gallery will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Ginger Carlton is the gallery manager.
The Kratzers’ attention to detail during the process also extended into conservation of building materials. The main flooring is eco-friendly and is made from the bark of a specific tree, whose bark regrows leaving the tree unharmed.

Naches Trend

With the recent growth in Naches, from new business popping up in the area and housing developments going in, the Kratzers hope the gallery can be part of the growth.

They will depend on out-of-town tourists who pass through to stop in. Also, with the up-and-coming Tieton transformation into a more art-loving town, they hope to attract some of those same visitors. They also hope local people will take the time to tour the gallery as well.

“Naches is just 12 miles from Yakima by freeway.” Said Larry. “It’s a very quick drive. We hope to entice people to come here.”

If you are a cat lover, this gallery is for you – the logo for LaKat, developed by their daughter, Angie Bruce, is a cheerful feline that is honored on the front of the building and throughout the inside, even as part of some of the lighting. The Kratzers even printed some photos of their own beloved cats, and they hang in a place of honor right by the reception counter.

Lest you think LaKat is a French word for cats, think again – LaKat is short for Larry and Kathy, the two people who put their heart and soul into what is sure to be a Naches gem.

“LaKat” is worth a visit

Marlene’s Upper Valley Press
April 16, 2008
By Vera Backstrom

Born into the Layman family, Kathy married Larry Kratzer and shared life with him in Long Beach for 30 years where he taught grade school. A few years ago Larry retired from teaching and the Kratzers moved back to Naches and took over the family business, Layman Lumber Company.

Naches’ new business, LaKat – named after co-owners Larry and Kathy Kratzer – is an outlet for Layman Lumber Company. As you know, Layman Lumber Company is no longer operating as a sawmill, but the Kratzers and their 13 remaining employees – family and friends – are using wood to create a variety of beautiful products. 100% hand made by local artisans . . . there are a number of different items on display and for sale.

I paid a fun visit to “LaKat” last weekend. There was mention of this new gallery in the last issue of Upper Valley Press, and let me tell you it is definitely worth a visit, and a purchase. The store is located on Highway 12 just past the Shell Station at the light on the way out of town.

Larry and Kathy love to travel, and love to photograph what they see. They have obviously traveled far afield as you can see from the vibrant photos decorating the display boards at LaKat. Larry prints his favorite photos with a 42 inch color printer. Custom mats are then cut for those photos (and those of the other four photographers featured at LaKat), and custom wood frames are crafted at the Layman Lumber work site. These large framed and matted photographs make a great display and are ready for hanging in your home.

There are also very reasonably priced greeting cards made from some of these photos. They have framed some classic comic books and old magazines in a way that you can take the items out and read them. From wood the team has crafted unique bird houses, wall hangings, quilt chests, and other items. Kathy has knit some unusual scarves and hats, too. In other words, there is great variety in the shop. You can even sit and watch a slide show of the renovations of the building over the past few months into LaKat!

A visit to LaKat is as stimulating as a trip to an art gallery. It’s wonderful to see this local quality craftsmanship and ingenuity. Hopefully the Kratzers’ excellent location at the light on Highway 12 will help the business thrive as it’s one we can all be proud of when we highlight our town.

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