Leslie Freytag is retiring after taking Pybus Market to new heights
Leslie Freytag, the executive director at Pybus Public Market and its charitable foundation, has announced that she’ll be retiring and the search is on for someone to take the reins of this community gem and build on its remarkable success.
Freytag, 70, said it is time to spend time with her grandchild in San Francisco and step out of active management roles, although she said she is open to returning as a board member down the road. Freytag took over in 2019 from Steve Robinson, who was instrumental in laying the foundation for the success of the market. He was the right man for the job when he was hired to figure out how to make the market work from the ground up. I had the honor of working with Steve as The Wenatchee World’s general manager for a number of years and he was instrumental in our success.
That Freytag was available and willing to come out of retirement to run the market the past few years as a transitional leader was serendipitous. She only planned to stay two years.
Thanks to her leadership skills and deep management experience of Freytag, Pybus Market has continued to operate profitably throughout the pandemic, which is no small feat. Freytag has earned high marks for preparing Pybus Market and its foundation for the future.
When Freytag took the reins of the market and the foundation two years ago, she spent six months listening, learning and trying to understand the dynamics of operating the market. She was starting to make some adjustments when the Covid situation emerged and that changed everything. The focus became adapting to evolving health rules and working to keep the market and its businesses going. She’s proud that no businesses have closed because of the pandemic.
In every crisis, there are opportunities for growth, and so it was with the pandemic. Freytag told me that they used the time to lay the groundwork for the future, revamping the staffing plan and beginning the process of planning for future development at the market. A compelling new website was created.
Now Pybus Public Market is ready for new leadership to take it to the next level. Freytag is part of the search committee, which includes Ron Berschauer, JoAnn Walker, Allison Foreman and Steve Lee. Now, that’s a powerhouse group of people.
One thing that will change is the title of the market’s executive, Berschauer and Walker told me. They’ve decided that the role is best described as a general manager because it is a hands-on job. There is a staff of five full and part-time employees who keep the market running seven days a week.
The market has had two spots open for some time after the departure of Wenatchee Brewing Company and Pybus Bistro. Opening soon will be the restaurant Huck @ Pybus and Hellbent Brewing out of Seattle. The Wild Huckleberry should do extremely well at Pybus and Hellbent should bring a youthful vibe to the nightlife.
Freytag just loves the market and what it means to the community. “It is such a special place,” Freytag marveled. The tagline of the market, “where community meets,” reflects that commitment to serving the entire community and enhancing the quality of life. That tagline reflects the reality of Pybus Public Market.
Freytag, Berschauer and Walker are hoping the new general manager of Pybus and its foundation will be someone who lives in North Central Washington and understands our culture and history or perhaps someone who has lived here and moved away.
One final exciting development is that at the Taste of Pybus fundraiser coming up Oct. 2, they’ll be unveiling a plan to enhance the beauty of the west side of the market and fix the uneven concrete that has created a challenge.
I love change and I’m excited about how Pybus will continue to evolve. This community treasure is helping us further build and enhance the quality of life here.