I’ll be out of the office until Monday, June 24. If there’s breaking local business news, please send my boss, Debbie Townsend, an email at email@example.com. Thanks! – Dave
Here’s a news release about Q Laundry, which is near Trader Joe’s:
Q Laundry plans to open its doors to the public on Thursday, June 20.
The new Bellingham-based business is located at 810 Alabama Street in Sunnyland Square (near Trader Joe’s).
The idea of opening an eco-friendly laundromat initially evolved from a personal feeling that something as basic and necessary as doing laundry was long overdue for improvement.
As owner of Q Laundry, Colleen Unema spent more than two years researching commercial laundry trends and working towards opening her state-of-the-art laundromat.
“From the start our goal was to erase old school laundromat images from people’s minds and show them smarter, cleaner, faster, and better ways to do their laundry. We want people to come in to Q Laundry and be amazed,” said Unema.
With that goal in mind, Unema says she is launching her start-up business based on four principles:
– Time is precious. State-of-art technology allows customers to do laundry faster than ever before. Instead of spending a whole day doing one load after another, it is possible to do all their laundry in about one hour.
– Make it pleasant. Laundry has to be done, but it doesn’t have to be dull, noisy, or scary. A clean and safe environment, comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi, helpful attendants, and a host of custom options add up to creating a pleasant experience from start to finish.
– Provide real and lasting value. Properly laundered clothing looks better and lasts longer. State-of-the-art techniques like perpetual rotation, automatic temperature adjustments and customized drying options keep garments and adventure equipment looking good longer.
– Environmental responsibility. The old approach of wasting water, electricity, and gas is simply not sustainable–or justifiable when better options exist. High efficiency machines, sustainable practices and environmentally-friendly products are used whenever possible.
A longtime Bellingham construction company has won a major contract to build a portion of an electric power plant in Alaska.
Haskell Corp. was awarded a $102.8 million contract from the Matanuska Electric Association to build what’s called the power block portion of the Eklutna Generation Station. That power block portion includes the structure that houses the engines and generators as well as some related infra-structure, according to a news release from the association.
Haskell plans on using a large group of major Alaska subcontractors, but about 20 Haskell employees will be involved in supervision of the project, said Evan Haskell, vice president and general manager of Haskell Corp. He said it’s a project similar to the work they did on a generation station in Eureka, Calif.
The Alaska project is expected to take about 18 months.
Once completed, the Eklutna Generation Station will produce up to 170 megawatts of power for the electrical cooperative.
Haskell Corp. has been in business since 1890 and did its first Alaska project in 1949.
While Haskell continues to do a variety of industrial projects locally, it has done a significant amount of work in Alaska in recent years, Evan Haskell said.
Joel Townsan will be doing a product demonstration of his new product, the Flipout Tantrum Electric Screwdriver, at the 19th annual Tool Fair, taking place June 14-15 at Bellingham’s Hardware Sales on 2034 James St.
The electronic screwdriver can shift into a variety of positions in order to get to tight spaces. It’s expected to retail for about $160 and the company is currently going through a Kickstarter campaign. Details can be found at Flipoutproducts.com.
A longtime Whatcom County manufacturer is moving part of its business to California.
Krause Manufacturing, a division of CP Group, announced in a press release that it is moving its manufacturing equipment at 6059 Guide Meridian to the main company’s headquarters in San Diego. The company plans to have an office in Bellingham for its sales, engineering and parts departments. The move is scheduled to take place on Monday, July 1.
Krause was started in 1963 by Herb Krause as a steel fabrication facility, which made a variety of products, including custom agricultural equipment as well as recycling equipment. The company merged with CP Manufacturing in late 2004. According to property records on Whatcom County Auditor’s website, the property has five buildings with 27,680 square feet of space.
It is unclear how many Whatcom County employees would be impacted by this move; when the company was sold in 2004, it had around 20 local employees. Officials at CP Manufacturing could not be reached for comment.
CP Manufacturing recently moved into a 120,000-square-foot facility on 12 acres of land and made substantial improvements in improving the manufacturing process with new equipment, according to the company news release.
Krause is making the move in its 50th year in business.
“The legacy of Krause’s brand and reputation for great design standards, outstanding customer service and very dependable equipment will live on in our new manufacturing location,” said Mike Whitney, Krause Manufacturing vice president and general manager in the news release.
The company’s Bellingham offices will be at 316 E. McLeod Road.
Here’s a news release from the state employment security department about average wages in the state. This is one those items where “average” isn’t that meaningful a statistic because it can skewed by high-wage earners, but what is important in this release is the changes in unemployment benefits:
OLYMPIA – Washington’s average annual wage grew by 3.4 percent in 2012, to $51,595, surpassing $50,000 for the first time, according to the state Employment Security Department.
The average weekly wage rose from $959 to $992.
These figures include only those wages that are covered by unemployment insurance.
Much of the increase was driven by a 6.1 percent increase in the number of insured workers earning more than $75,000. Overall, the average number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance grew by 52,519 in 2012, an increase of 1.9 percent, and total earnings grew by nearly $7.4 billion, an increase of 5.4 percent.
The three industries with the highest wage growth in 2012 were the company management sector, up 17.6 percent; information, up 11.5 percent; and agriculture, up 11.5 percent.
The pattern was similar to 2011, when the company management sector and the information sector also were in the top three for wage growth.
The average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $5 to $148, for new claims opened on or after July 7. At the same time, the maximum weekly benefit, calculated at 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $20, to $624.
There continues to be a steady stream of new businesses getting open in Whatcom County. Here’s an update:
– Leaf & Ladle, a soup/salad/sandwich shop, is planning to open at 1113 N. State St (near the Herald Building) in mid-July, according to its Facebook page. The eatery plans on offering a variety of menu options, including gluten-free and vegetarian dishes. It has also applied for a liquor license to sell beer and wine.
– Zen Sushi Bar is getting closer to opening at the Regal Barkley Village Stadium 16 movie theater. Owner Ken Tipasathien, who also operates the three On Rice restaurants in Bellingham, is aiming for a Wednesday, June 19 opening.
– There a new grocery delivery service in Whatcom County called Sound Harvest Delivery (website link).
The company, started by Chuck Block and his son, David, focuses on delivering local products. Examples of products include Edaleen Dairy, Twin Brook Creamery and Grace Harbor Farms and Moka Joe. They use a variety of cooler/refrigerator systems to keep products cool.
– Hallmark is planning to open its new Bellis Fair store on Wednesday, June 12.
Here are a few items that came across my email today:
– A permit application was filed to put in a new medical equipment supply retailer at 101 E. Stuart Road (in the former state liquor store space in the retail center near Walmart). The new business is called Norco Medical Supplies.
– A variety of school-related improvement permits are starting to come in, including work at the food service area at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven Commons, new portable classrooms for Bellingham High School and Shuksan Middle School and permits for the new Birchwood Elementary School.
– The Community Boating Center at 555 Harris Ave., near the Fairhaven Public Boat Launch, is extending its hours of operation.
The center is adding Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to its current weekend openings, beginning Wednesday, June 12. The Center is open five days each week from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
The Tree Frog Night Inn on Mt. Baker Highway is having a grand reopening 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 to celebrate the expansion of the facility.
Kara Black said they recently completed construction of the Forest Room, which sleeps three people and is in a forest setting on the five-acre property. The room, along with the Coast Salish Native American and the Mediterranean Suites will be open for viewing. The inn has five acres of gardens and Squalicum Creek nearby for touring.
Live music, food and drink will be at the event. Tree Frog Night Inn is at 1727 Mt. Baker Highway, near the Noon Road intersection. For details, visit treefrognight.com or its Facebook page. The inn’s phone number is 360-676-2300.
It continues to be a busy spring for Whatcom County real estate agents as home sales are approaching levels last seen before the housing bubble burst.
Local agents sold 279 houses and condominiums last month, the highest monthly total since September 2007, according to data from the North-west Multiple Listing Service. The May 2013 total is 38.8 percent more than the same period a year earlier.
The median price of the properties sold rose 6.4 percent in the past year to $250,000, but that’s more an indication of more higher-end homes sell-ing than home appreciation, said Darin Stenvers, branch manager at the John L. Scott office in Barkley Village.
“What we’re seeing is a more balanced market as more upper-end homes are starting to move,” said Stenvers.
Overall sales were up substantially in Bellingham, Ferndale and Sudden Valley, while up slightly in most of the other Whatcom communities.
What’s helped in sales is the increase in choices. Last month Whatcom County had 552 new house and condo listings, up 23.5 percent compared to April. Stenvers said he’s noticed an uptick in the number of newly constructed homes coming on the market, a segment that’s been in short supply in recent years.
The one concern Stenvers has is rising interest rates, which he said has gone up three-quarters of a point. He expects interest rates to stabilize at this higher level, but said it’s something to watch closely.
Whatcom County followed the overall trend across much of the rest of Washington. In the 21 counties the NWMLS serves, agents sold 7,349 homes and condos last month, a 21.9 percent increase compared to a year earlier. The median price for those homes sold was $275,000, a 13.4 percent increase compared to a year earlier.
In Skagit County, agents sold 149 houses and condos in May, a 38 percent year-over-year increase. The median price of those homes was $220,020, a 9.2 percent increase.