Archive for August, 2010
I’ll be on vacation (but around town) next week through the Labor Day weekend. If you have some breaking business news, please contact my boss, Debbie Townsend, at 360-715-2280 or email@example.com. You can also contact reporter John Stark at 715-2274 or John.Stark@bellinghamherald.com.
Government regulators took a break and didn’t close any banks on Friday, Aug. 27. Not sure what that means, but it makes for a nice break.
A Whatcom County coffee company is getting ready to be in the heart of the Bellingham art district.
The Woods Coffee will be leasing 2,600 square feet of the ground floor in the historic Flatiron Building at 1313 Bay St., the former home of CH2M Hill. The upper floors of the building will be occupied by Logos Bible Software, which is expanding into the building later this year.
Woods’ Owner Wes Herman said he plans to have the new café open later this year. The main entrance with be on the Prospect Street side of the building and the café will take up most of the ground floor. The 101-year-old building will present some challenges in terms of making tenant im-provements because of its historic status, but Herman said the interior will have that Woods Coffee feel.
“It’s an interesting space for us, especially since it’s not a square area that can be easily divided up,” Herman said. “I really like the fact it has a ton of glass windows and space for outside seating. We’re very excited about this location.”
Herman believes this spot will cater to the nearby office employees, particularly from the nearby civic center, as well as the evening art crowd, par-ticularly after the Pickford Cinema opens nearby on Bay Street. To blend in with the art district, Herman plans to have a dedicated area for live music performances.
This will be the 10th café in Whatcom County for The Woods Coffee. Herman said they had been pondering a second downtown Bellingham spot for some time, because the Railroad Avenue café in the Washington Grocery Building near La Fiamma has been well received since opening two years ago.
Last month 41,435 people flew out of the Bellingham International Airport, setting a new monthly record, according to data released by the Port of Bellingham.
It’s the first time ever the Bellingham airport has topped 40,000 passengers in a month. The previous record was 36,743, set in March.
Much of the growth was from Allegiant, which flew 28,355 passengers out of Bellingham in July. Allegiant increased its frequency to several destinations last month, said Art Choat, aviation director for the Port of Bellingham.
In September the airport will close for three weeks to repave the runway and widen the taxiway. That should be completed in September. Some additional grooving work will be done in October during times that shouldn’t interrupt service, Choat said.
In an SEC filing last week, Abercrombie & Fitch said it would close up to 110 stores over the next 18 months.
Most closures will come through expiring leases, but didn’t say specifically which stores would close. The New Albany, Ohio-based company said it will close 60 U.S. stores this year and an additional 50 U.S. stores in 2011.
Abercrombie currently operates 1,098 stores under the Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie Kids, Hollister and Gilly Hicks brands. It has a store at Bellis Fair mall.
Here’s a press release from Nordic Tugs, which will be idling its Burlington Facility:
Burlington, Washington (August 25, 2010) –Nordic Tugs announced today it will temporarily close its Burlington manufacturing plant on Tuesday, August 31.
This step has been forced by the ongoing effects of the Great Recession, and the reluctance of customers to order new boats. While most employees will be furloughed, a skeleton staff will remain to field customer inquiries and maintain the plant in readiness to resume production when business dictates.
About Nordic Tugs
Nordic Tugs manufactures hand crafted tug style yachts from 26 to 54 feet in its modern Burlington, Washington plant. The pioneer of the pleasure tug industry, Nordic Tugs has offered distinctive, high quality yachts built for cruising for the past 30 years. Nordic Tugs are sold through dealers in Europe, Asia and across America. For more information about Nordic Tugs, visit www.nordictugs.com.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its home price index for metro areas in the second quarter of 2010, with most Washington communities showing a decrease year-over-year. I’ll put together a story later today, but the percentage changes are below. Note how the five-year appreciation (before the housing market boom) for many Washington communities is now in the single-digits, percentage-wise.
Changes in the all-transaction House Price Index for Washington metro areas from the second quarter of 2010:
Area, Year-over-year change, Five-year change
Bellingham, down 4.7 percent, up 9.8 percent
Bremerton, down 6.4 percent, up 6.6 percent
Kennewick, up 1.4 percent, up 12.6 percent
Longview, down 7.8 percent, up 11.8 percent
Mount Vernon, down 6.3 percent, up 9.4 percent
Olympia, down 3.4 percent, up 13 percent
Seattle, down 6.5 percent, up 6.9 percent
Spokane, down 5.1 percent, up 17.8 percent
Tacoma, down 9.2 percent, up 2.8 percent
Wenatchee, down 7.3 percent, up 30.2 percent
Yakima, down 4.5 percent, up 18.5 percent.
A Bellingham company was recently awarded a significant vendor contract with Time Warner Cable through its supplier diversity program.
Alpha Technologies Inc. will supply the majority of Time Warner Cable’s batteries and power supplies under a one-year contract, according to a news release from Time Warner. The deal will potentially result in the sale of tens of thousands of batteries for backup power use.
Alpha, through its licensed contract manufacturer Altair Advanced Industries Inc., has been a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise supplier to the communications industry for more than 30 years, said Grace Borsari, owner and CEO of Altair, which is a member of The Alpha Group.
Altair has facilities in Bellingham and Suwanee, Ga.
“Time Warner Cable has really contributed to our success as a major customer for many years,” Borsari said.
Time Warner Cable buys more than $200 million a year in supplies and services from certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises. The company is actively recruiting minority and women-owned vendors interested in participating in the Supplier Diversity program. MWBE businesses are encouraged to sign up at www.twcablesupplierdiversity.com.
Christy Marinovich and Richie Ford, co-owners of The Bean Stop on 1115 East Maple St. and Samish Way, recently purchased the drive-through coffee stand at 1657 Birchwood Ave., near Albertsons.
Marinovich said they had wanted to have a second coffee stand in the north part of town because customers had been requesting it. The coffee stand roasts its own beans and is known for its double-shot specials, she said. The Birchwood stand will be known as The Bean Stop 2.
“Being an owner-operated coffee stand, we were able to build up a loyal customer base,” said Marinovich, who took over The Bean Stop with Ford two years ago. “We’ve had many customers move into the Birchwood neighborhood and hope to have others in that area stops by.”
I’ll post some further details about this later in the business section, but here’s a press release about Bill Weymer leaving Cascade Dafo to run Town & Country Markets in the Seattle area:
Cascade Dafo, Inc., the nation’s leader in design, innovation and manufacture of dynamic pediatric orthoses, today announced the departure of Mr. Bill Weymer as CEO.
Weymer, who has been with the company for six years, will remain at Cascade Dafo through September. Beginning in October, Weymer will take up his new role as CEO of Town & Country Markets, which owns and operates six grocery stores in the greater Seattle area.
“Cascade Dafo is a wonderful company with an incredible mission, and this departure is not an easy one for me,” said Weymer. “This company helps improve the lives of children with mobility challenges all over the world, every single day. I am truly honored to have worked with so many great individuals during my time here.”
Cascade Dafo has manufactured plastic orthotic braces, primarily for pediatric patients, for nearly 30 years. Cascade provides these braces to practitioners around the country and even internationally. The company is known for its innovative brace design: a thin, flexible structure with wraparound support—dubbed the DAFO (Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthoses)—which allows greater freedom of movement for patients.
Weymer has served ad Cascade Dafo’s CEO since 2004. At that time, the company had 120 employees. Today, more than 225 employees work at the Ferndale-based manufacturer. In addition to overseeing this growth, the company has increased its presence in the global AFO marketplace and introduced an innovative automated manufacturing process that saves customers both time and money during Weymer’s tenure. This achievement helped earn the company first place in the Manufacturing Innovation of the Year category this past May at the Washington State Manufacturing Awards ceremony, as well as runner-up in the Large Size Manufacturer of the Year category. Seattle Business Magazine hosted the event.
Town & Country Markets will be familiar territory for Weymer when he takes over as CEO in October. He previously spent more than 30 years in the grocery industry, most recently a Senior Executive with Brown and Cole Stores, prior to joining Cascade Dafo. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in food marketing, Weymer began his career with Associated Grocers where he served supermarkets in the Northwest. He went on to serve as Vice President of Marketing and Operations for Consumer’s Choice, Thrifty Foods and then Brown & Cole Stores.
“As difficult as this departure will be, it does feel like a bit of a homecoming for me, in a way,” said Weymer. “Town & Country has a very special culture, much in the same way as Cascade Dafo, and that makes it a really enjoyable organization to be a part of. I had the pleasure of opening the Ballard Market when I was at Town & Country in the eighties, and I look forward to returning to a lot of those projects I worked on before, as well as the exciting, new projects Town & Country has underway. This change will also allow my wife and I to be closer to our family, which is important to us.”