Archive for January, 2011
Despite closing the runway for three weeks for construction work in September, the Bellingham International Airport set a new record for the number of passengers using the facility.
Last year 391,155 people flew on either Horizon, Allegiant or Alaska airlines out of the Bellingham Airport, a 22.1 percent increase compared to 2009. Another 12,940 people used charter plane service, according to data from the Port of Bellingham.
Broken down by airlines, Allegiant had 65.7 percent of the 2010 Bellingham passengers, followed by Horizon (27.2 percent) and Alaska (7.1 percent).
The peak month was in July, when 41,435 people used the airport to fly to other destinations. In September, when the runway was closed for most of the month, 12,597 people flew out from the airport.
This year is expected to be an even busier year at the airport with the addition of Alaska’s daily service to Honolulu, said Art Choat, Port of Bellingham’s aviation director.
Government regulators shut down four banks earlier this afternoon, making it seven so far in 2011. Details below. I’ll update with new posts if there are other closures before I leave today.
No. 4 Enterprise Banking Co., McDonough, Ga. was shut down by government regulators and was not turned over to another bank. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $39.6 million.
No. 5 Community South Bank and Trust of Easley, S.C., was shut down, then taken over by Certusbank, Easley, SC. Community South had six branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $46.3 million.
No. 6 The Bank of Asheville, SC was shut down, then taken over by First Bank of Troy, SC. Asheville had five branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $56.2 million.
No. 7: United Western Bank of Denver was shut down, then taken over by First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. of Raleigh, S.C. United had eight branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $312.8 million.
Someone pointed us to an online job listing that might cause some controversy in Bellingham (it’s pasted below). I haven’t seen anything in building permits or businesses licences that suggest this business is coming, but we’ll keep looking. Here’s the link to the job listing.
Job Title: Bikini Baristas Wanted! Opening a location in Fairhaven
Location: Bellingham, WA
Bubble Brew Bikini Barista: Applicants with experience are encouraged to apply, however we would be willing to train the right individuals! Must be 18 and drug free. We are going to be based in a busy location with a fast paced environment. We are looking for individuals that are: dependable, multi-taskers, outgoing, chatty, bubbly, motivated and willing to wear bikinis!! If you would like to apply, please send a picture along with resume to our email. We look forward to meeting you!
Below is a press release from the National Retail Federation, which reports that many retailers are thinking about expanding in 2011.
Washington, January 20, 2011 – Retailers in 2011 will be intent on actively growing their businesses and improving customer insight capabilities, in addition to continuing efforts begun during the economic downturn to stabilize operating costs and focus on financial discipline, according to a report from the National Retail Federation’s research and education arm, the NRF Foundation, and KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm.
In surveying 318 retail executives for the ninth annual Retail Horizons: Benchmarks for 2010, Forecasts for 2011 report, 41 percent said that their companies intend to increase domestic store expansions in 2011, up from 25 percent in 2010. Additionally, 25 percent will expand overseas, up from 21 percent a year ago.
Signaling an overall consensus that the worst is behind them, 58 percent of retailers surveyed report that cost reduction/cost containment will remain a companywide strategic initiative, down from 81 percent in 2010. The survey also found that retailers are signaling that mobile e-commerce or m-commerce will be a top focus. In fact, 69 percent identify this as a strategic initiative, up considerably from 28 percent a year ago.
This morning I received a report from the American Booksellers Association and Civic Economics called The Indie City Index 2011, which ranks 363 metro areas on the vitality of independent, locally owned businesses.
The Bellingham metro area (Whatcom County) ranked second overall on the list, behind Ocean City, N.J. and just ahead of Medford, Ore.; Carson City, Nev.; and San Jose, Calif.
The methodology for this ranking involved taking a metro area and calculating the amount of sales from major chain stores to determine market saturation. The less chain store saturation for the area, the higher its ranking in this Indie City Index.
I’ll check around for local reaction today for an article. If you’re a Whatcom County independent business owner and have some thoughts about this, give me a call at 360-715-2269.
For a look at the full report, click here.
Here’s a press release about the opening of Anytime Fitness on Hinote’s Corner (at the insection of Hannegan and Pole roads near Lynden):
Anytime Fitness, the world largest and fastest growing 24-hour co-ed fitness franchise, is pleased to announce it is open for business at Hinote’s Corner. A grand opening celebration will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
With 24/7 access, Anytime Fitness offers convenient and affordable exercise. At Anytime Fitness, members can workout any time of the day or night, every day of the year. They use a security-access key to enter the club, even when it is not staffed. Once inside, members have full use of state-of-the-art strength training and cardiovascular equipment. Anytime Fitness also offers 24-hour tanning and membership reciprocity among its clubs which allows members to use any of the 1500+ clubs that are currently open in the United States and 12 countries.
The layout of each club is designed for quick and effective exercise. The equipment options at Anytime Fitness include circuit and cross-training machines, free weights, stationary bicycles, treadmills, and group fitness classes. If desired, members can add a tanning option to their membership. Private showers and dressing areas are also available at the club.
To celebrate its grand opening, Anytime Fitness is offering FREE Anytime Fitness t-shirt, $18.00 value, to the first 50 NEW members as well as FREE access to AnytimeHealth.com , $49.99 value! Stop by the club and get entered to win a FREE IPod Shuffle every hour from 12:00-4:00 and receive a complimentary 7-day pass!
The owners of Anytime Fitness, Mike & Leslie Hoefer, are very enthusiastic about opening this new club in Whatcom County. “The convenience and affordability of Anytime Fitness can’t be beat,” said Hoefer. “Choosing this club makes it easy for members to stay committed to their fitness goals.”
“Anytime Fitness clubs are pared down to the essentials necessary for a great workout,” said Hoefer. “Where we don’t cut corners is in our personal service and commitment to our members. We are excited to be located mid-county, and it’s our goal to become an active member of the community,” continued Hoefer.
Club tours will be available during the grand opening celebration. Membership information is available at the club, by calling 360-306-8668, or by visiting www.anytimefitness.com.
Whatcom County posted only a slight uptick in its unemployment rate last month, but bigger changes were made in some key industries.
The local unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in December, up from a revised rate of 8 percent in November and not much different from December 2009, when the rate was 8.3 percent, according to the latest data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
While the unemployment rate remained steady, the number of people employed locally dropped. The number of people employed in non-farm employment in Whatcom County was 77,800 last month, down 700 from November and down 1,500 from December 2009. The construction, mining and logging industries employed 5,300 people in December, down 700 year-over-year. Other significant drops in local industries include local gov-ernment (down 400 year-over-year), and private services (down 700 year-over-year).
One of the few bright spots locally was in manufacturing, which employed 7,800 people last month, up 300 year-over-year.
The total workforce in Whatcom County — which includes those employed and those actively seeking work — also shrunk between November and December. Whatcom’s workforce last month was 106,360, down 2.2 percent compared to November.
Initial unemployment claims locally were also up last month. In December, 2,478 people filed for unemployment insurance, the highest monthly total for 2010. Initial claims tend to peak in December as the holiday shopping season winds down. Last month’s total is lower than December 2009 (2,530 claims) and 2008 (3,033 claims).
Last month Washington state’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent, up from 9.2 percent in November. Skagit County’s rate was 10.2 percent in December, while Snohomish was 9.8 percent.
Here are some interesting items I found looking through Bellingham’s latest building permit applications:
– Bank of Pacific has submitted an application to put in a new loan center at 226 36th St. in the Sehome Shopping Center. It’s slated for the space that used to be the Washington Mutual Home Loan Center, near the Starbucks drive-through.
– Columbia State Bank received permit approval to remodel the former Horizon Bank office at 211 E. Holly St. In an announcement last month, bank officials said they expect to have that branch ready by the end of March.
– A building permit has been filed for a 18-unit, three-story apartment at 1026 21st St., in the Happy Valley neighborhood.
PartEZon, a party-supply store in Bakerview Square, is having a closing liquidation sale. According to signs on the front of the business, the store is offering 40 percent off most products until Saturday, Jan. 22.
The 2,500-square-foot store opened in early 2008, billing itself as a one-stop spot from small private parties to company events.
Below is a press release about Jack Louws moving into the insurance business. Earlier this month Louws Truss announced it had sold its Ferndale facility and moving the manufacturing part of the business to Burlington.
Jack Louws, a longtime Whatcom County businessman and public official, has joined Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance as a commercial insurance producer.
Louws recently stepped down as president at Louws Truss so he could accept this full-time position. Louws, who also was mayor of Lynden for eight years, will focus on serving clients with commercial insurance needs.