Archive for February, 2011
The strong loonie continues to rise, hitting about $1.03 compared to the U.S. dollar. Here’s a blurb about it from Bloomberg:
Canada’s dollar rose to its highest level since November 2007 versus the greenback after a report showed the nation’s economy grew in the fourth quarter more than economists forecast as exports surged.
The loonie climbed for a fourth day in its longest stretch of gains since January. The Canadian dollar had a 3 percent rally this month, its biggest monthly gain since September, before tomorrow’s meeting of the central bank, which is expected to boost borrowing costs in the second quarter.
Read the rest of the article (here).
With the unsettled situation in the Middle East and oil, it seems likely the loonie will remain strong for the coming weeks. Any thoughts about how high it might go?
Here’s a press release from Alaska Airlines, which is offering deals on flights to Hawaii. Looks like Bellingham has the least expensive deals:
SEATTLE, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Alaska Airlines launched a sale today with low fares to Hawaii’s most popular vacation destinations from several West Coast cities and Alaska, including Anchorage, Alaska, Bellingham, Wash., and Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and San Diego, Calif. One-way fares start as low as $159* from the West Coast and $259* from Alaska.
Fares are valid for travel starting May 1 from the West Coast and from June 10, 2011, from the state of Alaska. Tickets must be purchased by March 9, 2011, and travel end dates vary, as noted below.
“Travel to Hawaii has never been more affordable,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “With our increased service from the West Coast to Hawaii, our travelers have more flights to choose from and great low fares on Alaska’s award-winning service to the Islands.”
Sample one-way fares:
Katie’s Cupcakes, specializing in fresh-baked gourmet cupcakes, plans to celebrate an upcoming milestone for the Fairhaven store: 150,000 cupcakes sold in its first two years.
“The response to Katie’s Cupcakes, especially during some tough economic times, has been more than I could have imagined,” said owner Katie Swanson.
To show appreciation, the person buying our 150,000th cupcake will receive a free gourmet cupcake each week for one year. In addition to a year’s worth of free cupcakes, the customer can designate a local nonprofit organization to receive a free cupcake each week for a year or the financial equivalent as a donation from Katie’s Cupcakes, according to Swanson.
Katie’s Cupcakes opened on March 17, 2009 and expects to reach the 150,000 milestone in early March. Swanson said the winner and nonprofit organization may “combine” weeks in order to receive one dozen or more cupcakes at a time.
As appreciation to her loyal customers, Swanson will hand out 200 mini-cupcakes for free on Thursday, March 17.
The Fairhaven shop has achieved a production increase of approximately 50 percent in its second year, Swanson said.
Katie’s Cupcakes is at 1005 Harris Ave., next to Rebecca’s Flower Shoppe in Fairhaven. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 360-393-4632 or visit (this link).
Eric Nelson of Lynden recently launched a company to help small-business owners increase online traffic.
Nelson started Social Media Marketing Pros in January. His focus with SMMPros is to develop and create cost ef-fective online strategies that will produce results and help local business and the local economy grow, according to a company press release.
An 11-year resident of Whatcom County, Nelson was previously the branch manager for Horizon Bank in Ferndale and founder of the Synergos Business Development and Networking Group in Bellingham.
As an online marketing consulting company, Social Media Marketing Pros helps businesses with online social me-dia, video, blogs and follow-up while focusing on activities that work. For details, visit (this link ) or call 360-739-4440.
So far it’s been fairly quiet this week, with government regulators closing one bank, making it 23 in 2011. Detail below. I’ll update with another post if others come in before I leave the office:
No. 23: Valley Community Bank, St. Charles, Ill. was shut down, then taken over by First State Bank of Mendota, Ill. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $22.8 million.
I recently received some encouraging business news from Redden Marine Supply, which has a retail store on the Bellingham waterfront, near Bellwether Way. Here’s what’s been happening:
– Redden is wrapping up a remodel of the retail store, which includes an expanded clothing and soft goods section.
– The sales manager, Mike Reese, was promoted to VP of Sales & Operations.
– The company hired 5 new full time employees (purchasing, sales, warehouse) since the first of the year.
– It expanded with a larger warehouse in the Bakerview area. (The warehouse is not open to the pubic).
– It expanded our commercial sales force (six desks to eight) and replaced all of the furniture from Tri County Office Interiors, which helped redesign the layout.
– The company is on track to start printing our first catalog of 2011 on March 1 .
”Retail traffic has been up quite a bit year to date and we’ve been seeing a lot of growth in our commercial fishing business too, said Scott Blanchard in an e-mail. “Despite the sluggish growth in the overall economy, we’re expecting a great spring and summer.”
Details about the company can be found at this (link).
Blockbuster Video has put up signs indicating it is closing its store at 141 S. Samish Way in Bellingham and is having a sale on its current selection of DVDs and other products.
I’ve been directed to corporate offices to get information about the sale/closure and haven’t heard back yet, but an employee indicated the Samish store is the only Whatcom County Blockbuster slated for closure. When I get some details, I’ll update this post.
Last fall Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy and announced it was closing hundreds of stores across the nation.
Saturna Capital ranks ninth in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s list of largest wealth management firms in Washington state.
The company, based in Bellingham, manages slightly more than $2.8 billion in assets.
Topping the list is Russell Investment Group of Seattle ($155 billion in assets under management), followed by Parametric of Seattle ($36.7 billion) and Edge Asset Management of Seattle ($26.8 billion).
The list was published in last week’s edition of the PSBJ.
Jane Carten is president and director at Saturna. For details on the company, click (here).
UPDATE: I received a note from the folks at Saturna that the company’s assets under managment is now at $3.4 billion. It was at $2.8 billion when the PSBJ last looked at its financial filings.
Briar Development has announced the sale of the Haggen Food & Pharmacy site at 9055 S.W. Murray Blvd. in the Beaverton, Ore. The store will close by the end of April.
Briar Development is a Haggen family company that owns many of the Haggen store sites. The Murray Hill property is being sold to a company that won’t be announced until the transaction closes, according to a company press release.
Last week Haggen Inc. announced it was being purchased by a private investment firm from Florida.
The Comvest Group is purchasing a majority ownership position in Haggen from brothers Don and Rick Haggen and their families, a deal that’s expected to be completed in March. The Haggen family is retaining a significant minority ownership stake and will continue to be involved in the company.
The Murray Hill store opened in 2005 and has approximately 60 employees. Haggen spokeswoman Becky Skaggs said the company is working with unions and the State Rapid Response Dislocated Worker Unit to assist employees.
“Closing stores is always a difficult decision for us due to its impact on employees, customers and the community,” Skaggs said in the press release. “However, we are pleased that we were able to find a buyer for the property and that another business will operate at this location.”
Haggen, Inc., founded in 1933, operates 30 supermarkets in Oregon and Washington under the Haggen Food & Pharmacy and TOP Food & Drug names. For more information, visit www.Haggen.com.
Here’s a list of companies that registered to do business in Bellingham between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4. It’s listed by name of business, name of owner and address:
Taxi Driver, Cabsong LLC, 714 N State St., Bellingham
Nine-Zero Labs, Nine-Zero Labs LLC, 3804 Viewmont Ct., Bellingham
S K Motorsport, S K Motorsport Inc., 1999 Iowa St., Bellingham
N W Soil Sisters, Mary L Parker, 41700 N Shore Ln, Concrete
Elikki Digits Woodworking, Elikki Digits Woodworking Inc 4550 Harrison St., Bellingham
Waters Painting, Mark G Waters, 621 32nd St #9, Bellingham
Grace Enterprises, Rene S Wendt, 1208 22nd St., Bellingham
Vanity,Vanity Shop of Grand Forks Inc1 Bellis Fair Pkwy, Bellingham
Linden Lab, Linden Research Inc., 945 Battery St., San Francisco
Ball Plumbing, Ball Plumbing Inc., 10943 Chuckanut Dr., Burlington
Ragsdale Creative, Ragsdale Creative LLC, 2714 Peabody St., Bellingham
Andrew L Robinson, Andrew L Robinson, 2736 Niagara St., Bellingham
Teper Computer Consulting, Bruce J Teper, 4199 Jones Ln., Bellingham
Harmony Physical Therapy, Harmony Physical Therapy LLC, 1238 Raymond St., Bellingham
Raw Cha Cha, Raw Cha Cha Enterprises LLC, 314 E Holly St #206, Bellingham
Rushforth Construction Company, Rushforth Construction Company. 6021 12th St E #100,Fife
Rainshine Design, Rainshine Design LLC, 1000 F St #150B, Bellingham
Extra Hands Housekeeping, Teri L H Booth, 3306 Bennett Dr., Bellingham
Qualnetics, Qualnetics Corporation, 2183 Alpine Way, Bellingham
Ferguson Woodworking, Ferguson Woodworking Inc., 5978 Guide Meridian #B, Bellingham
Altilty Art Studio, Aaron H Loveitt, 210 E Laurel St., Bellingham
Merchant Consultant Services, Len-Erna H Cotton, 4212 Alice St., Bellingham
Shelly’s Billing, Shelly J Clark, 1720 Silver Beach Rd., Bellingham
Farrer Computers, Ronald B Farrer, 1471 Moore St #14, Bellingham