Archive for April, 2011
I received a press release from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which does an annual study about the recreational boating industry. Here are some interesting highlights:
– Last year 1,118,130 power and sail boats sold in 2010, down 10 percent from 2009. The 2009 total was down 35 percent from 2008.
– The NMMA saw increases in attendance at most of its 15 winter boat shows.
– Boaters increased their spending on operating costs by 3.6 percent in 2010, to $8.7 billion.
Much of the information I received was focused on the Great Lakes region, but it’s interesting to see some similarities to this area. So far this year recreational boat repair places such as Seaview and Colony Wharf are reporting an uptick in service work. I’ve heard the Seattle Boat Show was busy earlier this year (I haven’t seen official numbers yet).
It’ll be interesting to see if the higher attendance at boat shows translates to increased boat sales in 2011. Locally sales have been sluggish for three straight years. However, the cold weather probably isn’t helping sales locally.
New car sales in Whatcom County were up in the first quarter compared to a year earlier, according to new numbers from a national data company.
Car dealers in Whatcom County sold 776 new cars in the first quarter of 2011, up 9.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010, according to Cross-Sell.
Last month Whatcom car dealers sold 268 new cars. The top-selling car model in March locally was the Toyota Prius (16 vehicles sold), followed by the Honda Civic (13) and Subaru Outback (12).
Top makes: Honda (62), followed by Toyota (60), Ford (33) and Chevrolet (32).
Here’s a press release from Fred Meyer about its latest product addition:
Fred Meyer stores announced this week that it now carrying select merchandise by the iconic home décor brand, The Bombay Company. Beginning this week, select Bombay merchandise will be available at 116 Fred Meyer stores in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Fred Meyer will feature the collection’s décor items, including mirrors, vases and novelty accents, as well as furniture pieces such as chairs, upholstered pieces, accent tables and iconic Bombay coffee tables.
Here’s an update/press release from the Associated General Contractors about construction jobs across the U.S. Bellingham’s metro area was down 300 jobs year-over-year:
Construction employment increased in 138 out of 337 metropolitan areas between March 2010 and March 2011, decreased in 153 and stayed level in 46, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. But association officials said that the industry’s five-year employment slump is far from over, and could worsen as public construction winds down.
“Even with more metro areas adding jobs than in any 12-month period since November 2007, the fact is most areas are far below previous construction employment peaks,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “With federal stimulus, base realignment and Gulf Coast hurricane-protection projects slated to end soon, many areas are at serious risk of another downturn in construction employment.”
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas again added more construction jobs (9,800 jobs, 10 percent) than any other metro area during the past year while Bay City, Michigan, added the highest percentage (25 percent, 200 jobs). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Illinois (3,900 jobs, 4 percent); Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (2,800 jobs, 10 percent); and Northern Virginia (2,600 jobs, 4 percent). Large percentage gains also occurred in Flagstaff, Arizona (24 percent, 400 jobs); Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana (20 percent, 500 jobs); and Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, Louisiana (18 percent, 900 jobs).
It’s been a busy Monday for me getting things organized for the rest of the week; I apologize for just getting around to blogging @ 3:30 p.m. Here are a couple of items from around Bellingham:
– Jalapenos had a soft-opening on Friday, April 22 and is now open for business at its Barkley Village space. It’s a bigger space than the Old Town Jalapenos and the Milagro restaurant in Fairhaven.
Owner Jesse Cantu said the Barkley Village restaurant (in the former Pastazza space) will also be home to the company’s catering business and will have some live music on Friday and Saturday evenings starting in June. I’ll have further details in the Wednesday Retail TipSheet column.
– Bellingham’s Prostock Athletic Supply recently announced the acquisition of 3GI Sports in Ballard.
“An opportunity presented itself to acquire another location with the same business model as ours and we are excited to now have a physical presence in the Seattle market. We’ve been working hard on integrating systems and merchandising plans and look forward to servicing our schools, teams and retail customers better than ever before,” said Prostock president Eric Ericsson in a press release.
Prostock will continue to operate the Ballard location under the 3GI Sports name as an honor to the military veterans who founded the company and its 65 year history, according to the press release.
3GI’s Sports was founded in 1946 by three returning military veterans at the end of World War II and has been family owned and operated since that day. Prostock began in Bellingham in 1983 by Larry Linville and has been owned by Eric Ericsson since 2002.
A Bellingham linen service company has signed a large contract that could mean an additional 25 jobs in this area.
Northwest Health Care Linen recently signed a six-year contract with Franciscan Health System. The Bellingham company will provide medical laundry service to the south Puget Sound region for the non-profit organization. Franciscan Health operates a variety of medical facilities, including five full-service hospitals, medical groups and surgery centers in Tacoma, Federal Way, Lakewood, Enumclaw and Gig Harbor.
The contract will grow incrementally as Franciscan phases out existing contracts with other companies, said Bill Akers, vice president of customer relations for the company. Once the contract is fully in place, it’ll mean an extra six million pounds of linen serviced annually. Before the contract was signed, the Northwest Health Care Linen was doing about 13 million pounds of linen a year.
Akers expects the 25 additional jobs in production and transportation to be phased in within a year, increasing the company’s workforce to 140. The company won’t have to make changes to its facility to handle the extra workload because of a remodel in 2002 that tripled the size of the facility.
“That’s the great thing about this is we have plenty of extra capacity,” said Akers, adding that it will also bring money into Whatcom County.
The remodel in 2002 also increased the energy efficiency of the company. The process requires 60 percent less water than before the remodel, Akers said, also requiring less energy to heat the water.
Northwest Health Care Linen’s service area stretches from Bellingham to Olympia, from single-provider practices to hospitals. Details about the company, which is at 4123 Strider Loop Road, can be found at this (link).
Here’s an announcement from Graham’s Restaurant in Glacier, via Facebook:
After 9 1/2 years, Grahams will be closing. Our lease were not renewed, last day of opening will be next Sunday, May 1st.
We want to thank you, staff & musicians for the support all these years.
We’re open everyday between now & May 1st, so do please come by for your last chance at a fish taco, mother burger, or just to say hello.
The bar will close when the beer runs out.
Here are a few items I’ve come across and wanted to pass along:
– A new children and women’s consignment store is scheduled to open on Friday, April 22 at 2701 Northwest Ave. (in the former Instant Replays building, a few blocks south of Yeager’s Sporting Goods). According to its Facebook page announcement, Savvy Sprouts continues to accept consigned items. For details, call 360-671-7711.
–According to its website, Scratch and Peck is now selling its natural feed product in Whatcom Farmer’s Co-op stores throughout the county. Details can be found at this (Link).
– Lynden-based Dykstra Construction recently received an Excellence in Construction award from the Associated Builders and Contractors.
According to the Bellis Fair Facebook page, Bath & Body Works is reopening on Thursday, April 21 in its newly remodeled store in the mall. It had been in a temporary space in a different part of the mall while the renovation work was taking place.
March was the busiest month ever at the Bellingham International Airport, according to the latest data from the Port of Bellingham.
Last month 45,640 people took flights out of the Bellingham airport, significantly higher than the previous record of 41,435, set in July 2010.
The record-setting month was due to a combination of fuller planes and increased flight frequency to existing destinations, said Art Choat, the port’s aviation director. Allegiant Air added additional flights to Las Vegas, while Alaska Airlines added a bigger plane (737-900) that can seat 165 passengers four times a week. That’s in addition to Alaska’s daily flight service to Las Vegas from Bellingham.
For the first quarter of this year, 114,098 people flew out of Bellingham, a 30.2 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2010. The 2011 first quarter total is more than the entire year of 2004 (79,890 passengers) and 2005 (98,497).
Last month the three airlines (Allegiant, Alaska and Horizon) averaged 92 flights per week. April will be down slightly to 86 flights per week, but Choat said he expects the weekly total to be at or above 100 flights per week by the end of June, as Horizon plans to increase its daily flights between Bellingham and Seattle.
Also, Allegiant is making plans to base an additional plane in Bellingham, its fifth, Choat said.