Archive for June, 2011
The overall number of business establishments in Whatcom County was contracting in the early stages of this economic downturn, according to a new federal report.
The U.S. Census estimates the number of private sector businesses that had at least one paid employee totaled 6,281 in 2009, down from 6,433 establishments in 2008 and 6,519 establishments in 2007. However, the 2009 total is more than five years earlier, when this area had 5,950 establishments.
The majority of Whatcom County establishments — 3,599 — had between one and four employees, while another 1,252 businesses had between five and nine employees in 2009, according to the report. In the 10-99 employee category, Whatcom County had 1,331 establishments in 2009, while this area had 99 firms with more than 100 employees.
Most of the establishments that disappeared between 2007 and 2009 had less than five employees.
The Whatcom County industry with the most establishments in 2009 was construction, with 889. That’s down from 1,084 establishments in 2007.
With 828 establishments, retail trade had the second highest number of establishments in 2009, followed by professional services (679 establishments), health care (643) and food service/accommodation (504).
The Bistro on Magnolia Street (near the Railroad Avenue intersection) had its last day of business on Sunday, June 26 and will remained closed, according to an announcement on its Facebook page.
Kyle Lynch and Alexander Moore opened the restaurant on Oct. 10, starting with a breakfast and lunch menu before adding a dinner menu.
They had taken over the spot after Nona Rosa’s Ristorante closed in August 2010.
For inquiries about things such as unredeemed gift certificates, e-mail the restaurant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a list of companies that have registered to do business in Bellingham between June 22-27. Most are new businesses, some are ones that have either changed either address or ownership:
Aramark Educational Services, 515 High St., Bellingham
Baxter Baked Goods, Avenue Bread & Deli Inc., 2020 Humboldt St, Bellingham
Ace Electric Inc., 1165 Columbia Park, Richland.
Whatcom Weatherization, James D Reider, 1894 Yew Street Road, Bellingham
Boley Electric Inc., 20002 Birch Way, Lynnwood
Willamette Dental Management, 910 NE 82nd St., Vancouver, Wash.
After hovering just above parity for the past week, the Canadian dollar has strengthened against the U.S. dollar, nearly hitting a seven-week high around $1.04 in morning trading.
Here’s a (link) to a Reuters article explaining what’s happening.
It appears rising commodity prices and better-than-expected economic data in Canada are factors in the rise. It’s been a strong run for the loonie vs. the U.S. dollar, remaining above parity for the first six months of 2011.
Here’s a press release from the Port of Subs corporate headquarters offering a unique way for military men and women to start a business: Offering 50 percent off the franchise fee. According to World Franchising, an initial Port of Subs franchise fee is $16,000:
Reno, Nevada based Port of Subs, Inc., announced that qualified service men and women of the United States Armed Forces can purchase the franchise rights to own a Port of Subs restaurant at a significant discount.
“We are pleased to offer our dedicated service men and women this opportunity and a 50 percent discount on our Franchise Fees, as they explore their post-military career, and to military families seeking franchise business opportunities and small business ownership,” said John Larsen, Port of Subs Inc., Founder and CEO.
Below is a press release from the Washington State Department of Revenue about simplifying the Business & Occupation tax. It’s in a report recently sent to the governor’s office:
Centralizing the collection of state and local business and occupation taxes is a key recommendation of a Tax Simplification Report sent to Governor Chris Gregoire today (June 29).
The report stems from the Governor’s October 2010 executive order directing the Department of Revenue to examine ways to reduce the complexity of state and local tax systems.
The Department based the report on a series of meetings with small businesses, local governments, tax experts, and other stakeholders.
Currently, the Department administers the state business and occupation (B&O) tax and at least 39 cities administer their own local B&O taxes.
Businesses expressed strong interest in consolidating the administration of state and local business taxes so they only have to file one return instead of dozens, often with differing definitions and requirements.
Washington’s state economist, Arun Raha, recently had some optimistic words at a recent presentation to the Association of Washington Business. According to the AWB, Raha expects jobs and sales of big-ticket items such as cars to pick up in the second half of 2011. Here’s a (link) to the AWB post about that presentation.
According to the post, he believes productivity will start to decline with the current staffing levels, causing hiring to take place. I’ve been wondering about that myself: Often in the local business community I’ve been hearing from employees who feel like they have too much on their plate these days, covering for positions that either went unfilled or were eliminated. It’s a common theme, but jobs are the key to this recovery.
It’s interesting to see Raha more upbeat; the state revenue forecasts his agency issues has been more pessimistic, preparing legislators for further revenue shortfalls. Something he mentioned that’s been holding the economic recovery back is consumer confidence. Any thoughts on whether things will improve in Washington in the second half of 2011?
The percentage of mortgages more than 90 days overdue took a slight drop in April in Whatcom County, according to a new report.
In April 4.33 percent of all Whatcom County mortgages were more than 90 days delinquent, down from 4.37 percent in March, according to CoreLogic, a provider of consumer, financial and property information. While down from March, the latest delinquency rate is up significantly from April 2010, when the rate was 3.73 percent.
Nationally, the delinquency rate was 7.39 percent in April, while the state rate was 6.01 percent
It’s a similar trend when it comes to the local foreclosure rate. In April the percentage of mortgages was 1.69 percent, down from 1.71 percent in March. In April 2010, the foreclosure rate was 0.97 percent.
Nationally, the foreclosure rate was 3.47 percent in April, while the state rate was 2.21 percent.
I was forwarded an e-mail that originated from our neighbors at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce about a misleading business campaign. The note from the Burlington Chamber is below. The company mentioned, Premier Impressions (which is tied to a company called Universal Adcom), received an “F” by the Better Business Bureau for having about 400 complaints filed against it. Here’s the (link) to the BBB release.
Here’s the e-mail from the Burlington Chamber:
Hello Chamber Members,
Some local businesses have been receiving calls from a company called Premier Impressions regarding emergency magnets. Premier Impressions has been telling the businesses the Chamber is a part of this program. I wanted to let you know the Chamber is not a part of this program nor involved with Premier Impressions in any way.
Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance to you.
Burlington Chamber of Commerce
The Canadian mail system will attempt to get back to normal after Canadian legislators passed a bill ending a two-week lockout and allowing employees back to work.
According to Canada Post, the country’s mail service, Canadians should start receiving mail on Tuesday, June 28. Post offices that had been closed will be reopened at that time. The United States Postal Service will also start accepting mail being sent into Canada on Tuesday, said Patricia Licata, a spokesperson for USPS.
In a press release, Canada Post officials said they expect it will take some time to return to normal delivery standards as it goes through all the un-processed mail. Canada Post locked out nearly 50,000 employees on Tuesday, June 14, after the employee union conducted 12 days of rotating strikes.
On Saturday, June 18 the USPS stopped accepting mail destined for Canada, leaving Americans with the option of either holding onto the mail or paying extra fees to have it sent by private shipping services such as FedEx or UPS.
According to news reports in several Canadian newspapers, the sticking points in the contract negotiations include wages and potential changes in the sick leave plan. Canada Post and the employee union attempted to negotiate a new contract for seven months prior to the start of rotating strikes.
Over the weekend the back-to-work bill introduced in Canada’s House of Commons passed after several days of debate. According to Canadian media reports, some legislators were against the bill because it undermined workers’ rights to collective bargaining.