Archive for November, 2011
The Canadian dollar was up more than one cent in early trading today, rising to 98 cents compared to the U.S. dollar. Here’s a ( link) to a Canadian Business magazine, which provides quite a few details about what’s happening.
The jump is happening along with today’s big stock market rally. Along with moves by various global banks to address Europe’s financial woes, China also announced steps to try and encourage business activity. Positive movement in the global markets has had a direct impact on the strength of the loonie recently, since an uptick in global markets mean increases for resources like metals and oil.
Donald and Leslee Gongaware of Blaine recently launched Tutor Doctor Northwest Washington, which provides one-on-one tutoring in the homes of students.
Tutor Doctor Northwest Washington, which has a pool of more than 40 tutors, primarily serves clients in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties. Recognizing that learning is a life-long endeavor, tutoring is provided to students of any age in a multitude of subjects, Donald Gongaware said in a news release.
Along with traditional academic subjects, Tutor Doctor Northwest Washington provides qualified tutors to assist with college entrance exams, English as a Second Language studies, General Education Development (tests, and specialized subjects. Tutors are available to work with students of all ability levels.
According to its Facebook page, the Custer Country Store (at 2910 Main St), which closed for the winter earlier this month, will re-open in May. Owner Nicole Perry mentioned she wanted to try out a plan of closing the store during the winter months.
The store has been in existence for nearly 120 years.
We won’t get official sales numbers until after the holiday season, but it appears many Whatcom County retailers are off to a good start this holiday season.
Dan Sanford of Launching Success Learning Store sent me a note reporting sales were up 10 percent during its post-Thanksgiving sales compared to a year earlier. An encouraging trend for the Bellingham store was the fact customers were buying beyond the sale promotions, going for specific gifts, he said.
What was surprising to Sanford this year was the increase in customers that made their way from early Black Friday shopping the big department stores to continue their buying with a smaller store later in the day.
A new hair salon and spa is opening in Bellingham has unique business ownership model.
Evolve Salon and Spa is officially scheduled to open on Thursday, Dec. 1 in the State Street Plaza building, near New York Pizza & Bar. Stylists at Evolve will rent the booths, but it’s a co-op format that will allow the stylists to have a vote in how the salon is managed, said Jana Petree, one of the stylists at Evolve.
The salon will have six chairs, and five are already rented to Petree, Janet Todhunter, Alyssa Root, Gina Bring and Patti Varner. Evolve also has spa treatment rooms available for lease to qualified people, said Brian Finnegan, owner of the building. He is technically the owner of the business, but he views it as a landlord-tenant agreement.
“It (Evolve) is a use that fits well for that spot,” said Finnegan, noting the way the space is designed with many separate areas, lending itself to be a hair salon.
Once open, the salon will have hours of 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and will take walk-ins. Evolve is also planning to have a grand opening celebration sometime in January. For details about the company, call Evolve at 360-393-3043. For those interested in renting a booth or spa treatment area, call Finnegan at 360-647-2856 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the story I’m filing about Black Friday in Whatcom County:
BELLINGHAM – The shift to more midnight openings on Black Friday turned out to be a big hit for shoppers in Whatcom County.
Long lines and packed parking lots were a common sight at the midnight hour as customers were out bargain hunting, particularly for electronics. The Bellingham Walmart was particularly busy; not only was the store’s massive parking lot filled, but so were other nearby lots, including the Michael’s parking lot on the west side of Meridian Street. The store quickly filled to capacity and by 11:30 p.m. people were in a line that went out the front entrance and around to the back side of the building.
The Bellingham Best Buy had one of its longest lines ever, winding across the shopping center nearly past Costco. At the Bellingham Target, it took 45 minutes to get everyone into the store; the line stretched around the nearby Sears store.
Massage Envy opened on Monday, Nov. 21 in Bellingham’s Sehome Village Shopping Center, next to the UPS Store.
The therapeutic massage services facility will be managed initially by Edna Christianson, who co-owns the new venture with her husband, Mark. The couple have owned and operated the Massage Envy in Everett since 2006.
Bellingham’s Massage Envy is one of more than 700 locations in 44 states. According to a company press release, Massage Envy is dedicated to providing professional and affordable therapeutic massage and spa services to consumers with busy lifestyles at convenient times.
Massage Envy offers a number of massage types, including Customized Massage Deep Tissue, Swedish Massage, Trigger Point, Sports Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Prenatal Massage, and Couples Massage. Other services include Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Deep Muscle therapies. Christianson said the center will offer Chair Massages off-site for local businesses.
Christianson said the Bellingham Massage Envy will eventually employ 40 licensed massage practitioners and support staff. Her team includes customer service manager Tara Spliethof and Mariah Albertus, who will manage the therapists.
The center will be open seven days a week. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and Sunday 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
For more information or reservations, contact the Bellingham Massage Envy at 360-756-1100 or click this (link)
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has an interesting article about Allegiant coming up short on a bid to land a few slots at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Here’s the (link) to the article (tip of the hat to John Stark for spotting it).
If Allegiant eventually enters the New York market, it’ll be interesting to see how they use it. Will they use it for East Coast flights, or, with its bigger planes, will they start offering cross-country flights? If they go cross-country I’m guessing Las Vegas to New York would probably be a first choice, but a Bellingham-to-New York flight would certainly open the door to the East Coast, something Bellingham doesn’t have.
The Washington Employment Security Department sent out a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification for a company in Renton:
Company: Emerald Shared Services DBA K&L Distributors, Inc. (Renton) will lay off 215 employees,
effective January 20, 2012
Date of Notification: November 21, 2011
According to an article in The Seattle Times (link) the company was sold to King Beverage in Spokane, so this might be more of a technicality as the new business takes over, possibly rehiring many of the previous employees.
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate hit the lowest level in a year as some growth took place in non-farm employment.
The local unemployment rate in October was 7.6 percent, down from a revised rate of 7.9 percent in September. The last time it was this low was October 2010, according to data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
In the past year, non-farm employment increased by 2,100 people. Much of the non-farm job growth in the past 12 months took place in manufacturing (up 500 year over year) and transportation/warehousing (up 700). Job numbers declined in a variety of industries in the past year, including leisure/hospitality (down 100) and professional services (down 100).
Whatcom’s unemployment rate remained lower than several nearby counties, including Skagit (8.9 percent in October), Snohomish (8.7 percent) and King (7.9 percent). At 6.1 percent, Walla Walla and Garfield had the lowest unemployment rates in the state. Ferry County had the highest last month, at 12.4 percent.