Archive for December, 2011
Here’s a list of the firms that recently registered to do business in Bellingham (Dec. 7-12). Most of them are new businesses, but some are companies that have moved or changed ownership:
Norton-Arnold & Company, 1420 5th Ave #2200, Seattle
Performance Driving School, 1420 King St #F, Bellingham
Judy Laub MA, 4346 King Mountain Road, Bellingham
Elizabeth Station, Patada Retail Consulting Inc., 1400 W Holly St #101, Bellingham
Savvy Sprouts, a children’s consignment store at 2701 Northwest Ave., is back open for business.
Owner Mariana Jakobsen originally opened the business in April, but had to close it in July to deal with a family emergency. She re-opened it on Friday, Nov. 25, offering children’s clothing as well as an eco-baby boutique, which offers a variety of eco-friendly clothing and cloth diapers.
Jakobsen said in a few weeks she will soon have a women’s clothing consignment section in the 1,800-square-foot store, which is near the Connecticut Street intersection. Along with local merchandise, she’s also working with the Snow Leopard Trust, bringing booties and other items that directly benefit the communities throughout the snow leopard habitats in the Himalayan mountain region.
The store is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For details, visit the Savvy Sprouts Facebook page or call 360-671-7711.
The Lychee Buffet on 819 Lakeway Drive (across from Fred Meyer) was closed on Thursday, Dec. 15 and appears to have shut down for the time being. There was no note on the door and the phone doesn’t have a message, but equipment is packed away. I’ve also had a few phone calls from customers saying they were told the restaurant would be closing.
I’ll see if I can find out further details today.
Some interesting news out of Canada…
First, here’s a (link) to a CBC News article about average home prices in Canada. The housing market is not as hot as it was, but prices are still going up. With an average home sale of $728,000, Vancouver continued to have the highest price by a large margin, well ahead of the Victoria ($499,676) and Toronto ($480,421). For perspective, the average price of a Whatcom County home sale was $272,653 in the third quarter.
An article in Vancouver’s Province newspaper has a list of Canada’s most dangerous communities, citing a study from Maclean’s magazine. Here’s the (link). Prince George, which is dealing with gang-related crime and drugs, topped the list, followed by Victoria. For Victoria, the article cited robbery and sexual assault rates as higher than much of the rest of the country. Communities away from the West Coast were generally rated as less dangerous.
Here’s the news release with the details:
With just ten days until Christmas, the National Retail Federation has revised its holiday forecast upward, expecting holiday sales to rise 3.8 percent this year to a record $469.1 billion. NRF’s initial forecast, announced on October 6, called for anticipated sales growth of 2.8 percent. While a 3.8 percent sales increase is considerably above the ten-year average sales increase of 2.6 percent, it is still lower than the 5.2 percent increase the retail industry saw last year.
Here’s a reminder from Anne-Marie Nelson at Barkley Village’s Pak Mail:
Deadlines for shipping gifts economically for arrival by Christmas are looming, especially for East Coast destinations.
UPS and Fed Ex ground each take 5 business days to the East Coast, so Monday (Dec. 19) is the last day to ship for UPS. Fed Ex residential deliveries get an extra day, since Fed Ex delivers to homes on Saturday, Dec. 24. However, weather, train delays or other holiday mix-ups can put a crimp in that schedule, so don’t take a chance – get your packages shipped on Friday and give yourself some leeway. Pak Mail offers a choice of UPS, Fed Ex and U.S. Postal Service as well as DHL (for international shipments).
“We’ll be open on Sunday, Dec. 18 from noon till 3 p.m. for last minute shippers who can’t get away during the week,” she said. Pak Mail will also have extended hours Dec. 19-21 to help ease the time crunch.
Questions about holiday packing or shipping? Pak Mail welcomes phone calls at 360-738-8919.
Below is a press release from the Employment Security Department about the November unemployment numbers. The county unemployment numbers are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, Dec. 20:
Washington added an estimated 12,100 jobs in November, the largest one-month gain in four years.
The stronger jobs outlook was matched by a substantial plunge in the unemployment rate, from a revised rate of 9.1 percent in October to a preliminary estimate of 8.7 percent in November.
“This is the kind of job growth we need to make a good dent in the unemployment rate,” said Greg Weeks, director of the Employment Security Department’s labor-market information office. He added, “The drop in the unemployment rate was unusually large for November, and I expect it to be revised to a somewhat smaller decline when we get more data.”
Here are a few things I’ve noticed this afternoon:
– A business called Dark Tower Games will have a grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 929 N. State St., near New York Pizza & Bar. According to its Facebook page, the goal is to create a healthy, fun gaming community where people can count on a comfortable place to talk games and play games. It will offer a wide range of gaming products and will be holding regular organized tournaments for the casual and serious gamers.
– At 4492 Meridian St (north of Walmart) a permit was filed to convert a residential building into a pho and bubble tea restaurant.
– Permits were approved to build a four-story, 35-unit residential building at Centre Pointe (near Bellis Fair mall, on Bakerview Road). It’s the fourth phase of the project.
– On the 400 block of Lakeway Drive (near the Chevron station) construction is underway for a four-unit townhouse.
A large number of Whatcom County residents will soon be without unemployment benefits as two federal programs are phased out in Washington.
Long-term unemployed workers are being notified this week that their unemployment benefits will be phased out in the coming weeks. As of Sat-urday, Dec. 24, no one will be admitted to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. After Saturday, Dec. 31, existing recipients will not be able to advance beyond their current tier of benefits, according to a news release from the Washington State Employment Security Depart-ment.
A second program, called Extended Benefits, is expected to end in mid-January.
As of October, it’s estimated that about 2,300 Whatcom County residents were on the two federal benefit extension programs, while about 2,500 local residents were receiving regular unemployment benefits, said Sheryl Hutchinson, communications director for the ESD. Currently, about 85,000 people are claiming benefits from the two federal extension programs in Washington while another 108,000 are claiming regular unemploy-ment benefits.
Whatcom County is on pace to post the lowest number of bankruptcy filings since the national financial meltdown.
This area had 53 bankruptcy filings last month, the second lowest monthly total of 2011, according to data from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District in Seattle. So far in 2011 this area has 689 filings, which would make it the lowest total since 2008, which had 579 bankruptcy filings in Whatcom County. The peak year in this current economic downturn was in 2010, which had 808 filings locally, while 2009 had 796 filings.
The 2011 tally is still much higher than pre-recession levels, however: In 2006, Whatcom County had 283 bankruptcy filings.
Across the western district, which includes King County, 1,115 bankruptcy filings were made last month, a 9.1 percent decrease from a year earlier. Skagit County had 46 filings, down from 58 in November 2010.