Archive for August, 2012
Below is a letter from Stephen Trinkaus, owner of Terra Organica and Bellingham Public Market on Cornwall Avenue. It’s a plea to the community to help with a boost in sales or else the business (and the market) will have to close.
In a phone interview, Trinkaus said the origin of the financial crunch took place after making a series of improvements to the business and the market, including new bulk bins, buying one of the businesses in the store, starting another business and doing some renovation work.
“Looking back, I can see I did a little more than I should have,” Trinkaus said. “I thought we could scrape by during the summer, (typically a slow time of year for the market) and get to the fall, when sales always pick up. This time the hole is too deep.”
At this point Trinkaus can’t turn to banks for loans and believes that taking on further debt would merely postpone a closure a little later. He’s hoping instead that sales could improve to a point similar to before the recession started in the coming months to help through this rough patch.
According to its Facebook page, Goat Mountain Pizza has passed its final health inspections and is planning to open for business at 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Aug. 29).
The restaurant is at 215 W. Holly St., near Film is Truth.
From the Department of Revenue:
The Bellingham office of the Washington State Department of Revenue is hosting a free workshop for new and small business owners from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Washington State Patrol/Washington State Dept. of Transportation Conference Room at 3920 Airport Way (at turnoff to airport).
Participants will learn about Washington excise taxes, reporting classifications, deductions, tax incentives, sales tax collection, and record-keeping requirements. All receive a workbook and helpful reference guide to Department of Revenue rules and regulations.
To register, visit the Department of Revenue web site at dor.wa.gov or call 360-594-4840. Space is limited. A complete schedule of workshops state-wide and a short streaming video version of the workshop are available on the website.
Fellow blogger John Stark posted an interesting link to a study about gas consumption in the northwest. Here’s the (link) to his post.
One of the more interesting things he points out is that the study indicates the increased fuel efficient vehicles is just a small factor, while one of the bigger factors is the change in driving habits, particularly among younger drivers.
Possibly lost in all the Bellingham Costco coverage in Canada this month was a study about the increase in travelers into the U.S. since the visitor limit increases for Canadians that kicked in on June 1. The Vancouver Sun had a story on it last week, while The Province newspaper had an interesting story after interviewing several Whatcom County residents (link).
One of the interviews was with the Best Western Lakeway Inn’s general manager, Larry MacDonald, who noted a 75 percent increase in walk-in bookings this summer.
The local airport set another record in July when it comes to passenger traffic.
Last month 55,407 passengers flew out of Bellingham International Airport, surpassing the previous record of 52,872, set in March, according to data collected by the Port of Bellingham.
Among commercial airlines, Allegiant had the most passenger traffic in July, with 29,440 people. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air tallied 21,971 passengers last month, while Frontier Airlines, with its once-a-day flights to Denver, totaled 3,996.
Through July 337,071 passengers have flown out of the Bellingham airport, ahead of last year’s record pace.
Below is a press release from the Associated General Contractors of America about construction employment. Bellingham, by the way, was one of those metro areas that saw a slight increase year over year, while the Seattle area experienced a 5 percent jump, adding 3,100 jobs:
Construction employment declined in 165 out of 337 metropolitan areas between July 2011 and July 2012, increased in 123 and was stagnant in 49, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that the new data comes out as many metro areas continue to struggle with constricting public sector budgets and uneven private sector growth.
“Construction employment is healthy in the handful of areas where private sector demand is on the rebound,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, construction employment in most metro areas is suffering from the effects of tepid private sector demand and shrinking public sector construction budgets.”
Bellingham permit activity was a little slow this past week, but here are a couple of interesting new items:
Accepted, but not yet issued permit:
– At 3990 Meridian St. (former Value Village space), Whatcom Educational Credit Union is spending about $550,000 to convert the former retail space into a financial office.
– At 322 N. Commercial St., Whatcom County plans to spend $1 million to rehab the four-story building, which is near the library and city hall.
A 57-year-old Ferndale credit union will soon become a part of Industrial Credit Union of Whatcom County.
Earlier this month, members of the Ferndale Refinery Credit Union voted to approve a merger into ICU, according to a news release sent out on Monday, Aug. 27. The merger is scheduled to take place on Monday, Oct. 1.
Ferndale Refinery Credit Union’s lone branch will be closed and its one employee, CEO Susan Prosser, will join ICU, said Brianna Murray, mar-keting coordinator for ICU.
Mike Firos, the board chair at the Ferndale Refinery Credit Union, said they began looking into the possibility of a merger several months ago.
“Our credit union is financially very strong. But as with many small credit unions, we are finding it increasingly difficult to remain compliant with all of the new regulations without a significant increase in our expenses. After considering all of the credit unions in the area, evaluations showed that our two credit unions had the most in common,” Firos said in the news release.
Murray said ICU is currently working out the details on how it will absorb Ferndale’s system and will keep members informed on the changes. Once the merger is completed, Ferndale Refinery members will have access to ICU’s seven branches and the services it offers, including online banking.
As of June, Ferndale Refinery Credit Union had $4.7 million in assets and 1,600 members, according to the National Credit Union Administration. Industrial Credit Union had $164.8 million in assets and 21,998 members.
Gas prices continue to rise in Bellingham heading into Labor Day weekend.
The average price for a gallon of gas in the Bellingham metro area was $4.19 on Monday, Aug. 27, according to AAA Washington. That’s up three cents from Sunday and up 40 cents compared to a month ago.
Bellingham has the highest gas prices among major metro areas in the state. Seattle is the next highest, at $4.05 a gallon. Spokane has the least expensive, at $3,80 a gallon.
The record high for Bellingham was set in June 2008, at $4.50 a gallon.
Bellingham’s diesel price averages $4.40 a gallon, up 36 cents from a month ago.