Archive for October, 2012
A longtime motorcycle and generator store has closed in Bellingham.
Al’s Honda Yamaha at 2336 James St. was not open for business on Wednesday, Oct. 31. A sign at the entrance area indicated that the business was now closed and that the staff appreciated working with customers over the years. The store’s voicemail message indicated that messages would be checked regularly and returned for people inquiring about the status of service work being done.
Al’s Honda sold a variety of products, including lawn equipment, generators, motorcycles and recreation vehicles. According to business license records, Al’s Honda was established in 1980.
Al’s Honda joins Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson in Bellingham motorcycle dealerships to close in October. The Mt. Baker Harley Davidson’s last day of business was scheduled for Oct. 31.
For the moment Bellingham doesn’t have the most expensive gas among major Washington metro areas.
Prices in the Bellingham area have dropped significantly in the past week, according to AAA Washington. The average price for a gallon of gas in Bellingham on Wednesday, Oct. 31 was $3.84, down 20 cents from a week ago. Bellingham’s average price is 1 cent less than Spokane; it’s one of the few times in the past year that this area didn’t have the highest price among this state’s metro areas.
Spokane typically has the least expensive prices, but its price has remained steady in recent weeks while other areas are seeing price declines. The least expensive gas in Washington on Oct. 31 was Tacoma, at $3.67 a gallon.
Bellingham’s diesel prices have also declined, to an average of $4.18 a gallon on Oct. 31. That’s the second least-expensive price among Washington metro areas, trailing only Vancouver at $4.12. The most expensive average diesel price is in the Richland area, at $4.26.
News release from Western Washington University:
Job seekers looking for ways to connect directly with employers are invited to attend Western Washington University’s Business Career Fair, which will take place from 1 to 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8 in the MAC Gym of the Wade King Student Recreation Center. Admission to the fair is free and open to the public.
Co-sponsored by Western’s College of Business and Economics and Career Services Center, the Business Career Fair provides valuable opportunities for students and alumni of all majors to discuss internship and employment possibilities with participating organizations. Attendees looking to build a business-focused social media profile will be able to take advantage of the “Get Linked In” photo booth from 2:30 to 5 p.m.
New retail activity may resume at Birch Bay Square now that the mall is under new ownership.
According to a real estate document filed last week at the Whatcom County Treasurer’s Office, North America 6666 Investment (Birch Bay) LLP purchased the property from Union Bank for just under $8 million. The property includes most of Birch Bay Square and about 16 acres to the north of the mall.
The bank took over the mall last year after the previous owners, the Ware family of Mount Vernon and Birch Bay Square I and II LLC, defaulted on nearly $20 million in loans originally issued by Frontier Bank of Everett. Union Bank took over Frontier after the Everett bank failed in April 2010.
The new owner is a group of several investors out of British Columbia, said Patrick Starr, a real estate agent who helped broker the deal. Starr is a managing broker out of the Bellingham John L. Scott office.
Starr said the first order of business is to fill the 140,000 square foot retail center that’s near the Birch Bay-Lynden Road exit of Interstate 5. It’s currently at 42 percent occupancy, but Starr said the company has a waiting list of about 10 companies expressing interest in leasing space. Some-times a property can be difficult to lease when it has gone through a foreclosure process and falls under the ownership of a bank.
I wrote about it’s liquor license application last month, but below is the official announcement that it is coming to Bellingham. It’s going into 114 Stuart Road (in the shopping center that’s home to Big 5 Sporting Goods, near Walmart). I’ll try to track down the details on an opening date:
Neighborhood specialty beverage retailer BevMo! set to open stores in Bellevue, Northgate, Bellingham and Ballard
Seattle, Wash. — Oct. 30, 2012 –BevMo! (Beverages & More!), the ultimate neighborhood specialty beverage retailer, today announced it will open four more retail locations in Washington state in the communities of Bellevue, Northgate, Bellingham and Ballard. In addition to the three BevMo! locations that recently opened in Tacoma, Silverdale, and Tukwila, Seattle area residents in Bellevue, Northgate and Ballard will now be able to experience BevMo!’s unique and fun “one-stop” specialty beverage shopping experience in their own backyard. The new Bellingham location will be the first BevMo! store outside the greater Seattle vicinity. Both the Bellevue and Northgate stores will open this November with Bellevue opening November 9th followed by the Northgate BevMo! opening on November 16th.
I will be out of the office until Tuesday, Oct. 30. If there’s breaking business news, or something that needs immediate attention, please contact John Stark at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-715-2274. Thanks!
Bellingham’s Veg Express announced on its Facebook page that it has closed.
Michelle Whittaker started the vegetarian drive-thru stand at 700 Ohio St. in April 2010. The stand offered organic and local products, as well as gluten-free options.
Brad Jones, a Certified Advanced Rolfer with 12 years of experience, has moved Rolfing Bellingham to The Metta Center at 1310 Broadway, Suite 2D.
Rolfing is a system of hands-on bodywork that brings the body into a better alignment, resulting in less pain, greater flexibility and improved physical abilities, Jones said in a news release.
“Rolfing can help people in all walks of life – from sedentary to highly athletic – find new joy in using their bodies,” Jones said. “Rolfing is an effective approach to address chronic neck, back and joint pain, poor posture, tension, anxiety and the after-effects of accidents and injuries.”
An open house is planned at The Meta Center from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. Coffee, tea and treats will be provided and a drawing for prizes is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Other practitioners at The Metta Center, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary during the open house, are yoga instructor John Hawkins and Lise Waugh, who specializes in Thai yoga therapy.
Rolfing Bellingham is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call Jones at 360-255-1557 or visit RolfingBellingham.com.
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in nearly four years, led by job growth in construction and tourism.
The local unemployment rate in September was estimated at 7 percent, down from a revised rate of 7.6 percent in August, according to data from the Washington State Employment Security Department. It’s the lowest monthly rate since December 2008, although it did drop to 7.1 percent in April.
“The big story here is Whatcom nearly getting into that 6 percent range,” said Elizabeth Court, a regional labor economist for the state. “What’s also important is that most of the job growth is happening in the private sector.”
In the past year this area has added 3,100 nonfarm private sector jobs, with the biggest jump coming in construction (up 900 jobs compared to September 2011) and leisure/hospitality (up 600). The public sector added 200 jobs in the same period, all state government positions, according to the data.
In the past year, 3,300 people were added to the workforce for a total of 108,090. The number of people actively seeking work declined by 490 to 7,610.
Court said the job growth locally in construction is consistent with much of the state. She noted that with the stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 already spent, much of the construction work is on private sector projects.
One other positive sign for the local labor market is in the unemployment insurance benefit data. Initial claims for unemployment benefits were 1,012 last month, the lowest level since September 2008.
“At this point were seeing a lot of positive trends in the Whatcom County market,” Court said.
Whatcom’s unemployment rate remains lower than several nearby counties, including Skagit (8.5 percent in September), Island (7.8 percent) and Snohomish (7.6 percent). Ferry and Grays Harbor counties had the highest unemployment rate last month at 12 percent, while San Juan had the lowest, at 5.3 percent.
Last month Washington state’s unemployment rate, seasonably adjusted, was 8.5 percent, while the national rate was 7.8 percent.
Fairhaven Runners & Walkers kicked off a major remodeling project this week at its store (1209 11th St., near Village Books).
Owner Steve Roguski said the plan is to add a mezzanine and redesign the current space to have a more comfortable sitting area as well as add inventory.
During construction the store will be open in a temporary location around the corner, next to the Key Bank entrance. Roguski expects to be back in the newly renovated store around Sunday, Nov. 11.