Archive for December, 2012
As of Dec. 31, I’ve counted 61 storefronts that have either closed in 2012 or announced they were closing (like Sears, which officially closes sometime in late January).
That total is lower than last year, but about the same as 2010. Here are the closure totals:
These totals are not official by any means; I track the closures as they happen through either press releases or regularly checking local shopping districts.
I haven’t tallied all the business openings yet, I hope to do so later this week. I do know that the 2012 business openings are more than double this year’s closures. In 2008 and 2009, the biz closures and openings were about even.
UPDATE: Yesterday (Jan. 2) I drove around Bellingham to take a closer look for business closures and found three more: Freedoms Labs, Oishii Teriyaki (it’s space in the Viking Plaza in the Sehome neighborhood; the Bakerview Square restaurant remains open) and In8 Family Chiropractic. That makes 61 closures the final total for 2012.
Here’s an announcement from cheese meat(s) beer, a cafe at the Whatcom Museum on 250 Flora St. The owners have made the decision to close at the end of January:
Dear friends, family, followers, fans and supporters. We hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to bringing in the new year!
Looking back at 2012, we have had a year full of so many amazing accomplishments; transforming “the big white bean” to cheese meat(s) beer, obtaining the incredible space at the Whatcom Museum, hosting a very successful membership drive for BBL, winning the “Best Local Bite” at the Bite of Bellingham, hosted the Cave Singers show, being open daily and getting to know all of you wonderful people, and of course, welcoming our sweet baby girl, Elouise, into the world.
Over our break we have been doing some serious evaluating of cheese meat(s) beer, trying to determine if we can make it work with our now growing family. Sadly, staying open is just too risky for us. January will be our last month in business. We will be open this coming week; Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm. Happy Hour from 4-6pm, $1 off beer and wine $5 and up. For this week we will run a “greatest hits” menu. If you have any special requests, let us know and we will do our best to have them on the menu. For the remainder of the month we’ll do a series of reservation only dinners. We will announce the dinner dates and themes in a few days, so stay tuned.
We thank all of you, with so much love and appreciation, for the amazing support.
E.A.T. (Elouise, Annalou, Travis)
Here’s a news release from the Bellingham Farmers Market:
Farmers, producers, or crafters in Whatcom and Skagit counties who are looking for new markets and more face-to-face time with customers should consider vending at the Bellingham Famers Market in 2013. Application forms for the main season Saturday market and Wednesday market are now available. The Saturday market runs from April 6 through December 21, and the Wednesday market from June 5 through September 25.
“New vendors enable us to expand the market’s product mix and selection range, and are essential in helping us maintain an interesting, sustainable market for our community,” explained Caprice Teske, Market Director.
The Market is a great way to launch a new business, test-market a creative idea for a new product, or find a new outlet for a proven product. It provides an inexpensive way for folks to reach thousands of customers in a vibrant retail setting. In addition, vendors benefit from our marketing experience and can enjoy mentorship and camaraderie with fellow entrepreneurs.
Terri Zweber, who operates the America’s Cup café on Squalicum Harbor and Our Kitchen is Your Kitchen in the Barkley district, is making changes to both businesses.
America’s Cup is being remodeled and will be closed in the month of January. It’s scheduled to reopen on Friday, Feb. 1.
Our Kitchen is Your Kitchen is moving into a new space. Its Barkley location is now closed and is preparing into an expanded space at 4131 Hannegan Rd., #101, near the corner of Hannegan and E. Bakerview Road. The plan is to reopen the bakery/café in the new space on Feb. 1. Classes are available at the Barkley location in January.
The phone lines and email at Our Kitchen is Your Kitchen are still active and customers can schedule parties and custom orders during the transition. Once in the new space, Our Kitchen is Your Kitchen will have more offerings than before, including homemade soups and made-to-order sandwiches, said manager Susanna Morgan in an email.
For details and updates, call 360-733-7700 or visit the bakery’s Facebook page.
Digs, a furniture store at 200 W. Holly St., is moving to Seattle in early 2013.
The company announced on its Facebook page that it is having a storewide sale in the month of January, with products discounted between 20 and 75 percent.
Gretchen Bjork opened the store in the spring of 2008.
Washington’s minimum wage will increase by 15 cents an hour on Tuesday, Jan. 1, continuing the trend of being the highest in the nation.
On Jan. 1 the new rate will be $9.19 an hour. The increase is because of a ballot initiative approved by voters in 1998 that ties cost of living in-creases to the minimum wage. According to the Economic Policy Institute, an estimated 144,000 workers in Washington will have a bump in pay as a result of the minimum wage adjustment.
An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute indicates that 81 percent of these low-wage workers are adults over the age of 20, while 35 percent have at least some college education.
Washington is among 10 states scheduled to raise the minimum wage rate. The state with the next highest rate is Oregon, which will set its rate at $8.95 an hour on Jan. 1.
Here’s a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification from the state about Life Care Center, a senior nursing facility. According to several Seattle news outlets, the entire facility is closing at the end of January:
Company: Life Care Center of West Seattle (Seattle) will lay off 99 employees,
effective January 31, 2013
Date of Notification: December 20, 2012
Whatcom’s unemployment rate remained among the lowest in the state last month, but keeping it below 7 percent could be challenging in the coming months.
In November the unemployment rate in Whatcom County was 6.5 percent, up slightly from a revised October rate of 6.3 percent, according to data from the Washington State Employment Security Division. November’s rate is the third straight month Whatcom County was under 7 percent, some-thing that hasn’t happened locally since 2008.
The unemployment rate typically rises significantly in December and January, as seasonal retail workers are laid off following the holiday shop-ping season. Last month an estimated 11,000 people were employed in retail, the highest monthly total since 2007.
Overall job growth has remained solid in the past year. According to the ESD, 66,700 people were employed locally in non-farm, private sector jobs last month, up 2,300 compared to November 2011. Sectors that led the way include trade/transportation (up 700 in the past year), construction (up 600) and manufacturing (up 400).
In the past year public sector employment was flat, employing 16,800 people. Whatcom’s overall labor force last month was 108,110, with 7,070 actively seeking work.
A sign that the unemployment rate could continue to rise locally is a steady increase in initial unemployment benefit claims. Last month Whatcom County had 1,452 initial claims, the highest monthly total since May.
Whatcom’s unemployment rate remained lower than several nearby counties, including Skagit (8.4 percent in November) and Snohomish (6.9 per-cent). King County’s rate was 6.3 percent. The highest rate in the state was in Lewis County, at 11.5 percent, while the lowest rate was in Whitman County, at 5.2 percent.
Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment last month was 7.8 percent, while the national rate was 7.7 percent.
Local business news continues even during the holidays: Here are a few things to pass along:
– 4 Starrs Boutique is closing its Bellis Fair store and the owner (Danielle Starr) is opening a new concept store called Damsel Clothing in the spring at Bakerview Square. The new store on Bakerview will focus on special occasion dresses and accessories.
The Bellis Fair store is closing at the end of December. The Fairhaven 4 Starrs Boutique will remain open.
– Two hair salons have applied for tenant improvement permits to go into new spaces: The Hair Art Studio at 109 Prospect St. and Bella Body & Sol at 960 Harris Ave., Suite 104.
– A permit was issued for a new 7-Eleven store at 145 Samish Way.
– Francesca’s Collection, a women’s clothing boutique store, has filed for permits to go into the Harry Ritchie’s Jewelers space in Bellis Fair mall (near the Food Court). Harry Ritchie’s is currently have a store closing sale.
I will be out of the office until Monday, Dec. 24. If you have some breaking news, please contact my boss Debbie Townsend (firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2280). Thanks!