Vol. 24 No. 1
Jan. 2016 How a creative plan for filling vacant downtown storefronts is succeeding [Page 6]
The Buzz If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it A family-owned appliance business shares its philosophy on growth and business. APPLIANCE, 4
The case for co-ops Business owners and a WWU professor are making a case for the cooperative business model. CO-OPS, 17
The future promises change for the grocery business An industry leader sees millennials and succession as imminent challenges for independent grocers. GROCERY, 7 Renovation work is almost done at the Waples Mercantile Building at 444 Front St. in Lynden. The building burned in June 2008. [OLIVER LAZENBY | THE BBJ]
The heart of downtown Lynden beats again
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A hotel and a mix of retail tenants are opening in the historic Waples Mercantile Building Some call it the heart of Lynden. With an injection of several well-established businesses, the old Lynden Department Store is beating life into downtown Lynden once again. Developers are almost done with a $6 million remodel of the historic building at 444 Front St., which partially burned in 2008 and has sat vacant since. The building’s developers renamed it the Waples Mercantile Building in honor of
H.W. “Billy” Waples, who opened a general opened next door in December. Avenue Bread, store in 1897 that became the Lynden Departanother business with a Fairhaven location, ment Store. is aiming to open a restaurant in the building Two well established Whatcom County busiearly next year. nesses opened in the building’s 9,500-squarefoot first floor retail space in late 2015 and three WAPLES, PAGE 3 more will open their doors in early 2016. So far, the building is reminiscent of Fairhaven. Village Books and Paper Dreams opened a second location in the Waples Building in November, and its Fairhaven neighbor, Drizzle Olive Oil and Vinegar, WE SELL AND BUY:
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The Bellingham Business Journal Though the 2008 fire nearly destroyed the building, its structure survived, Treat said. And it’s a structure that would be hard to replicate. Sturdy, 12x12-inch old-growth timbers and bare brick walls are visible throughout the interior. The floor beneath the tall shelves at Village Books is made from vertically stacked 2x6-inch lumber from a time when the boards actually measured 2 inches by 6 inches. The concrete floor beneath the stainless steel tanks of olive oil at Drizzle is scarred from a century of use. The National Register of Historic Places added the Waples Mercantile Building to its listing in 2011. On the two-story building’s top floor, the developers are running The Inn at Lynden, a 35-room hotel, which opened on Dec. 28. The hotel is well-suited to serving tourists who come to see Lynden’s historic downtown, Treat said.
and this seemed like the perfect fit,” Dana Driscoll said. “We’ve been so welcomed here.” Like its Fairhaven store, Drizzle’s Lynden location sells mostly olive oil. But unlike the original store, it has a variety of food. Executive chef Andy Nguyen serves meat and cheese boards, homemade pickles and other charcuterie. In December, the owners of Fairhaven specialty cheese shop Perfectly Paired were also working toward opening a storefront in Lynden, down the street from the Waples Mercantile Building at 655 Front St. “One reason that all these businesses are liking it up here is that downtown Lynden, like Fairhaven, is a great historic district,” Hanson said. Bellingham Baby Company plans to open its Waples store in January, according to its
website. The business, which sells clothes, toys and books for babies and toddlers, opened its Bellingham store in 2008 at 2925 Newmarket St., in Barkley Village. Overflow Taps is the only business coming to the building that is not already established elsewhere. Overflow will have 13 taps with cider and beer, and will serve snacks and allow deliveries from nearby restaurants, CEO Jesse Nelson said. The business will donate 25 cents from every pint it sells to charities that help bring clean drinking water to developing countries, Nelson said. Nelson and his partners, Josh Libolt and Adam Stacey, were interested in the building because of its other tenants, and for the building’s historical appeal. All three are Lynden residents, and both of Nelson’s
WAPLES, PAGE 9
A perfect fit
[OLIVER LAZENBY PHOTO | THE BELLINGHAM BUSINESS JOURNAL]
WAPLES, FROM 1 Overflow Taps and the Bellingham Baby Company also plan to open Waples locations in early 2016.
$6 million renovation ForeFront Ventures, the group that owns the building, formed in 2013 when Teri and Matt Treat bought ownership shares of the property, joining Jeff and Debra McClure. Teri Treat said the McClures approached her and her husband with ideas for the renovation. “We love the building. It’s got great bones. It’s got so many things going for it,” she said. “The more we looked at the building and the more we talked to the McClure’s and fleshed it out, it was something we really wanted to do.” Treat estimated that the project’s total cost will be more than $6 million. The developers aimed for historical accuracy throughout the project and worked with a historic preservation project manager. “There were some challenges,” Treat said. “Preserving some of the timbers was more costly than we expected.”
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Andy Nguyen, executive chef at Drizzle Olive Oil and Vinegar’s new Lynden location, making a meat and cheese board.
ForeFront Ventures had little trouble attracting businesses to the building, Treat said. Village Books and Paper Dreams, a Fairhaven book and gift store that opened its original location in 1980, had been looking for a space for a second location for several years, said Paul Hanson, general manager. “When we heard about this and heard the history of the building and RMC’s reputation, it hit every point that we were looking for,” he said. RMC Architects did design work for the building and Dawson Construction was the project’s general contractor. A cascade effect led to Village Books and Paper Dreams, Drizzle, and Avenue Bread all signing leases in the building, Hanson said; The businesses heard about the opportunity from each other and were excited by each other’s interest. Drizzle owners Ross and Dana Driscoll were also looking for a second location when they heard about the renovation, Dana Driscoll said. “We’ve been looking for the perfect fit
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If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it How Judd & Black expanded the family appliance business up Interstate 5 without going into debt BY PATRICIA S. GUTHRIE For The Bellingham Business Journal If you’re ever looking for the owners of Everett’s homegrown appliance store, Judd & Black, try the freight room. Or the repair shop. Or the aisles of their five stores now spread up and down the I-5 corridor in five counties. Because that’s where Bob and Cory Long often can be found doing what comes naturally to the brothers carrying on the legacy of their grandfather’s business, now in its 75th year. Company president, Bob Long III, 48, says his employees are often shocked to find him doing not-so-white-collar work. They ask, “‘Bob, why are you up in the warehouse putting away freight or running a hand truck?’ It’s because I work, this is my job,” says the matter-of-fact boss of some 100 employees. “This is what I do.” Work hard, take care of customers, treat employees like family, give back to the community and don’t buy it if you can’t afford it. And for goodness sake, provide repair service for the refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, dryers, dish washers, and other major appliances that go out the door. Such business axiom has been passed down from founder Bob Long Sr., to his sons, Bob Long Jr. and Bill Long, then to
the sons of Bob Long Jr., Bob Long III and Cory Long, 46. It’s now being instilled in the fourth generation, Taylor Long, Bob’s 24-year-old son. Working their way up — and buying out the business from the previous generation — is also a Long tradition. Bob III started doing deliveries in 1983, took out trash and worked in the warehouse. Cory started in the late 1980s while still in high school. Taylor also began learning the ropes — or wires and electronics — at a young age. But he didn’t have to, he stresses. “It wasn’t required. I decided I wanted to do it,” he says walking past rows of spanking new stoves, refrigerators, dryers, grills and dish washers. “I started at age 16 with the delivery department, then service and parts and now I’m on the sales floor. Yeah, I’ll probably be a lifer like the others.” It’s also not unusual to find sons and daughters of long-time employees at Judd & Black’s five stores in Everett, Bellingham, Lynnwood, Marysville and Mount Vernon. One reason is the reasonable hours, steady shifts and getting major holidays off when stores are closed. Unlike large retail stores, Judd & Black businesses are open only from 9 to 5:30 every day. Why? Because the original Bob Long wanted to be home for dinner every night and spend time with his family. “We care about our employees as much as we care about our customers,” says
his namesake grandson, Bob Long lll. “We’re not open until 9 o’clock tonight. We’re not trying to kill anybody. That’s why our hours are where they’re at. You have a whole other part of your life. You have children, you have family, you have church.” But where are Judd and Black? They’ve told the story countless times but seem happy to provide the history lesson one more time. Way back when, in 1940, when microwaves were science fiction and wood-fired wasn’t a cooking fad but a necessity (OK maybe not that far back) a man named Wayne Judd opened his own small electric shop selling and repairing new-fangled items. Think cake mixers and toasters. Don Black joined a few years later. In 1945, a young enterprising man named Bob Long who knew his way around wires started working for them. At the end of World War II, when rations on metal and other material came to an end, along came a new way to wash clothes using electricity. Washing machines — no hands-on wringer required — soon became the envy of every American household. So Judd & Black got into the washing machine sales business. And Bob Long really got into the suds, soak and rinse cycles. “He thought the washing machine was a pretty cool invention and it took off,” said Rachel Sylte, marketing director for Judd &
Black, who recently gathered materials for the company’s 75th anniversary celebration. “In 1976, Bob Long, Sr. purchased the business and turned it into an appliance store.” He decided to keep the name Judd & Black. As did his sons, and his son’s sons. “These are the guys who founded it. They’re the ones who worked their butts off,” says the current Bob Long. (His father, Robert Forbes Long, died in 2011.) “They’re the ones who made it. I don’t think any of us put a lot into the name. We’re branded this way. I have too much respect for what this company has done for the last 75 years to go change the name.” Bob Jr. bought the company in 1986; his sons, in turn, took over the family enterprise in 2005, three years before the economy went boom, boom, bleak. From 2008 through 2010, the company struggled. “In hindsight we were a little bit naive,” Bob Long lll, admits.” You don’t know how to play the game until you’ve played hurt. We only knew how to play successful up to that point. We were riding on our parents coattails.”
Give back, don’t go in debt Once a fixture in only Snohomish County, the past four years have presented opportunities the Long brothers couldn’t
Judd & Black, PAGE 9
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The Bellingham Business Journal
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Downtown Bellingham Partnership succeeds in filling downtown vacancy Textile arts instructor opens classroom, fashion store called Social Fabric in long-vacant space BY OLIVER LAZENBY The Bellingham Business Journal About three years ago, Renee Sherrer began looking for a downtown space where she could teach classes on sewing, draping, and other forms of textile arts, and also sell jewelry, women’s clothing and other retail items. She wanted a space with both long-term parking and a steady stream of foot traffic. A city-owned storefront at 1302 Commercial St., next to the downtown parking garage, has sat empty since Sherrer started her unhurried search. The two found each other this fall, in part because of a project aimed at making the bare storefront more lively. Sherrer’s new business, Social Fabric, signals an early success for the Downtown Bellingham Partnership’s creative plan for filling downtown vacancies. The partnership, with support from the City of Bellingham in the form of free rent, opened a pop-up shop for small retailers, dance and yoga instructors and other entrepreneurs in the space, which is between Gary’s Men’s and Women’s Wear and the Downtown Bellingham Partnership office, in September. The project, called Hatch, had two goals: to give budding entrepreneurs a low risk venue to try out their business ideas rent-free, and to draw attention to the longvacant space in hopes of attracting a paying tenant. Not long after the Downtown Bellingham Partnership took over the space, Sherrer wandered in. Though it’s on a busy downtown street, some think the storefront is challenging for retailers. It’s next to the ramp to the downtown parking garage and it lacks street parking. “It’s just one of those things— some spots are more difficult to fill than others and the right
person hasn’t looked at that spot,” said Gary Lupo, owner of Gary’s, last summer.
tition hosted by the Downtown Bellingham Partnership last summer, she said. That was the partnership’s goal for Hatch, to be a dragnet for potential paying tenants and to allow them to see the space full of activity—with small retailers, yoga classes, or workshops that gave the storefront an appeal its bare walls didn’t have. “A lot of times a vacancy looks like a giant blank canvas. They don’t know where to start,” said Dylan Green, visual and communications coordinator with the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. “That’s where Hatch comes in. We give them some ideas for what it could be.” Sherrer also credits the space’s leasing agent at Saratoga Commercial Real Estate, who showed her the floor plan for the space when Sherrer was interested in a different downtown vacancy.
Parking a necessity Sherrer, a sewing instructor at Whatcom Community College, seems to be the right person for the spot. Proximity to the downtown parking garage is almost a necessity for her since her students will need to park for longer than the two-hour limit imposed on downtown metered spaces, she said. Beyond that, the 1,700-squarefoot space is the right size for Sherrer. She filled one corner of the store with a long table where she plans to teach her hands-on courses. The rest of the shop has displays for retail items including clothing, Sherrer’s line of scarves, and such oddball items as belts and jewelry made from repurposed bicycle tires. Social Fabric’s retail products have a focus on art. (Sherrer considers herself an artist first and foremost. “I always have an art studio,” she said. “I would sleep on the floor before I wouldn’t have a studio.”) Sherrer’s textile art hangs on the wall and decorates the spare spaces of the shop. With her art, Sherrer likes to stretch the definition of textile, she said. Examples on display at Social Fabric include a dress made from pasta and another made from bras. “The trick is to take an unusual material and make it as elegant as if it were silk,” Sherrer said. Her career in textile arts includes everything from designing and marketing her own line of clothing to owning a clothing store in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, 75 miles south of San Jose. She has her own line of scarves and silk accessories called ReneeRenee and she’s also selling Social Fabric-brand products.
Hatch 2.0 opens soon
Above: Renee Sherrer, a sewing instructor at Whatcom Community College, plans to teach textile arts classes at her new store, Social Fabric, at 1302 Commercial St. Right: A wedding dress that Sherrer made from bras on display at Social Fabric. [OLIVER LAZENBY PHOTOS | THE BBJ]
Her classes will draw on all her experience in the fashion and textile industry, including marketing and business, she said.
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Did Hatch work? Sherrer may not have considered the space if she hadn’t been in it during a recycled art compe-
Nick Hartrich, Downtown Bellingham Partnership executive director, said the Hatch experiment attracted attention faster than he expected. Hatch was open for a little more than two months before it had to close to make way for Social Fabric. That success roused the attention of other downtown property owners and leasing agents, Hartrich said, and finding a spot for the second iteration of Hatch wasn’t hard. “It started to get interest from private-sector owners,” he said. “I think through the success of Hatch 1.0, through activities and work and excitement around Hatch, we were able to generate a really strong lead.” Hatch 2.0 will open on Jan. 8 at 221 Prospect St., north of the Whatcom Museum on a block
Textile, PAGE 7
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TEXTILE, FROM 6
with several other vacancies. The new space is 2,800 square feet, 1,100 square feet bigger than the old location. Like the first Hatch location, the storefront has been vacant for several years, Hartrich said. The new location will have it’s own challenges. It’s in a less-traveled area at the edge of downtown, between Barry’s A-Ace Bail Bonds and a couple other vacancies. There are fewer shops and more public sector buildings—the library and the Whatcom County Courthouse are nearby—and fewer shoppers. Like the first iteration, the second Hatch will have a month-to-month lease and its occupants will have to move as soon as a paying tenant comes along. “It’s definitely going to come with its challenges but it will be more streamlined than the first one,” Hartrich said.
Oliver Lazenby, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local housing sales slower in November, but prices still high BY OLIVER LAZENBY The Bellingham Business Journal Home and condo sales in Whatcom County slowed in November, as is typical, but prices didn’t change, according to the latest report from the Northwest Multiple Listings Service (NMLS). NMLS brokers reported closing 214 sales last month. That’s actually down about two percent from November 2014. But almost 14 percent more deals were underway this November than last, according to the report. The median price for home sales that closed in Whatcom County in November was $280,500, a 5.8 percent jump from the year-ago figure of $265,000. Months of inventory, a measure of the time it would take to sell all current listings at the current sales pace, rose over the past few months to 4.0 in November. Analysts
consider about six months of inventory to be a balanced market. Less than that is considered a seller’s market because homes sell faster and for more money. Months of inventory in Whatcom County grew 18.7 percent from a June low of 3.37 months of inventory. In November 2014 the county had 5.52 months of inventory, according to the NMLS data.
By the numbers: Whatcom County housing sales, November 2015 Includes single-family houses and condominiums combined Closed sales Total units—November 2015: 214; November 2014: 218 (Annual change: 1.86 percent decrease). Average sale price—November 2015: $311,196; November 2014: $288,712
(Annual change: 7.78 percent increase). Median sale price—November 2015: $280,500; November 2014: $265,000 (Annual change: 5.85 percent increase). Pending sales Total units—November 2015: 310; November 2014: 268 (Annual change: 15.67 percent increase). Active listings New listings—November 2015: 217; November 2014: 218 (Annual change: 0.46 percent decrease). Total listings—November 2015: 857; November 2014: 1,203 (Annual change: 28.76 percent decrease). Months of inventory—November 2015: 4; November 2014: 5.52 (Annual change: 27.53 percent decrease).
Industry leader sees change ahead for independent grocers BY JENNIFER SASSEEN For The Bellingham Business Journal The way millennials shop is going to change the grocery business, says local grocer Mike Trask, and smaller independent stores will need to embrace new technologies to survive. Owner of the Granite Falls and Edmonds IGA stores, Trask, 61, was recently named chair of the board of directors of the Washington Food Industry Association, a trade group representing the state’s independent grocers and suppliers. Trask took time out of his busy schedule to give his thoughts on problems the trade group faces. “One of the biggest pressures right now is the online,” Trask said. “And so all of us are starting, I think, to form a five-year plan, a four-year plan, to make sure that we’re in the online business.” That means offering loyalty cards with deals tailored to the customer and emailing ads and coupons, but also setting up websites and digital apps that allow customers to buy their groceries online. His stores already offer grocery delivery in Edmonds, where a good share of the customer base is seniors. He’s planning to expand those services this year to his Granite Falls store, he said, and both stores offer the option to order online and pick up in-store. “And that is really one of the things we think the millennials will want,” Trask said. “They can pick it up on their time frame and not have to be home. They work during the day and might not hit a delivery window.” He’s also breaking out a new shopper app this year that “will
give it all to them on the phone,” Trask said, because he thinks that’s the way millennials are going to shop — with their smartphones. “I just don’t think there’s any way around that.” Another big challenge for the independents is the line of succession, Trask said. Though smaller stores have regained much of the business they lost during the recession that began in 2008, the pre-recession bank loans have not returned. “I got this store on a handshake and a plan-ona-paper napkin type of thing,” he said, referring to the Granite Falls store, which he bought in 1999 from brother Stan Trask and his business partner, Larry Fritz. (Hence the corporate name, Stanlar Inc., which Trask hasn’t bothered to change). But gone are the days when a person’s reputation was enough to secure a bank loan, said Trask, who started out in the business bagging groceries and worked his way up through the ranks to store director and district manager positions. And even if the loans were there, the buyers are not. The situation poses a dilemma for some 65-and-over store owners, who’ve maybe lost their vision for the future and are just hanging on, he said. “We’re all aging and we’re not getting the people underneath us that will take over our stores someday,” he said. The Washington Food Industry Association is aware of the problem, Trask said, and has put a lot of time and effort into developing leadership courses and a scholarship program to train a new generation of store owners.
Besides his duties with the Washington Food Industry Association, Trask sits on the board for Unified Grocers, which is headquarted in Southern California and bills itself as “the largest retailer-owned grocery cooperative in the western United States.”
“We’re all aging and we’re not getting the people underneath us that will take over our stores someday.” MIKE TRASK OWNER EDMONDS AND GRANITE FALLS IGA
It gives him a lot of insight into the grocery industry, he said. “What’s happening with us is the same thing that’s happening at the wholesalers,” he said. “They have the same problems, they’re just one big grocery store. So when you sit there and try to solve problems for Unified, you’re also trying to solve problems for yourself.” Each year, members and board members of the Washington Food Industry Association travel to Olympia to meet with legislators and talk about proposed legislation and how it will affect the independent grocery industry. The need for transportation reform is a hot topic in the grocery world, Trask said. Delivery
trucks spend far too much time stuck in traffic and that costs everyone money. “From the wholesalers’ standpoint, transportation is a lifeline to the stores,” he said, “and probably the biggest cost they have is trucks and fuel and drivers on the road.” While the chain stores can fill a truck and deliver to many stores at a time, it’s different for the independents with only one or two stores. They’ve had to cut back from three or four deliveries a week to two deliveries to maximize the trucks and reduce costs. If an order doesn’t show up in a delivery for whatever reason, store shelves sit empty for days. Yet gas taxes collected to fix traffic problems in Washington are not being used wisely, Trask said. For example, it costs much less to build a bridge in other states than it does here. Proposed legislation to adopt Seattle’s $15 minimum wage statewide is another bone of contention. The Washington Food Industry Association accepts that the minimum wage needs to be uniform throughout the state and raised “to somewhere north of $10,” Trask said, but “we don’t accept the fact that it has to be $15.” Many of the independents already pay a $15 average wage or more, as well as medical benefits, he said, but a lower training wage is a necessity. Grocers can’t afford to pay young people $15 an hour to bag groceries, he said, yet that’s how many people, from politicians to Microsoft executives, got their start. “They all started out in that town grocery store,” Trask said. At $15 an hour, courtesy clerks
will become a thing of the past. Employees who check out groceries will also have to bag them, he said, and the level of service will decline. “I really think this is going to be a death sentence for kids getting jobs,” he said. The ban some cities have imposed on plastic bags also needs to be made uniform throughout the state, Trask said. Reform is also needed in the state’s workers’ compensation system, administered by the Department of Labor and Industries, Trask said. Regarding the Haggen debacle — in which the Bellingham-based company went from 18 stores to 164 after acquiring 146 in the Albertsons-Safeway merger, and just a few months later filed for bankruptcy protection: “There’s just no way, when they announced that, I could even have fathomed that they could pull that off,” Trask said. “In most of the industry, that was the biggest awe, that they were going to try to do that. Not that they were buying those stores, that they were going to try and pull it off.” Getting involved in something that big, the whole thing steamrolls and you don’t have time to learn from your mistakes, he said. Haggen probably got some bad advice, didn’t realize store prices were raised and by how much and didn’t understand their markets. “They’re just a great company, always have been,” Trask said. “Their forefathers were great independents. So it’s sad to see, but I believe that they’ll come out of this with some shape or form of something that will be intact.”
The Bellingham Business Journal
Jobs: County unemployment rate down to 5.2% Bankruptcies
October 2015: 5.2 % October 2014: 6.2 %
November 2015 total: 33 Annual change: + 50.00 %
Includes non-seasonally adjusted figures in Whatcom County
Includes filings for Chapters 7, 11 and 13 in Whatcom County
Chapters 11,13 Chapter 7
Labor force participation rate October 2015: 62.8% October 2014: 63.6%
Includes non-seasonally adjusted figures for Washington state
J FMAM J J A S OND J FMAM J J A S O 2014
J FMAM J J A S OND J FMAM J J A S ON 2014
SOURCE: WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
J F MAM J J A S ON D J F MAM J A S O
SOURCE: U.S. BANKRUPTCY COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
SOURCE: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Spending: Building permit values fall seasonally Sales-tax distribution
Includes monthly averages (Canada-to-U.S.) at market closing
November 2015: $5,312,911 November 2014: $8,052,312
November 2015: $0.76 November 2014: $0.88
Includes basic and optional local sales tax to Bellingham
November 2015: $1,981,437.62 Annual change: + 7.16%
SOURCE: WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
J FMAM J J A S OND J FMAM J J A S ON 2014
J FMAM J J A S OND J FMAM J J A S ON 2014
SOURCE: BANK OF CANADA
SOURCE: CITY OF BELLINGHAM
Housing: Property values still hot into winter Housing sale prices
J FMAM J J A S OND J FMAM J J A S ON
Includes sales of single-family houses and condos in Whatcom County
Pending sales Closed sales
SOURCE: NORTHWEST MULTIPLE LISTINGS SERVICE
J FMAM J J A S OND J FMAM J J A S ON
Delinquency rate: September 2015: 1.68% September 2014: 2.41% Foreclosure rate: September 2015: 0.65 % September 2014: 0.86%
Closed, November 2015: 214 Annual change: - 1.86 % Pending, November 2015: 310 Annual change: + 13.54 %
Foreclosures & delinquencies
Average: November 2015: $311,196 November 2014: $288,712 Median: November 2015: $280,500 November 2014: $265,000
J FMAM J J A S OND J FMAM J A S OND J FMAM J J A S
SOURCE: NORTHWEST MULTIPLE LISTINGS SERVICE
Other factors: Traffic up at BLI with seasonal flights Cruise terminal traffic
Airport traffic Includes total passengers flying from Bellingham International Airport
October 2015: 1,060,942 Year-over-year: ďż˝ 10.78 %
Includes inbound and outbound passengers at Bellingham Cruise Terminal
70K 60K 50K
Includes southbound passengers crossings into Whatcom County
20K 10K 0
November 2015: 971 November 2014: 1,242
November 2015: 37,952 Annual change: - 6.11%
SOURCE: PORT OF BELLINGHAM
J FMAMJ J A SOND J FMAMJ J A SOND J FMAMJ J A SON
SOURCE: PORT OF BELLINGHAM
SOURCE: WWU BORDER POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Notes: Graphs include the most recent data available at press time. Annual changes show cumulative difference from the same time period during the previous year. Data include raw numbers only and are not adjusted to account for any seasonal factors.
learn how to repair computers or something like that. You’re not going to learn to repair a washing machine,” said the current Bob Long. “When you buy something at pass up. They took over two appliance Lowes or Home Depot, they don’t have stores, Anderson Appliance in Mount Verrepair service. So we pick up a lot of their non and Lehmann Appliance in Bellingservice calls.” ham, and also merged with Anaco AppliJudd & Black also makes sure their sales ance in Anacortes. This means the name staff know their stuff, the selling points of Judd & Black bellows from yellow and brands like Whirlpool, Maytag, Kitchenblue trademark signs up and down the I-5 Aid, Gen-Air, Wolf and Viking. corridor from Lynnwood to the Canadian “We have a lot of knowlborder, covering Skagit edge that you can’t get in , Snohomish, Whatcom, “Never borrow any money. big box stores,” Sylte said. Island and San Juan send our sales people counties. Don’t ever pay interest. We “We all over the country to learn But the brothers say about the latest products.” they won’t be expanding don’t buy trucks or tools or service is also anymore anytime soon. office equipment if we have Community a Judd & Black tradition. They are careful not to Recently retired long-time overextend themselves to finance.” general manager, Rick or their company. Kvangnes, was known for Bob Long says his BOB LONG III his leadership of Christmas grandfather taught him PRESIDENT House, which collects and “if you can’t pay for it, JUDD & BLACK distributes presents for lowdon’t buy it.” income families. The compa“Never borrow any ny also supports the Boys and Girls Club, money. Don’t ever pay interest. We don’t the annual Charity Golf Tournament, and buy trucks or tools or office equipment if many other service, art, and sports organiwe have to finance. If you have to buy a zations. Employees are also encouraged to truck, it hurts swallowing $75,000 to buy a volunteer their time. “We’re a family comnew delivery truck. But it’s what you’ve got pany and we’re a hometown company so to have to do the job.” we help support the communities we live With hub stores in Everett and Mount and work in,” said Sylte, vice president of Vernon, the business also has a large parts the Skagit Tulip Festival board. department, a large crew to install appliThe brothers can also be pretty low-key ances and union-represented service techabout their charitable donations, often nicians. requesting anonymity. Bob and Cory Long’s father and grand“My brother and I were taught a long father were both skilled electricians so they time ago by our grandparents that you grew up learning the importance of skilled know when you give, you give to give, you trades and manual labor. don’t give to get. There’s marketing pro“Repairing appliances is kind of a dying motions and there’s community donations.” art. If you go to school, you’re going to
WAPLES, FROM 3 wife’s parents worked in the Lynden Department Store, he said. They’re aiming to open the tap house in late January, Nelson said. Avenue Bread also plans to open its Waples location soon, according to its website. Village Books and Drizzle have both been busy since opening, Hanson and Driscoll said. Hanson said local customers share memories of roaming the building’s department stores as children, or of their parents
or grandparents working in the building. “They’re either in tears or on the verge of tears,” he said.
Fairhaven connection Downtown Lynden, with its compact core and small businesses, is a similar retail environment to Fairhaven, said Gary Vis, executive director of the Lynden Chamber of Commerce. “We have strong independent businesses that have gone on for generations,” He said. To Lynden, the building reopening is “a really big
deal,” Vis said, especially because so many of the businesses moving in have been successful elsewhere. And they don’t create much overlap or competition with other Lynden businesses, he said. “I haven’t talked to anyone yet who is not thrilled,” Vis said. “We know ultimately what’s good for one is good for all.”
Oliver Lazenby, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or email@example.com.
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Bellingham / Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry : Representing Businesses Across Whatcom County
An Update from the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry BELLINGHAM/WHATCOM
Professional Development Series CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Become more productive and simplify your work The mission of a Chamber of Commerce is to serve the business community. We offer networking events that help member businesses connect with one another. We offer speeches that keep businesses informed on topics including succession planning and human resources. We also offer professional development classes so our members have opportunities to learn, grow and expand their professional knowledge.
everyday work so we can reduce stress and increase results. The principles of lean thinking 360-734-1330 | email@example.com provide a method with which we can build tools to manage our work life and projects better. One of the fundamental objectives of Breakfast “lean”1/8—Networking is to eliminate waste, which then Sponsored by: Home Attendant CareReal increases performance. This is what Where: Northwood Hall Symple3240 Project Management is about; Northwood Ave., Bellingham reducing waste in your project When: 7:15—9 a.m. management Cost:in$14 withto RSVP / $18the without RSVPand system order reduce anxiety RSVP at bellingham.com stress of chaos so you can improve your performance. Cutting at Kelly Services 1/13—Ribbon
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from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. The workshop: cost is $400 1/13—Google Cities On January 15th, the Bellingham/ for Bellingham/Whatcom of Put your business onChamber the map! Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Commerce members and $500 for nonWhere: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce Industry will be offering a four part series members and willStreet, be held theBellingham BP 119 N. Commercial Suitein110, p.m. of workshops designed to help employees Conference When: Room 4:30-5:30 at the chamber’s office Cost: FREE become more efficient and more productive. at 119 N. Commercial Street, Suite 110, RSVP at bellingham.com This topic is useful to many of us who Bellingham. For more information, please struggle with the problem of impracticable call the chamber at 360-746-2433. 1/15—2/5—Professional Development workloads and tight deadlines. Series: Real Simple Project Management four 4-hour workshops Real Series SympleofProject Management Where: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce The solution is “Real Symple Project (4) 4 hour workshops 119 N. Commercial Street, Suite 110, Bellingham Fridays, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Management” with instructor Dan Purdy. When: 1-55,p.m., January 15 - Fridays, February 20161/15-2/5/16 Western Washington University marketer Cost: $400—members / $500– non-members at Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce Dan Purdy of Real Symple Solutions Register at bellingham.com 119 N. Commercial St., Suite 110, Bellingham specializes in innovating practical ways to Member price - $400 After Business 1/21—Business manage your work, your teams and your Non-member price - $500 Sponsored by: Ku|cumber Skin Lounge projects. Through courses, workshops Register at bellingham.com Where: 436 W. Bakerview Road, #101, Bellingham and articles, Purdy works to help us When: 5:30—7:30 p.m. understand and implement best practices 2/12—Networking Breakfast from the world of lean startup, psychology, Sponsored by: TBA management and marketing. His most recent seminar, Real Symple Project Management, is designed to help professionals employ lean project management principles to their everyday work and what it takes to reduce stress and increase results with lean principles. Real Symple Project Management is designed to help professionals employ lean project management principles to their
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Where: Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce 119 N. Commercial Street, Suite 110, Bellingham When: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Cost: FREE RSVP at bellingham.com
1/15—2/5—Professional Development Series: Real Simple Project Management Series of four 4-hour workshops
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Resolutions, Construction, and Time Capsules I'm not very good at New Years resolutions. Actually, that's not entirely true. I'm good st making them...just not keeping them. But as the calendar page turns on 2016, I've come up with a few resolutions I'm determined to not only keep, but to completely master during this coming year. The first resolution is finding or creating an easily managed system for my email inbox. Although I routinely delete, unsubscribe, delegate and file, there's still about 20,000 emails in there at any given moment. I've tried many of the suggestions from time management and organizationally gurus, only to find myself searching my carefully labeled files in vain for the one email I need. If you've found a successful way to manage your emails, please share it with me. I promise to keep trying until I find a method that works for me. The next, similarly based resolution is to avoid letting voicemails pile up. My cell phone at least identifies the caller by name or number so it's easier to guess the nature of the call and how long I might need to set aside to return it (sorry mom...). My office line just glares at me with that accusatory red blinking eye. The third and final resolution is to immediately put every scheduled activity and deadline including family obligations and tentative meeting times in my outlook calendar. I don't want to be the mom who sends one of my kids to school without his (fill in the blank here) nor to double book a time because a tentative meeting got firmed up. These may not sound like much in the way of resolutions, but taking back control of these little things will make a huge difference in the long run. If you've driven by our Potter Street offices and information center lately, you will notice we are in the midst of a remodeling and expansion project.
disc"along with some brochures and souvenirs from 1998. Well of course our current staff will be carrying forward the tradition and are adding a few timely treasures to the box before reinstalling into a wall. So far we have a thumb drive of documents and videos, and I think we should tuck in a newspaper with another Clinton in the headlines. I wonder who may find the time capsule next...and under what circumstance. And I wonder if I will have figured out how to clear my in box by then! Happy 2016!
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Under the very capable management of the Franklin Corporation, our lighthouse building is getting a bit larger and a lot more efficient. The bulk of the project will be finished by late January with some exterior improvements and maintenance scheduled for later in the spring. When you tear into an older building, you're never quite sure what you may find. And our building has been no exception. One of the delightful discoveries, however, was a time capsule which had been put into the wall during the building’s last upgrade 17 plus years ago. Inside an old cash box, we found a newspaper with bold headlines declaring CLINTON IMPEACHED. We found a copy of the tourism bureaus budget, marketing plan and organizational papers...carefully preserved on what I'm sure at the time was a totally high tech "floppy
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People On The Move WWU theatre professor named 2015 Washington Professor of the Year Western Washington University’s Rich Brown, associate professor of theatre arts, was selected as the 2015 Washington Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council Rich Brown for Advancement and Support of Education. The award is based the following: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contribution to undergraduate education in the institution, community and profession; and support from colleagues and former undergraduate students, according to a press release from the university Brown has taught at Western since 2006. He said his research and focus is on creating new work that celebrates cultural differences. Brown received the award in Washington D.C. on Nov. 19. He’s the
second Western faculty member to receive the award in three years; geology professor Scott Linneman won it in 2013.
honors successful agents for length of service and commissions earned during their careers with the company.
Gov. Inslee appoints two to Fairhaven massage practitio- WWU board of trustees ner receives certification Gov. Jay Inslee recently appointed Susan Guttzeit, a massage practitioner with a practice at 960 Harris Ave., in Fairhaven, was recently certified as an Active Isolated Stretching therapist by the Active Isolated Stretching National Certifying Board.
Bellingham lawyer lands on list of top attorneys Seattle Met magazine included Bellingham lawyer Emily Beschen in its list of top women attorneys in the state. The magazine’s list is based on peer nominations, a panel review and independent research on candidates, according to a press release from the Law Offices of Robert D. Butler, where Beschen works. Beschen is a criminal defense attorney.
Re/Max agents earn company award Sally Webb and Rachael Wilson, with RE/MAX Whatcom County, were recently presented with the RE/ MAX Hall of Fame Award. The award
Maureen West and John M. Meyer to Western Washington University’s Board of Trustees. They will both serve six-year terms that end on Sept. 30, 2021. West has extensive experience in health care. She has worked for more than 30 years as a nurse, and been a faculty member/instructor for nursing programs at Western, Seattle Pacific University, the University of Washington and the Bothell School of Nursing and Health Studies. The other new appointee, Meyer, is a retired judge who served as Skagit County’s Superior Court Judge from 1997 to 2015. Before that he served as a Skagit County District Court Judge and was a partner in a private practice. Western’s eight member board of trustees governs the university and appoints the president. Send business announcements to email@example.com
Per capita income in Whatcom County grew 3.2 percent in 2014 BY OLIVER LAZENBY The Bellingham Business Journal After hardly budging in 2013, per capita income in Whatcom County grew 3.2 percent in 2014, according to new estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In Whatcom County, per capita personal income was $40,840 last year, up from 39,572 in 2013 and $39,507 in 2012, according to new county-level income estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The number is a measure of the total income in the county divided by its population. King County had the highest per capita income in the state with $68,877 and Ferry County had the lowest with $30,680. Whatcom County ranked 16th out of 39 counties in the state last year. The county ranked lower in terms of year-over-year percentage growth. Whatcom’s 3.2 percent per capita
income growth in 2014 placed it at No. 30 out of 39 counties. Whatcom County’s per capita income growth has tracked the state’s numbers for the last several years, with a significant increase in 2014 following several years of almost no growth. Statewide, per capita income grew 4.5 percent in 2014 and 0.3 percent in 2013. Across the state, per capita income grew in all but one county last year, according to the new estimates. Lincoln County, west of Spokane, saw its per capita income fall by 3.1 percent to $41,877. Grays Harbor County posted the state’s biggest percentage change in 2014, growing 6.7 percent from $32,184 to $33,279. Across the United States, county per capita income ranged from $15,787 in Wheeler County, Georgia to $194,485 in Teton County, Wyoming.
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Public Records BUSINESS LICENSES Listings, which feature both new and renewed licenses in Bellingham, include business name, licensee name and the business’ physical address. Records are obtained from the City of Bellingham. November licenses Across The Pond Llc, Across The Pond, Llc, 3309 Plymouth Dr., Bellingham, WA. Ahn Tax & Business Advisors Pllc, Ahn Tax & Business Advisors Pllc, 114 W. Magnolia St., Bellingham, WA. Alejando Gomez, Alejandro Gomez, 1308 W. Illinois St., Bellingham, WA. Altura Taxes & Servicios, Altu Tax Inc., 3084 Northwest Ave., Bellingham, WA. Amy Lynn Campbell, Amy Lynn Campbell, 1031 N. State St., Bellingham, WA. Anneka C Deacon, Anneka C Deacon, 2501 G St., Bellingham, WA. April’s Home & Pet Care, April Ann Smith, 414 W Axton Rd ., Bellingham, WA. Austin Tyler Cotton, Austin Tyler Cotton, 4615 Quinn Ct. Apt. 102, Bellingham, WA. Ava Larsen, Ava Larsen, 466 Cove Rd., Bellingham, WA. Awesume Deals Llc, Awesume Deals Llc, 1810 Texas St., Bellingham, WA. Baymont Inn & Suites, Summit Investments Inc., 125 E Kellogg Rd., Bellingham, WA. Bayside Home Solutions Llc, Bayside Home Solutions Llc, 3808 Morning Mist Way, Bellingham, WA. Because It’s There Llc, Because It’s There, Llc, 1265 Xenia St., Bellingham, WA. Bellingham Billiard Service, Jeffrey Berrian Brashears, 31 Sudden Valley Dr., Bellingham, WA. Bellingham Cocktail Week, Rebecca Ogden, 2613 Williams St., Bellingham, WA. Bellingham Dermatology Pllc, Bellingham Dermatology, Pllc, 2075 Barkley Blvd. Ste 225, Bellingham, WA. Bellingham Seafeast, Bellingham Seafeast, 4716 Fir Tree Way, Bellingham, WA. Bellingham Wheel & Keel Club, Bellingham Wheel & Keel Club, 4921 Samish Way, Bellingham, WA. Benjamin Lerner, Benjamin Lerner, 1314 High St., Bellingham, WA. Bija Llc, Bija, Llc, 2733 Eldridge Ave., Bellingham, WA. Blue Reef Corals, Andrew Barrow, 838 E Kellogg Rd., Bellingham, WA. Brewtique, Brewtique Llc, 2523 Victor St., Bellingham, WA. Brian Grant Hawley, Brian Grant Hawley, 4226 Wintergreen Cir., Bellingham, WA. Bryant D’hondt, Bryant D’hondt, 1348 Parkstone Ln., Bellingham, WA. C & S Consulting Llc, C & S Consulting Llc, 1535 Toledo Ct., Bellingham, WA. Cannabis Connection Northwest, Cannabis Connection Northwest Llc, 4165 Hannegan Rd. Ste C, Bellingham, WA. Cannabis Connection Northwest, Cannabis Connection Northwest Llc, 4190 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA. Cascade Sport Llc, Cascade Sport Llc, 4220 Dumas Ave., Bellingham, WA. Chanelle’s Uber, Chanelle Mazzacano, 3007 Huntington St., Bellingham, WA. Chris Wallace Does Hair, Chris Wallace Does Hair Llc, 310 W Holly St., Bellingham, WA. Christian Bannick, Christian M Bannick, 835 N. State St., Bellingham, WA. Christopher Alan Miller, Christopher Alan Miller, 3340 Southbend Pl. Apt 101, Bellingham, WA. Church Of Recovery, Church Of Recovery, 921 Autumn Ln. Unit 256, Bellingham, WA. Claudia Valerie Andrade, Claudia Valerie Andrade, 512 Darby Dr. Unit 208, Bellingham, WA.
Concierge Captain Services, Mark E Brown, 2818 Eldridge Ave., Bellingham, WA. Cruisin’ Chris, Christopher Allen Jones, 3606 James St., Bellingham, WA. Crystal Moon Creations, Robbin L Prowse, 3011 E North St., Bellingham, WA. D&D Enterprises, Sharon K Yi, 4140 Meridian St. Ste 200, Bellingham, WA. Davey Mack Transport, David Ross Mackinnon, 3011 E North St., Bellingham, WA. David J Adams, David J Adams, 146 Windward Dr., Bellingham, WA. Djh Enterprises, Darren Jh Yi , 4140 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA. Don’s Uber, Donald Paul Rose, 600 E Maple St., Bellingham, WA. Drake Witmer, Drake Witmer, 2513 Racine St., Bellingham, WA. Dream Wireless Llc, Dream Wireless, Llc, 1225 W. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham, WA. E. E. Bersch Productions, Llc, E. E. Bersch Productions, Llc., 2915 Patton St., Bellingham, WA. Emalee Whiteman’s Uber Service, Emalee Raylene Whiteman, 520 Tremont Ave., Bellingham, WA. Emmanuel Karras, Emmanuel Karras, 4075 Gloria Ln., Bellingham, WA. Enabling Prosperity, Susan Donette Bradley, 1135 Franklin St., Bellingham, WA. Enchanted Moments By Kauni, Connie Sue Petty, 989 Pacific Rim Ln., Bellingham, WA. Evergreen Interiors, Sharlene Fay Van Winkle, 2021 Whatcom Ln, Bellingham, WA. Flatrock Design, Llc, Flatrock Design, Llc, 1510 40th St., Bellingham, WA. Flores Painting Llc, Flores Painting Llc, 2227 Texas St., Bellingham, WA. Forescent Technologies, Howard Bruce Jachter, 2 Canyon Ct., Bellingham, WA Forrest Glenn Town, Forrest Glenn Town, 1440 10th St., Bellingham, WA. Foul Mouthed Martha , Erica Lynn Grafton, 2516 Northshore Rd. Trlr 1, Bellingham, WA. Gabriel Knapp Photography, Gabriel Knapp, 1020 Railroad Ave., Bellingham, WA. Gallagher Mountain Bike Coaching, Miles Elliott Gallagher, 1904 G St., Bellingham, WA. Gen Energy Consulting, Adam Leander Garcia, 631 N. Garden St., Bellingham, WA. General Wireless Operations Inc #3350, General Wireless Operations Inc., 1050 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA. General Wireless Operations Inc #3366, General Wireless Operations Inc., 1 Bellis Fair Pkwy Ste 712, Bellingham, WA. George Terek, George Terek, 1302 Commercial St., Bellingham, WA. Gramma’s Closet, Gramma’s Closet Llc, 1393 Bradley Ln., Bellingham, WA. Green Truck II Limited Partnership, Green Truck II Limited Partnership, 921 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA. Green Truck III Limited Partnership, Green Truck III Limited Partnership, 921 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA. Green Truck IV Limited Partnership, Green Truck IV Limited Partnership, 921 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA. Gretchen Kruger Hair, Gretchen Elizabeth Benson, 310 W. Holly St., Bellingham, WA. Greystone Construction Llc, Greystone Construction, Llc, 5860 Milwaukee Rd, Bellingham, WA. Guy T Mcgraw, Guy T Mcgraw, 1505 Broadway St., Bellingham, WA. Guzel Tile Company, Amy Sue Popelka, 2509 Huron St., Bellingham, WA. Hair Rehab By Ariel, Ariel Suzanne Smith, 121 W. Magnolia St., Bellingham, WA. Hanson Mcevoy Llc, Hanson Mcevoy Llc, 2713 Lynn St., Bellingham, WA. Health Insight Hypnosis, Dragonfly Yoga, Llc,
1833 Lakeside Ave., Bellingham, WA. Heather L Small, Heather L Small, 5210 E North St., Bellingham, WA. Highline Homes, Highline Homes Llc, 1420 Meador Ave., Bellingham, WA. His Service, Andrew John Yost, 3988 Y Rd., Bellingham, WA. Holistic Artventures, Havilah Rand, 1500 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA. Hot Properties, Heather Colleen Othme, 1200 Old Fairhaven Pkwy Ste 106, Bellingham, WA. Hovde & Wallace Group Llc, Hovde & Wallace Group Llc, 3115 Alderwood Ave., Bellingham, WA. Huerta’s Painting, Huerta Julio, 4015 Eliza Ave Trlr 4, Bellingham, WA. Ideal Health Bellingham, Linda S. Goggin M.D., Pllc , 208 Halleck St. Ste 101, Bellingham, WA. Intercontinental Market, Jap Inc., 4564 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA. Island View Home Inspections, William Lawrence Dinwiddie, 4929 Samish Way, Bellingham, WA. Jacaranda Land Corporation, Jacaranda Land Corporation, 1210 10th St., Bellingham, WA. Jack David Hensley, Jack David Hensley, 5041 Guide Meridian, Bellingham, WA. Jacob’s Uber Service, Jacob Daniel Kopak, 1415 Sweetbay Dr., Bellingham, WA. James Cunningham, James L Cunningham, 4949 Samish Way, Bellingham, WA. Jamia Solomon Burns, Jamia Solomon Burns, 1301 E Victor St., Bellingham, WA. Jamie’s Transportation Services, Jamie Steinman, 1029 Potter St., Bellingham, WA. Jcordell, Joseph Cordell, 3025 Ferry Ave., Bellingham, WA. Jeremy Keola Aubrey, Jeremy Keola Aubrey, 2500 Dean Ave., Bellingham, WA. Jinous Ferdosian, Jinous Ferdosian, 1225 E Sunset Dr., Bellingham, WA Jr Storage Solutions Llc, Jr Storage Solutions, Llc, 1082 Telegraph Rd., Bellingham, WA. Jt Bosman, Appraiser Llc, Jt Bosman, Appraiser Llc, 3111 Newmarket St., Bellingham, WA Justin Michael Hersom, Justin Michael Hersom, 3835 Northwest Ave., Bellingham, WA. Kapital Wireless Llc, Kapital Wireless Llc, 200 E Maple St., Bellingham. Karina Rousseau, Karina Rousseau, 2329 Park St., Bellingham, WA. Katterhagen Lch, Michelle Denise Katterhagen, 2753 Broadway St., Bellingham, WA Kayla Gainey, Kayla M.K. Gainey, 2639 W. Maplewood Ave., Bellingham, WA. Ke Moving Services , Llc, Ke Moving Services, Llc, 1801 Ellis St., Bellingham, WA. Keith Bailey Cpa, Keith Bailey, 2509 Cedarwood Ave., Bellingham, WA. Kindlund Construction, Inc., Kindlund Construction, Inc., 11 Cascade Ln, Bellingham, WA Kloop Studio Inc., Kloop Studio Inc., 2608 G St., Bellingham, WA. Kyla Goff, Kyla Goff, 3604 Cedarville Rd, Bellingham, WA. La Jonsson, La Jonsson Llc, 3204 Brandywine Way, Bellingham, WA. Lani Tate, Lani Tate, 5040 Guide Meridian, Bellingham, WA. Laura Dietzel, Laura Dietzel, 521 14th St., Bellingham, WA. Lauren Newsome, Lauren Newsome, 2797 Lake Whatcom Blvd, Bellingham, WA. Law Office Of Joseph Homel Pllc, Law Office Of Joseph Homel, Pllc, 1313 E. Maple St. Ste 217, Bellingham, WA. Lethalfrag, Matthew Mcknight, 3441 Highfield Ct., Bellingham, WA. Logan C Kilgore, Logan C Kilgore, 1403 19th St., Bellingham, WA. Lori Dillon Enterprises , Lori R Dillon, 323 Pacific Hwy., Bellingham, WA.
Lrknights Enterprise L.L.C. Co., Lrknights Enterprise L.L.C. Co., 2015 24th St. Unit 35, Bellingham, WA Lucas Daniel Christie, Lucas Daniel Christie, 516 Darby Dr., Bellingham, WA. Luvera Integrated, Mason Luvera, 1010 High St., Bellingham, WA. Marcela Rey, Marcela Rey, 930 Whitewater Dr., Bellingham, WA. Margaret Drewzella Jones, Margaret Drewzella Jones, 1950 Fraser S., Bellingham, WA. Mathew Babick, Mathew Babick, 1308 38th St., Bellingham, WA. Matt Michael Beres, Matt Michael Beres, 719 Donovan Ave ., Bellingham, WA. Mcknight Construction Llc, Mcknight Construction Llc, 1620 Rainier Ave., Bellingham, WA Menace Brewing, Menace Industries Llc., 2529 Meridian St ., Bellingham, WA. Meredith Anne Wetteland, Meredith Anne Wetteland, 2 Marigold Dr., Bellingham, WA. Metamorphosis Somatic Counseling, Metamorphosis Somatic Counseling, Llc, 1101 N. State St. Ste 202, Bellingham, WA. Mike Martin, Michael Leland Martin, 2549 Lummi View Dr., Bellingham, WA. Motive Search Inc., Motive Search Inc., 601 Arroyo Ln., Bellingham, WA. Mt. Baker Telecom, Stacey Mateo, 1126 Kenoyer Dr., Bellingham, WA. Nicholas Perigo, Nicholas Perigo, 2230 Cornerstone Ln., Bellingham, WA. Nicks Driving, Nicholas Levi Grier, 112 S 41st St., Bellingham, WA North Shore Strategies, North Shore Strategies, Inc., 4716 Fir Tree Way, Bellingham, WA. Northwest 2020, Llc, Northwest 2020, Llc, 4264 Pacific Hwy., Bellingham, WA. Northwest Computer Repair, Safe & Easy Recycling, Inc., 805 E North St., Bellingham, WA. Northwest Sleep Solutions Llc, Northwest Sleep Solutions Llc, 1440 10th St. Ste 103, Bellingham, WA. Nw Eats Catering Co., Northwest Eats Catering Company, Llc, 300 Potter St., Bellingham, WA. Oleg Ravitsky, Oleg Ravitsky, 2901 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA. Orbital Communications, Larry S Nevins, 2517 Scott Rd., Bellingham, WA. Parminder Singh, Parminder Singh, 463 Westerly Rd., Bellingham, WA. Perfect Crop, Perfect Crop, 1021 Mason St., Bellingham, WA. Phoenix Cannabis Company, Tobias Enterprises Llc, 4140 Meridian St. Ste 210, Bellingham, WA. Port Side Productions, Cole Allen Heilborn, 702 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA. Raven Charters, Llc, Raven Charters, Llc, 2615 S Harbor Loop Dr., Bellingham, WA. Rebecca Abdelbaki, Rebecca Abdelbaki, 2610 Woodcliff Ln, Bellingham, WA. Red Pill Publishing, Red Pill Publishing, 1225 E Sunset Dr. Ste 145, Bellingham, WA. R e i m a n n C o u n s e l i n g / N o r t hwe s t Behavioral Inc., Julie Reimann, 3031 Orleans St., Bellingham, WA. Ridemind, Ridemind Llc, 1600 Carolina St., Bellingham, WA. Rock Solid Martial Arts, Rock Solid Martial Arts, Llc, 1105 11th St., Bellingham, WA. Rockin Retro Hair By Nicole, Nicole Elizabeth Blumer, 2715 W Maplewood Ave., Bellingham, WA. Rocky Point Builders, L.L.C., Rocky Point Builders, L.L.C., 2342 Erie Ter, Bellingham, WA. Rory Michael Woolsey, Rory Michael Woolsey, 3004 Alvarado Dr., Bellingham, WA. Ruth Taylor Llc, Ruth Taylor, Llc, 3617 Illinois Ln., Bellingham, WA. S Auto Sales, Yevgeniy Litvinov, 4226 Pacific
Hwy, Bellingham, WA. Salon Tryst Bellingham, Leah Rachel Ludtke, 3001 Racine St., Bellingham, WA. Santosuosso Inc., Santosuosso Inc., 1001 C St. Ste 3, Bellingham, WA. Sarah J Thomas, Sarah J Thomas, 1208 Bay St., Bellingham, WA. Scooty And The Hambone, Scooty And The Hambone, 4641 Celia Way, Bellingham, WA. Shopper Radar, Inc., Shopper Radar, Inc., 2219 Rimland Dr., Bellingham, WA. Steven L Volz, Steven L Volz, 3140 Adams Ave., Bellingham, WA. Stigs For A Cure, Stigs For A Cure, 643 W Horton Way Apt. 131, Bellingham, WA. Stir Center Nfp, Stir Center Nfp, 1229 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA. Streamline Group Llc, Streamline Group Llc, 752 E Kellogg Rd., Bellingham, WA. Street Tend, Kanwar Toor, 4022 Ava Ln., Bellingham, WA. Terry Stach Agency, Terry Ray Stach, 424 W. Bakerview Rd. Ste 110, Bellingham, WA. Tessa Claire Photography, Tessa Nearing, 203 N. 34th St., Bellingham, WA. The Arnone Brothers, Llc, The Arnone Brothers, Llc , 1936 18th S., Bellingham, WA. The Cabin Tavern, Leopold Properties Llc, 307 W Holly St., Bellingham, WA. The Comics Place, Art’s Comics Place, Inc., 221 W Holly St., Bellingham, WA. The Filling Station, Jdubs Filling Station, Llc, 1138 Finnegan Way Ste 311, Bellingham, WA The Loft Cannabis, The Loft Cannabis, 1326 E Laurel St., Bellingham, WA. Tiffany L Ross, Tiffany L Ross, 3420 W Mcleod Rd., Bellingham, WA. Timothy Cooke Vail, Timothy Cooke Vail, 3717 Bristol St., Bellingham, WA. Uber, Uber, 2810 Eldridge Ave., Bellingham, WA. Vanzanden Designworks, Ted Jon Van Zanden, 3029 Elm St., Bellingham, WA. Viking Shuttle, Alesha Robin Wiese, 1220 Creekwood Ln., Bellingham, WA Vind Och Veder Builders Llc, Vind Och Veder Builders Llc, 709 Chuckanut Dr., Bellingham, WA. Vintage Sports Gear Llc, Vintage Sports Gear, Llc, 1453 Franklin St., Bellingham, WA. Whole Life Holistic Health, Traci Lynn Heaps, 301 Willow Ct. N., Bellingham, WA. Willowcraft Media, Willowcraft Media, Llc, 2011 Niagara Dr., Bellingham, WA. Zack Miller Sales, Zachary James Miller, 2660 Mackenzie Rd., Bellingham, WA.
BUILDING PERMITS Includes commercial building activity in Bellingham with an estimated valuation listed at $10, 000 or more. Records are obtained from the City of Bellingham’s Permit Center. Status updates on permits are available on the city’s website at http:// pnw.cc/sVCen. 11/9/15 to 11/20/15 Issued permits 904 Potter St., $180,000 for tenant improvement: addition of second floor office and remodel. Contractor: The Franklin Corporation. Permit No.: BLD2015-00241. 11/9/15. 1600 E. Sunset St., $171,875 for new covered entry area and classroom addition. Permit No.: BLD2015-00422. 11/9/15. 115 W. Kellogg Road, $100,000 for tenant improvement: combine multiple suites. Permit No.: BLD2015-00436. 11/13/15. 4164 Meridian St. 200, $78,750 for tenant improvement: expansion of suite 200 to occupy. Contractor: Kettman & Company. Permit No.: BLD2015-00459. 11/13/15.
RECORDS, PAGE 14
The Bellingham Business Journal
RECORDS, FROM 13 207 Unity St., $210,000 for Ciao Thyme. Contractor: Summit Framing Company. Permit No.: BLD2015-00443. 11/14/15. 811 Lakeway Drive, $60,000 for Woods Coffee expansion. Contractor: Woods Coffee (Taylor Herman). Permit No.: BLD2015-00460. 11/19/15. Pending applications 900 N. Forest St., $25,000 for retaining walls associated with site development for student housing project. Contractor: Dawson Construction. Permit No.: BLD2015-00468. 11/9/15. 900 N. Forest St., $35,000 for stormwater vault for new multifamily student housing. Contractor: Dawson Construction Inc. Permit No.: BLD201500469. 11/9/15. 4176 Meridian St., $375,000 for Animal Emergency Care. Permit No.: BLD2015-5004. 11/18/15. 411 W. Chestnut St., $3,500,000 for Granary Building. Permit No.: BLD2015-5011. 11/19/15. 541 E. Kellogg Road, $50,000 for tremezzo storm vault. Permit No.: BLD2015-5014. 11/20/15. Demolition permits None reported for this time period. 11/23/15 to 12/4/15 Issued permits 2211 Rimland Drive 116, $107,000 for Haggen Talbot Co. LTD, Contractor: Scoboria Construction Inc. Permit No.: BLD2015-00465. 11/23/15. 210 Lottie St., $95,000 for commercial alterations: ADA improvements to ramp, stairways. Permit No.: BLD2015-00310. 11/23/15. 2219 Rimland Drive 301, $524,000 for tenant improvement: remodel space for business office. Permit No.: BLD2015-00426. 11/23/15. 801 Samish Way, $278,000 for: Pacific Harbor Holdings LLC, Contractor: Scoboria Construction Inc. Permit No.: BLD2015-00439. 11/24/15. 2211 Rimland Drive 210, $21,000 for tenant improvement: remodel of existing suite. Contractor: Scoboria Construction Inc. Permit No.: BLD2015-00474. 11/30/15. 1331 Commercial St., $10,000 for: Faithlife. Contractor: Commercial Street Association LLC. Permit No.: BLD2015-5021. 12/4/15. Pending applications 1616 Cornwall Ave., $11.000 for: repair: Garnet LLC, Permit No.: BLD2015-5019. 11/24/15. Western Washington University, $168,656
for Old Main – WWU. Permit No.: BLD2015-5020. 11/24/15. 2401 Bill McDonald Parkway, $350,000 for Buchanan Towers – WWU. Permit No.: BLD20155022. 11/25/15. 1801 Roeder Ave., $20,597 for: Edward Jones. Contractor: Linn-Douglas Construction LLC. Permit No.: BLD2015-5032. 12/1/15. 117 W. Chestnut St., $14,000 for: Lisa Crosier Skin Care. Contractor: Chestnut Flats LLC. Permit No.: BLD2015-5033. 12/2/15. Demolition permits None reported for this time period. 12/7/15 to 12/11/15 Issued permits 1425 Railroad Ave., $25,000 for tenant improvement: remodel of existing space for new bar: The Local. Permit No.: BLD2015-00423. 12/10/15. 1034 24th St., $40,000 for 24th St. Apartments LLC. Contractor: Wellman & Zuck Construction LLC. Permit No.: BLD2015-00447. 12/10/15. 4265 Meridian St. 103, $270,000 for Jimmy John’s. Contractor: Act Construction. Permit No.: BLD2015-00450. 12/11/15. 1801 Roeder Ave., $20,597 for Edward Jones. Contractor: Linn-Douglas Construction LLC. Permit No.: BLD2015-5031. 12/10/15. Pending applications 814 Iowa St., $87,124 for Starbucks. Permit No.: BLD2015-5041. 12/7/15. 925 N. State St., $8,000 for Hewed LLC, Permit No.: BLD2015-5056. 12/11/15. Demolition permits None reported for this time period.
LIQUOR AND MARIJUANA LICENSES Records include license activity in Whatcom County. They are obtained from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, online at www.liq.wa.gov. Issued licenses Dancing Gypsies, at 794 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA 98225, received approval on an change of corporate officer to a marijuana retailer license. License No.: 413529. 12/7/15.
Dancing Gypsies, at 794 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA 98225, received approval on added fees to a marijuana retailer license. License No.: 413529. 12/7/15. Green Stop Cannabis, at 7466 Mount Baker Highway, Maple Falls, WA 98266, received approval on an addition/change of class/in lieu to a marijuana retailer license. License No.: 413801. 12/3/15. Casual Cannabis, at 3332 Mount Baker Highway Suite A, Bellingham, WA 98226, received approval on a new application to operate as a tier 1 marijuana producer. License No.: 416032. 12/1/15. Trove Cannabis, at 218 N. Samish Way Suite 103, Bellingham, WA, received approval on an addition/change of class/in lieu on a marijuana retailer license. License No.: 414871. 11/24/15. Leef, at 3210 Peace Portal Drive, Blaine, WA 98230, received approval on a new license to operate as a tier 2 marijuana producer. License No.: 413085. 11/20/15. Virtual Services, at 2018 Iron St. Suite B, received approval on added fees to a license to operate as a tier 1 marijuana producer. License No.: 412073. 11/19/15. Washington’s Finest, at 8971 Meridian St., received approval on added fees to a license to operate as a tier 3 marijuana producer. License No.: 412104. 11/19/15. Pending applications Point Roberts Marina, Point Roberts Resort LP; Yihong Chen and Pu Miao applied for new license to sell beer/wine in a specialty shop at 713 Simundson Drive, Point Roberts, WA 98281. License No.: 363128. 12/14/15. Menace Brewing, Menace Industries LLC; Benjamin Buccarelli, Brandon Peterson and Thomas Raden applied for a change of location to a microbrewery license. New location: 2529 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA 98225. License No.: 407613. 12/10/15. Satryday Farms, Satryday Farms; David and Joanne Hisdal applied for a new license to operate a domestic winery at 9701 Benson Road, Lynden, WA 98264, License No.:421365. 11/23/15. Leopold Properties, Leopold Properties LLC; Christian Danielson, Heidi Hudlet, applied for a new license to serve spirits/beer/wine in a restaurant/lounge at 307 W. Holly St., Bellingham, WA 98225. License No.: 363662. 11/20/15. Drayton Harbor Oyster Company, Drayton
Harbor Oyster Company LLC; Stephen Seymour, Judith Seymour, Mark Seymour applied for a new license to sell beer/wine off premises and in a restaurant at 677 Peace Portal Drive, Blaine, WA 98230. 11/19/15. Discontinued licenses Acme Mountain Herb, at 960 Valley Highway Suite A, Acme, WA 98220, had a license to operate as a tier 1 marijuana producer discontinued. License No.: 412162. 11/20/15.
FEDERAL TAX LIENS Tax liens of $5, 000 or more issued by the Internal Revenue Service. Listings include taxpayer name(s), lien amount, document number and filing date. Records are obtained locally from the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office. Federal tax liens Karen Falwell, $45,862, 2015-1201779, 12/16/15. Barcode Trader Inc., $144,511.98, 20151201778, 12/16/15. Doug & Susan Jay, $12,972.02, 2015-1200875, 12/8/15. Genos Management LLC, $11,781.23, 20151200874, 12/8/15. Wayne Arrington, $32,652.18, 2015-1200658, 12/7/15. David Coverdale Jr., $20,494.51, 20151200657, 12/7/15. Marcia Shive, $14,186.67, 2015-1200656, 12/7/15. Dodsons Market Inc., $47,348.48, 20151200655. 12/7/15. Bradford and Kathy Long, $7,407.54, 20151102191, 11/23/15. Release of tax liens Trojan Tracks USA Inc., $32,464.77, 20151200660, 12/7/15. Vitamin G Inc., $12,386.10, 2015-1102809, 11/30/15. Vitamin G Inc., $22,046.55, 2015-1102807, 11/30/15. Mark Bass, $29,003.21, 2015-1102193, 11/23/15. Mark Svetcos, $48,483.64, 2015-1102193. 11/23/15.
Jon & Rebecca Peterson, $16,812.86, 20151101590, 11/16/15. Edythe Kizakim $13,154.81, 2015-1101589, 11/16/15.
STATE TAX JUDGMENTS Tax judgments of $5,000 or more issued by Washington state government agencies and filed locally in Whatcom County Superior Court. Listings include taxpayer name(s), judgment amount, the state agency filing the judgment, originating case number and filing date. Judgments can later be lifted or paid; listings are only current as of their filing dates. Records are obtained from the Whatcom County Superior Court Clerk’s Office. Devine Interiors Services LLC, $7,695.13, Revenue, 15-2-02301-9, 12/16/15. Dillercorp LLC, $27,586.32, Revenue, 15-202284-5, 12/11/15. Copper Hog LLC, $13,110.48, Revenue, 15-202285-3, 12/11/15. Champion Drywall Inc., $13,146.03, Revenue, 15-2-02261-6, 12/8/15. Deric Willett Construction Inc., $23,940.81, Revenue, 15-2-02262-4, 12/8/15. Dickeys Barbecue Pit Ferndale, $11,961.61, Revenue, 15-2-02202-1, 12/1/15. Dickeys Barbecue Pit, $10,842.17, Revenue, 15-2-02203-9, 12/1/15.
BUSINESS BANKRUPTCIES Whatcom County business bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington. Chapter 7 Summit Transportation, estimated asset range: $0 to $50,000. Estimated liabilities: $50,001 to $100,000. Case No.: 15-17080-MLB. 11/30/15. Chapter 11 Hunter Hospitality LLC, estimated asset range: $1,000,001 to $10 million. Estimated liabilities: $10,000,001 to $50 million. Case No.: 15-17090MLB. 12/1/15. Chapter 13 None reported.
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The Bellingham Business Journal
Business Briefs Co-op completes downtown store remodel The Community Food Co-op is done with phase two of its three-part remodel and all that’s left in the multi-year upgrade is a parking lot expansion. Phase two was a renovation to the downtown flagship store, at 1220 N. Forest St. Improvements to the store include a new mezzanine seating area, remodeled bathrooms, a salad bar and a hot food bar with vegan, vegetarian and meat offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to a press release from the co-op. “The response so far has been great,” said Adrienne Renz, co-op outreach manager. “Customers like the way it looks and they really like the hot bar.” In the third and final phase of the planned expansion, the oftencrowded parking lot at the flagship store will get about 31 extra parking spaces — for a total of 83 — and a reconfiguration to make it easier to get in and out of the lot. That project should start and end in the first half of 2016, Renz said. The lot is also getting more handicap parking spaces and two rain gardens that will capture and filter stormwater.
for interior design, HomePort Interiors at 4071 Hannegan Road, carries flooring, carpet, furniture, lighting and decor accessories. Pam Muller of Options Cabinetry and Interiors, Radley Muller of Radley Muller Photography, and Jerry and Terry Zwiers of Flooring Connections in Anacortes own the store. The store’s owners, veteran interior designers, realized a need for the
Northwestern Mutual moves to Barkley Village Northwestern Mutual’s Bellingham office moved across town to Barkley Village at the end of November. The life insurance and financial services firm moved from 1616 Cornwall Ave. to 2219 Rimland Drive, Suite 407, to be in Bellingham’s hub for financial institutions and because the new location has more parking, the company said in a press release. The new office was remodeled earlier this year and is 2,200 square feet, said Paul Twedt, a wealth management advisor with Northwestern Mutual.
One-stop interior design shop opens at Hannegan Square A new Bellingham store aims to be a one-stop shop
store after growing frustrated with having to go to multiple stores for their projects. “All of us were talking a while back and we realized we were going around to three and even four different stores just to find the design pieces we wanted for one space,” Pam Muller said in a press release. “We knew that if we combined the stores we owned and add the furniture and decor aspect we’d have a concept
not available in Whatcom County.” The showroom is right next to Options Cabinetry and Interior, Pam Muller’s store. She specializes in cabinets and countertops, and her store carries different brands than HomePort.
Unemployment rate down in October, but it doesn’t reflect recent layoffs
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate dropped from 5.4 percent in September to an estimated 5.2 percent in October, according to the latest date from the state Employment Security Department. That’s the county’s lowest unemployment rate since 2008, but it doesn’t reflect the nearly 600 layoffs that CH2M Hill and Alcoa Intalco Works announced in the last few months. The layoffs at CH2M
Hill’s Bellingham office begin sometime after Dec. 7, according to a notice filed with the state Employment Security Department. They plan to lay off 128 workers. Alcoa will layoff 465 employees from its Intalco Works smelter west of Ferndale beginning early next year, according to an Employment Security
BRIEFS, PAGE 18
The Bellingham Business Journal
YOUR MONEY MATTERS Year’s end financial advice for business and personal finance
Last minute strategies to save on your 2015 tax bill With the end of the 2015 year, many folks may be wondering if there is anything further they can do to manage their upcoming tax bill. Even though many year-end planning techniques are no longer an option, there are still several effective strategies worth considering.
Contribute to retirement accounts Contributions to both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are still permitted up until April 18, 2016. Currently, income limitations are in place that prevent higher income taxpayers from contributing directly to a Roth IRA. Income thresholds also limit tax deductible contributions to a traditional IRA. The solution: make a “backdoor” Roth IRA contribution. A backdoor Roth IRA contribution allows a taxpayer who is over the income threshold to make a non-deductible contribution to a traditional IRA and immediately convert the money
to a Roth IRA. If this is done following certain conditions, there will be no tax impact on the conversion and the money can now grow tax-free in the Roth IRA account. When the money is distributed upon retirement, the distributions are tax-free. Additionally, a Self-Employed Plan (SEP) can yield a significant tax deduction. Currently, selfemployed individuals can make a tax-deductible contribution to a SEP of up to $53,000, depending on the amount of self-employed income you have. Even better, you have until the due date of your return (including extensions) to make the contribution. This means that if you extend your tax return, you have until October 17, 2016 to actually contribute the funds to the SEP.
Evaluate participation in business & real estate activities The net investment income tax of 3.8% applies to passive income.
To the extent that you materially participate in certain activities you may be able to reduce your tax liability. One way this can be accomplished is by grouping similar activities together. Work with your tax advisor to decide whether this strategy makes sense for your situation.
Distribute trust income If you are the trustee or beneficiary of a trust, you may consider whether it is better for trust income to be taxed within the trust or on the beneficiary’s individual return. The income tax brackets for trusts are much smaller than those for individuals, so that higher tax brackets are reached more quickly. For example, the highest tax bracket of 39.6 percent for trusts applies when income reaches $12,300 or more, whereas the highest tax bracket of 39.6 percent for individuals applies when income reaches $464,851 for married filing jointly taxpayers. To further exacerbate this problem, the net investment
income tax of 3.8 percent also applies to trusts in the highest tax bracket, meaning that the total Kira tax rate could be Bravo as much as 43.4 On percent. Trusts Tax Planning with taxable income may want to consider making distributions to beneficiaries who are in lower tax brackets. Under the “65 Day Rule” a trustee can elect to make a distribution within 65 days of the end of the preceding tax year, so that a distribution made in early 2016 applies to the 2015 tax year. This
effectively transfers the income and related tax liability to the beneficiary. Conversely, if you have a beneficiary who is in the highest individual tax bracket, you may choose to leave at least some income within the trust to take advantage of an additional set of tax brackets where some of the income will be taxed at lower rates.
Make a last minute estimated tax payment If you discover that you may owe a significant bill with your return, you could consider making a fourth quarter estimated tax payment by January 15th. While you would still likely be underpaid during the first three quarters of 2015, making the payment could eliminate interest and penalties for the fourth quarter. Additionally, if your income increased significantly after August 31, 2015, your tax preparer may be able to reduce underpayment penalties by annualizing your estimated tax liability. This is done using Form 2210 filed with your return.
Gather documentation early
Good documentation can save you time and money when it comes to filing your return. Many deductions are missed or disallowed due to the lack of proper documentation. Even though 2015 is over, there are still several strategies you can use to reduce your tax bill. You should consult a tax professional to determine whether it makes sense to implement any of these strategies so that you achieve results that will fit with your overall financial goals.
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MAKING A CASE FOR COOPERATIVE BUSINESS A group is working to spread knowledge about the cooperative business model through educating and training attorneys, CPAs and other business advisors BY OLIVER LAZENBY The Bellingham Business Journal Rick Dubrow first considered turning his company into a worker-owned cooperative in 2007. He felt it would be the right thing to do for his long-time employees and for the long-term health of his business, a Bellingham remodeling company called A-1 Builders. More owners—more people with “skin in the game”—would make for a stronger company, Dubrow reasoned. He put the idea on hold Rick Dubrow when the recession hit. But now, Dubrow, 64, is looking toward retirement and once again taking up the process of converting his business into a workerowned cooperative. He hopes to complete the process in the next couple years but it could happen in as soon as three months, he said.
If things go as planned, the business will have about six owners—at least to start with—under the new structure. Dubrow, his wife, and four veteran employees will all own an equal share in the company. Employees who have been with the company for at least five years will be able to buy a share and join the ownership team. The conversion process won’t be easy. Dubrow and the company’s future owners have a lot of details to work out, such as how much it will cost to buy an ownership share, and how the cooperative will buy Dubrow out when he retires. It’s complicated by the fact that few business service providers are familiar with cooperatives; cooperative business models are rarely taught in business schools said Art Sherwood, Western Washington University’s David Cole Professor of Entrepreneurship. “One of the problems people have is they can’t find a lawyer who knows about cooperatives or a bank or a credit union or whatever,” Sherwood said.
“One of the problems people have is they can’t find a lawyer who knows about cooperatives, or a bank or a credit union.” ART SHERWOOD DAVID COLE PROFESSOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
Sherwood is trying to change that. He teaches about cooperative businesses at Western and he’s part of a local movement spreading knowledge about cooperative business models. If Dubrow’s experience is an indication, that movement seems to be succeeding. Assembling a team of business advisors for the upcoming transition wasn’t hard for Dubrow, and that’s partly because there are already other cooperative businesses in Bellingham. In fact, A-1 Builders won’t be the first builder cooperative; Bellingham Bay Builders, a worker cooperative, formed in 2008 and its owners have helped Dubrow get started. “We went to Bellingham Bay builders and said, “Who did you use as your attorney and would you do it again?”” Dubrow said. “And that’s actually the attorney we’re working with. Same with the CPA.” Jim Ashby, general manager of the Community Food Co-op, also thinks it’s getting easier to start a co-op. In addition to local resources, there are national orga-
nizations. The National Cooperative of Grocers is one such resource for food co-ops. “Eight years ago if a person wanted to start a co-op they would have to find another co-op to help them out,” Ashby said. “That’s changed. A lot more resources are available.”
The case for co-ops Others in Bellingham who are spreading ideas about the cooperative business model include founders of other cooperatives. The most notable example may be the Community Food Co-op. The co-op’s Member Advisory Committee has a Cooperative Education Project that hosted a talk by Sherwood in October, and a series of lectures on cooperatives in 2014. Reasons for advocating for the co-op model vary. One reason Ashby likes the model is he believes the food co-op wouldn’t be able to give so much back to the community and provide sup-
Co-ops, PAGE 18
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CO-OPS, FROM 17 port to local agriculture if it were not a cooperative, he said. Dubrow believes that it is a way to make a business more resilient in the face of economic turmoil. With A-1 Builders, Dubrow said he’s already seeing more initiative from the future owners. “People are acting more like a team already,” he said. “They care more. Imagine how much more focused and conscientious you’d be if you were an owner.” Sherwood likes the way that a cooperative can be a tool for creative problem solving. For example, if a marine business needed to use a specialized piece of equipment once or twice a month, it might not make sense to buy it. But they could get together with other businesses who also occasionally need that piece of equipment, form a cooperative, and buy it, Sherwood said. Sherwood is an owner of a 28-member consulting cooperative. Sherwood and others in the cooperative want to focus on their consulting work, rather than the administrative parts of running the business. So together, with a percentage of their paychecks, they pay for a fulltime manager and part-time assistant to process payments for them. “I don’t have to chase down money,” Sherwood said. The term “cooperative” encompasses producer co-ops such as Darigold, where producers band together to get more selling power for their products; consumer co-ops like REI or the Community Food Co-op, where consumers buy-in up front to get more purchasing power; and worker’s cooperatives, where workers can buy into the business to share profit and make decisions. In broader terms, a cooperative is an organization of people coming together to meet a shared need, Sherwood said. When Sherwood spoke last October at an event co-hosted by the Community Food Coop’s Cooperative Education Project, and Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center, his goal was to train business advisors, accountants, and others on the ways co-ops can be used. “Very few people actually have been trained in the cooperative business model, which is interesting and strange to me, but it’s true,” Sherwood said. “If you’re anybody who is giving advice to someone, your toolbox should actually be full.” Why isn’t the model taught in business school? One factor is that not enough research has been done on the model—corporations have paid for research on more conventional business models, but there’s no one to foot the bill for research on cooperatives, Sherwood said.
BUSINESS BRIEFS, FROM 15
Above: A-1 Builders employees According to a study by Justin Deane, left, and Mike Gill the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 2009 there working on a remodel project. [PHOTO COURTESY OF A-1 BUILDERS] were more than 30,000 cooperative businesses in the United States employRight: Art Sherwood, Western ing two million people Washington University’s David and holding $3 trillion in Cole Professor of Entrepreneurship, assets. during a TED Talk in 2015. “Relative to the more traditional business forms [PHOTO COURTESY OF ART SHERWOOD] they’re small, but yet the of cash, members all get potential I think is really a year-end dividend. Last immense,” Sherwood said. year, they got an extra $1.50 for every hour Sherwood thinks the potential is greatest for worked and the year before it was $2.78 an worker co-ops, especially for low-paying service hour, McNerthney said. Workers also join Circle industry jobs, he said. One of his favorite local of Life for what McNerthney calls the “co-op examples is a cooperative of caregivers that proadvantage”—they have a say in their workplace vides service to elderly and disabled people in and elect their board of directors. their homes. But there are disadvantages to the business The co-op model gives Circle of Life Caregivers Cooperative’s 50 member-owners advantages model, she said. “It takes a lot of communication and somelike higher pay and support for dealing with times that’s difficult,” she said. “When there’s sporadic hours, difficult clients and other chalnot enough communication sometimes the lenges of the job. member-owners start feeling like they’re left in Jo Ann McNerthney founded the Circle of the dark.” Life Caregivers Cooperative in 2007. Sherwood also thinks the business model isn’t “I think the industry was just ripe for it,” for everyone. McNerthney said. “Caregivers are underrepre“The business model is not hard,” Sherwood sented and isolated. You don’t have someone to said. “It’s the cooperation that’s challenging.” call on if you get sick.” Circle of Life member-owners will earn about $14 an hour in 2016, McNerthney said. Average pay in the industry is about $11 an hour, according to an informal survey McNerthney Oliver Lazenby, associate editor of The Bellingham Business did of local caregivers. Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or olazenby@ If the company ends the year with a surplus bbjtoday.com.
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Department notice. The latest report estimates that the county gained 3,800 jobs in the past year. Of those jobs, 3,100 are in the private sector and 700 are in the public sector. Most of the new jobs in October and in the last year are in construction, according to the report. The county’s civilian labor force — the number of people 16 and older who are not in the military and either have a job or are seeking a job— grew by 145 people to 102,655 in the last year. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 4.8 in September to 5.0 in October. The county numbers from the Employment Security Department are not seasonally adjusted and therefore should not be compared directly to the statewide rate, the department warns. Skagit County’s unemployment rate for October was 5.9 percent. King County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, at 4.1 percent for the month. 8.6 percent, the state’s highest.
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January 04, 2016 edition of the Bellingham Business Journal