Vol. 24 No. 1
Feb. 2016 The end of Boeing’s 747? [Page 7]
The Buzz Layoffs Whatcom County experiences a string of bad luck with layoffs and potential layoffs at several major employers. What is being done about it? JOB LOSSES, 3
Canadian dollar A new firm hopes that the falling Canadian dollar will entice manufacturers to head south of the border. Here’s the reason why. CANADA, 7
Haggen future An auction scheduled for early February should give a clear picture of the future of the troubled Bellingham-based grocery chain. HAGGEN, 8
Development spark? Washington voters ended the government monopoly on the liquor business in 2011. One of the worries was that it would trigger a deep cut in revenue to state coffers, but that hasn’t happened. [Ian Terry | For BBJ]
Who won, lost with liquor privatization BY JIM DAVIS For The Bellingham Business Journal People are buying more bottles of booze in Washington, and, in many cases, paying more for it four years after voters took the state out of the liquor business.
Washington consumers are buying 5 million more liters a year of vodka, gin and whiskey and other spirits since voters passed Initiative 1183, which ended the government monopoly on hard liquor. Those same consumers are paying a couple of dollars more per liter post-privatization — up to $24.52 in 2014, compared with $22.28 in 2011, according to a report from the state Office of Financial Management. That’s a little more than a 10 percent increase per liter. “Prices went up, so you’d expect consumption would go down, but conWE
sumption has gone up, too,” said John Guadnola, executive director of the Washington Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association, which fought the measure. “That tells me that the relative ease of availability has prompted peo-
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Consumers paying more for liquor, but state is seeing an increase in liquor tax revenue
Bellingham makes several changes to stimulate development in downtown and other areas of the city.
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Whatcom County weathers series of job losses Unrelated events lead to cut backs by major employers BY DEANNA DUFF For The Bellingham Business Journal
True to tradition, Whatcom County is rolling up its sleeves and getting to work. The community has suffered a recent run of local layoffs with more possibly on the horizon. The impact is undeniable, but efforts are under way to mitigate repercussions and capitalize on overall growth. “We have the right people in place to weather this storm. Hopefully, this spate of bad news in a short time period is kind of an aberration,” says Bob Wilson, executive director, Whatcom Council of Governments. In December, environmental and engineering firm CH2M Hill closed its Bellingham office. The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) reported a loss of 128 jobs. In September, ESD listed a 92-job loss from the closure of Mount Baker Vapor. Bible software firm Faithlife Corp. announced in January a layoff of approximately 60 employees. In what will be the largest of recent losses, Alcoa announced in November 2015 plans to curtail its workforce at the Intalco Works aluminum smelter by 465 jobs. Using software projections, Hart Hodges, director of the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University, estimates that a 450 Alcoa layoff could translate into a total loss of 1,300 jobs.
In a welcome reprieve, Alcoa announced in midJanuary that it would delay cuts until approximately June. State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale and chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, made a public statement expressing hope “to keep the plant open for good.” Even if that proves impossible, planning could alleviate pressure on what Hodges terms the “indirect effect” — businesses supporting Alcoa, such as wholesale suppliers, trucking companies and mechanics, who might subsequently also be forced to downsize. “If we can look more downstream and see who else is affected, it might be possible to work in advance with companies and other industries who might be impacted. Do you need help? Are you starting to diversify now?” Hodges says. The second consequence of layoffs is the “induced effect” — job losses in sectors such as retail and hospitality that suffer from reduced personal spending. According to Hodges, those ramifications can be attenuated when companies offer benefits and severance packages to bridge income between jobs. However, there is inevitably an impact when household incomes are unstable. Wilson cites continued cooperation between Whatcom’s communities, lawmakers and associations as a considerable asset in recovery. In 2015, the Whatcom County Council unanimously approved the 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which joined the region’s seven incorporated cities in a cohesive plan for future economic health.
The overall trend has been one of growth. ... The unemployment rate has consistently declined since reaching its peak in 2010 during the worst phase of the jobs recession locally. “We still have lower wages than certainly King County and central Puget Sound. Companies do well here in terms of labor costs,” Wilson says. “It’s also a strategic location with good transportation along I-5, the rail system and good access to the Canadian markets.” The area’s educational institutions are also poised to play a key role in current economic recovery as well as solidifying future stability. The 2015 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy reported that Bellingham Technical College’s Engineering and Advance Manufacturing graduates earned an average of $50,000 post-graduation. “Whatcom Community College, Bellingham Tech and obviously Western Washington University are huge players,” Wilson says. “They are relatively nimble in their ability to develop programs that meet regional needs.” Guy Occhiogrosso, president and CEO of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, hopes to see continued dedication to tax and other economic incentives for businesses to locate and remain in the region. “This community has already done great things, especially in fighting for Alcoa. All of these (layoff) situations are different and I would say related to larger, global markets. However, whatever we can do to ensure our employers remain competitive will also make us stronger.” Both Wilson and Hodges
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agree that the layoffs — while significant and serious — are largely unconnected and not indicative of a inherent weakness in Whatcom County’s economy. CH2M Hill cited the downturn in oil and gas industries for its layoffs. Alcoa likewise has been impacted by a precipitous drop in aluminum prices on the global market. “You try to help all area businesses as much as you can, but there are larger, macro forces at play,” Hodges says. “This is the result of unfortunate circumstances.” In fact, the overall statistical trend is encouraging. According to Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional labor economist with the Employment Security Department, Whatcom
County’s unemployment rate has declined from 6.4 percent in November 2014 to 5.3 percent a year later. “The overall trend has been one of growth. We’re seeing the number of jobs steadily increasing. The unemployment rate has consistently declined since reaching its peak in 2010 during the worst phase of the jobs recession locally,” Vance-Sherman says. Since November 2014, Whatcom County made noticeable gains in construction and manufacturing employment. Those numbers will shift if Alcoa proceeds with 2016’s layoffs, but it might not be a harbinger of an overall downturn. Hodges points to Lynden’s Rader Farms expanding its berry processing
Anneliese Vance-Sherman operations into Bellingham as an indicator for longterm optimism. “There are a number of success stories in the manufacturing sector, in this case food manufacturing. Our successes are sometimes smaller, but they add up,” Hodges says. Wilson agrees and hopes that combined efforts will aid those currently struggling and also build the framework for an even stronger economic future. “I’m not going to tell someone who recently lost their job not to be discouraged. My thoughts are with them,” Wilson says. “Generally speaking, though, the county is strong. We have everything from organic ice cream makers to refineries. We can remain optimistic about the outlook for Whatcom County.”
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February 2016 2016 February
LIQUOR, FROM 1 ple to buy more than they would have otherwise.” And that has fueled a healthy increase in revenue for the state. State and local governments received $316 million in net revenues from liquor taxes in fiscal year 2011, the last full year before privatization. In fiscal year 2015, the state made $366 million — a $50 million a year bump in revenue. That’s a 15 percent increase. One of the reasons the state is seeing such an increase in tax revenue is because Washington taxes liquor more than any other state in the nation. “We have the highest pricing and highest taxes by a mile,” said John McKay, an executive for Costco, which backed I-1183. Consumers pay $35.22 in taxes for every gallon of spirits, according to a survey by Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation in 2013. The next-highest state tax rate is Oregon’s, at $22.73 a gallon. Most states charge $10 or less a gallon of liquor taxes; there are 3.78 liters in a gallon. The bottom line for the state might be the most black-andwhite way to measure whether the initiative was a positive for the state. It’s harder to gauge the social costs of privatization, or the effect on employment. Even the cost to the consumer can be disputed. McKay said Costco tracks multiple brands of liquor and is now offering lower prices than before privatization. A survey of some of their products bears that out. So what retailers are charging could vary wildly. Even what people are buying could be different. “It’s difficult to generalize what liquors are being bought and whether that’s changed,” McKay said. “We certainly offer a lot more high-end liquors than you would have seen in liquor stores — you know, Louis XIII cognac, for instance.” Since Prohibition ended in 1933, Washington controlled a monopoly on liquor sales and consumers needed to go to statecontrolled liquor stores to buy
A customer walks past a display of high-end liquor at a Costco in Lynnwood. Consumers are paying more per liter since privatization took place. [Ian Terry | For BBJ]
“I think it’s been good for the state, good for convenience and I think it’s been good for competitiveness.” — Anthony Anton, Washington Restaurant Association CEO spirits. The state set the hours of operation, the price of products and decided what could be sold in the state, and when restaurateurs could make purchases for their business. That changed when Costco poured millions of dollars into an effort to bust the staterun liquor businesses. The first measure in 2010 failed, but a second one, Initiative 1183, in 2011 passed, 59 percent to 41 percent. Suddenly, Washington consumers went from only being
able to buy hard alcohol at small liquor stores to being able to buy spirits at grocery stores and warehouse businesses like Costco and BevMo! The number of places where someone could buy hard alcohol jumped almost overnight. Before privatization, there were about 330 state-run stores. After the initiative, there were more than 1,400 locations that sold hard liquor. With more locations, more people are buying hard liquor.
The report from the Office of Financial Management states that 26 million liters were sold in 2011, the last year before privatization. In 2013, the first full year post privatization, Washington consumers bought 31.6 million liters, or an increase of 21 percent. That number stayed about the same for 2014. Oddly, while consumers are buying more alcohol now, they’re actually buying less hard alcohol at restaurants, bars and taverns,
according to the report. Before privatization, what are called “on-premise” locations sold 9.3 million liters of hard liquor in the state in 2011. That’s down to 8.7 million in 2014 even though there’s been an increase in establishments since the end of the recession, according to the Office of Financial Management report. The consumption at restaurants doesn’t track with what the Washington Restaurant Association is seeing, said Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the group. He said that restaurant sales have been up the past three years and restaurant survival rates are also up. A big component of that is liquor sales in those establishments. Either way, the state government is clearly benefiting from
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February 2016 2016 February the private sector running the liquor industry. Before privatization, the state made money on liquor through a liter tax, sales tax and a calculated markup that paid for the costs of running the liquor stores and distribution. It also generated a tidy sum for state and local governments. With I-1183, the state still collects a liter tax and sales tax but no longer collects a markup on the alcohol. Instead, the state charges a license fee to distributors. That fee was 10 percent on gross sales for the two years after the measure. It’s now dropped to 5 percent. Distributors also were forced to pay a one-time, $150 million fee for distribution. In total revenue, the state collected more money before privatization. Since the state is no longer paying to run the liquor business, it’s actually seeing a net gain in revenue. Supporters of I-1183 believe the measure was successful at allowing the marketplace to run the industry without hurting the state. “I think it’s been good for the state, it’s been good for convenience and I think it’s been good for competitiveness,” Anton said. “All that being said, I don’t think it’s been fully implemented and it will be better.” He said his association is fighting over sales taxes that restaurateurs are charged buying liquor
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Liquor taxes Here are the 10 highest tax rates for liquor per gallon in the U.S. 1. Washington, $35.22 2. Oregon, $22.73 3. Virginia, $20.56 4. Alabama, $18.24 5. North Carolina, $13.02 6. Iowa, $12.99 7. Alaska, $12.80 8. Michigan, $11.92 9. Utah, $11.26 10. Idaho, $10.92 Source: Tax Foundation, 2013
Since Washington voters ended the government monopoly on hard alcohol, the number of places to buy hard alcohol has mushroomed from 330 to more than 1,400. [Ian Terry | For BBJ] at wholesalers like Costco. Normally, a restaurateur can present a reseller permit at wholesaler and won’t have to pay sales tax on an item. But the state hasn’t allowed restaurateurs to use reseller permits
when buying hard liquor. The association is trying to change that by lobbying in Olympia and fighting it in the court system, Anton said. Guadnola, of the Washington Beer & Wine Wholesalers Asso-
ciation, disagrees, saying that the initiative that voters approved clearly spelled out what taxes would be charged and that those taxes were meant to hold the state harmless. He said the I-1183 backers are trying to re-imagine
the initiative. “They should at least have the courage to say they wrote it to say X and they want to change it to say Y,” Guadnola said. Does he believe the initiative has been good for the state? “If you want to say did it benefit the state, it depends on how you define it,” Guadnola said. “If you’re talking about whether the state lost money, no it didn’t. But the people are probably paying more than they did otherwise.”
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Bellingham firm aims to lure Canadian companies BY OLIVER LAZENBY The Bellingham Business Journal A new Bellingham company that hopes to lure Canadian businesses into Whatcom County is having some success already. Opportunity Northwest started in September and provides a variety of services for companies that are moving to Whatcom County, as well as for companies that are already here. Bruce MacCormack, a managing partner with the company and former chairman of the Bellingham Angels investor group, said he sees potential for attracting light manufacturing companies from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia to move to Whatcom County. By selling products in
the U.S. and expanding their presence in the states, Canadian companies could benefit from the weak Canadian dollar. The loonie dropped below 70 cents U.S. in January — Bruce for the first MacCormack time since 2003 — so a Canadian company could get a 25 percent bonus on every item it can sell in the U.S. That’s a strong incentive to expand to Whatcom County, MacCormack said. “Whatcom County retailers may be hurting, but for those wanting to make money off selling products in America, now is the time,” he said. MacCormack’s partners
in the business are Charles Rendina and Garry Montgomery. McCormack calls Opportunity Northwest a concierge for everything a business relocating to Whatcom County might need. That includes consulting services for immigration issues, assistance with public relations and branding, relationships with local real estate agents and banks and the knowledge to guide foreign companies through local city and county permitting processes, MacCormack said. It’s not just the disparity in currency prices that’s attractive to Canadian firms, MacCormack said. Canadian businesses can also benefit from the relatively cheap price of commercial real estate in Whatcom County. Commercial
real estate is generally cheaper here than north of the border because the Lower Mainland’s population is so much denser, MacCormack said. Also, a Canadian CEO could work in Whatcom County and still go home at the end of the day. In October, Opportunity Northwest brokered its first big deal, a funding package for T.C. Trading Services of Blaine. Opportunity Northwest worked with investors to secure $10 million in funding that includes a line of credit and a construction loan for the company’s expansion, according to a press release from Opportunity Northwest. T.C. Trading Company offers storage, and delivery services for companies that do business across the
border. How much demand is there for Opportunity Northwest’s services? MacCormack said the group is in the discussion stage with several interested Canadian companies. Chris Lawless, chief economist with the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, said the border is a complicated barrier for most Canadian companies. “The border, if you think about it in terms of a wall, it’s thick,” Lawless said. “Sure it’s close, but it’s thick. And it became thicker after 9/11.” Lawless told MacCormack that while relocating or opening in the U.S. is too complicated for most Canadian companies, it is feasible for a small percentage of businesses.
Through Opportunity Northwest, MacCormack and his partners hope to make that wall thinner for businesses moving to Whatcom County. And besides, MacCormack pointed out, a small margin of businesses in the Greater Vancouver metropolitan area is a big deal to Whatcom County, which, as of 2013, had less than 10 percent of Vancouver’s population. MacCormack foresees Opportunity Northwest finding a niche in a particular industry and building specific expertise over time, he said. “It’s a bit of an experiment,” MacCormack said. “It’s like the beginning of any company. You’re never quite sure how it’s going to pan out or how well it will work.”
Boeing cuts production on iconic 747 BY DAN CATCHPOLE The Daily Herald EVERETT — The Boeing Co. announced a further 747 production rate cut, an announcement analysts likened to a swan song. “They’re keeping the doors open long enough to get the Air Force One order,” said Richard Aboulafia, an industry analyst and vice president at the Teal Group. The U.S. Air Force has said it wants to order modified 747s to replace the two 747s used by the U.S. president by 2018. The planes are commonly known by the call sign Air Force One. The military has not signed a contract, though. Boeing said Thursday it plans to make only six 747s a year in Everett starting in September and that it will write off $885 million before taxes as a result. The company hopes to avoid layoffs due to the rate cut by moving affected workers to other programs, Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said. “If we do need to go down in employment, we’d start with executives and managers.” Some 747 and 767 teams — mostly in program management and operations — have been combined in recent months, he said. “We’ll continue to move
The first 747-8 freighter, for Cargolux, takes off from Paine Field in Everett in 2011. Boeing is cutting production of the plane to the point where analysts say it’s a swan song for the plane. [File Photo] quickly on identifying more ways to share resources, operate as an integrated program and deploy crews doing similar work for both programs to increase competitiveness” and cut program costs, he said. The rate cut is driven by a slowdown in the air-cargo market, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said in a statement. Air freight traffic was hammered by the 2008 economic downturn and began recovering in late 2013. However, that “has
stalled in recent months and slowed demand for the 747-8 Freighter,” Conner said. Conner held out hope for the 747’s future, noting the need to replace aging 747-400 freighters. The company is working “aggressively” to cut production costs and “win additional orders to support ongoing future production,” said Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith. Boeing’s 747 order backlog has been steadily shrinking in recent years. It had six new orders in
2015, but cancellations left it with two net orders. The year before, it had zero net orders. For the past several years, company executives have said the air-freight market will rebound, and they keep pushing out when they expect it to happen, said Scott Hamilton, an aerospace analyst and owner of Leeham Co. in Issaquah. The demand for jumbo freighters might return eventually, but “I don’t see it happening in time to save the 747-8,” Hamilton said. “I don’t see the 747 recover-
ing from this” rate cut. The list price for a 747-8 is $379 million, but sales prices are typically deeply discounted. With fewer future sales expected, Boeing said it will take a $569 million after-tax charge against fourth-quarter earnings, which it plans to announce Jan. 27. Boeing now makes 747s at the rate of 1.3 planes a month. That is dropping to one a month in March and half a plane in September. The only time 747 production fell so low was
when Boeing started making the current Dash 8 version. The switch from the 747-400 proved to be more difficult than expected, leaving Boeing with no 747 deliveries in 2010. Once the Air Force One deal is done, Boeing likely will shut down the 747 line, Aboulafia said. There is little room for the iconic airplane in modern aviation. “It was born in a time when you didn’t dare cross the Rocky Mountains without a third engine,” he said. It’s popularity primarily came from range and efficiency and “had very little to do with its capacity,” Aboulafia said. The 747’s cavernous size is a liability for airlines intent on filling seats. For air carriers needing a big, long-range passenger plane, Boeing’s new 777-9, which is in development, is more attractive and economical than the 747-8, Aboulafia said. Earlier this month, Airbus Group executives said they expect orders to pick up for their behemoth A380. “Some people at Airbus are still delusional about prospective sales” for very big planes, Aboulafia said. They “want to maintain a vision of happy unicorns a little longer.” “It’s the same reality” for Boeing’s 747, he said.
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Zodiac fined for Newport explosion BY DAN CATCHPOLE The Daily Herald NEWPORT — State investigators say that a violent explosion last July at an aerospace supplier’s factory near Spokane could have been prevented. The blast injured 17 workers and temporarily stopped production at Zodiac Cabin & Structures Support, a subsidiary of French multinational Zodiac Aerospace. The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has fined the company $1.316 million for safety and health violations at the Newport plant. Zodiac has 15 days to appeal. Investigators found that the company used defective equipment and ignored procedures for safely handling inflammamble materials during the curing process. On the night of July 14, a curing oven exploded, toppling large machinery and lifting the floor from the foundation. “Had this explosion occurred during the day when many more workers were present, there could have been many more injuries and possibly even deaths,” said Anne Soiza, L&I assistant director of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, in a statement on Tuesday. The accident was “highly predictable given the operating conditions,” she said. The department also cited the company for more than 20 lesser safety violations, including exposing workers to harmful vapors.
PeaceHealth names chief medical officer The Bellingham Business Journal Staff PeaceHealth has named Mark Adams as the chief medical officer for the notfor-profit health system with 16,000 caregivers serving communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Adams will be responsible for leading clinical strategies in the $2 billion system, Mark Adams including 10 hospitals, an 800-member multispecialty group practice and a comprehensive laboratory. Adam, 62, is currently community chief medical officer for CHI Franciscan Health system in Seattle, where he served most recently as chief medical officer and previously as vice president for medical affairs. He has served on the board of directors for Cambia Health Solutions since 2009 and was the first practicing physician to serve on the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees, a post he held for three years. He operated a private practice in thoracic and vascular surgery for more than 20 years.
Haggen settled its $1 billion lawsuit with Albertsons in January and now awaits an auction in early February that will determine the fate of the Bellingham company. [Contributed photo]
Haggen auction scheduled this month The Bellingham Business Journal Staff Some clarity about the future of grocery store chain Haggen should be coming in early February. That’s when an auction is scheduled to sell off the Bellingham-headquartered chain’s 37 core stores in Washington and Oregon. What remains to be seen is who will bid on the new store, another chain or the current management at Haggen. And will the Haggen brand continue or will it be absorbed into a different chain? One thing that appears settled is the lawsuit between Haggen and Albertsons. Haggen settled its $1 billion lawsuit with Albertsons for only a fraction of what it was seeking, according to documents filed last month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Albertsons agreed to pay $5.75 million in cash to the creditors for the bankrupt
Haggen. Albertsons also agreed to transfer another $8.25 million in an unsecured claim against Haggen to other creditors. The deal was reached Thursday, according to the documents filed by Albertsons with the SEC. The settlement must still be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In December 2014, Haggen agreed to purchase 146 grocery stores as part of last year’s merger between Albertsons and Safeway. Albertsons was forced to sell the stores last year by the Federal Trade Commission when it merged with Safeway. The first store that Haggen took over was the Albertsons in Monroe. Almost overnight, Haggen grew from 18 locations with 2,000 employees in the Northwest to 164 stores with more than 10,000 employees across the West
Coast. Problems emerged almost immediately and Haggen blamed Albertsons for, among other things, attempting to draw away Haggen’s customers by using confidential information, providing incomplete and misleading inventory data and pricing information, and deliberately understocking and overstocking inventory at the new Haggen stores. On Sept. 1, Haggen filed lawsuit against Albertsons, asserting that if it was destroyed as a competitor that its damages may exceed $1 billion. Just a week later, on Sept. 8, Haggen filed for bankruptcy. Since then, the company has been shedding stores on the West Coast, including selling some of the stores back to Albertsons. Haggen is now planning an auction to sell its core stores. That auction is scheduled for Feb. 5.
2020 Solutions leads pot shops in 2015 sales The Bellingham Business Journal Staff BELLINGHAM — One of the city’s first pot retailers is also one of its biggest. 2020 Solutions led Whatcom County in the amount of marijuana sold in 2015. The business with two stores sold more than $5 million of pot last year, accounting for 38 percent of the $13 million in sales for the entire county. Green Leaf of Bellingham came in second with $2.3 million in sales, about 17.8 percent of the total sold in the county. 2020 Solutions’ downtown Bellingham
store at 2018 Iron St. led all single stores in the county with $3.18 million in sales and the 2020 Solutions store in North Bellingham at 5655 Guide Meridian ranked fourth among county stores with $1.8 million. “The people of Washington first spoke with their votes on Initiative 502 and now are speaking with their wallets,” said Aaron Nelson, 2020 Solutions’ senior vice president of operations, in a statement. “It’s clear that people appreciate being able to buy cannabis products at comfortable and
attractive stores, knowing that the products have been tested for THC levels and contaminants.” Nelson said he expects sales to increase in 2016 because licensed retailers will be able to offer medicinal marijuana products starting on July 1. He expects that some stores will close this year, which he said isn’t unusual with a new retail sector. The state’s 37-percent excise tax rate and state regulations pose challenges for the young industry, he said.
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Bellingham looks to trigger development BY OLIVER LAZENBY The Bellingham Business Journal
The construction and development incentive will cut permit fees in half on qualifying projects, saving developers tens of thousands of dollars in permit fees for big projects within downtown and old town — two districts where the city most wants to encourage new development and renovation. To be eligible for the fee reduction, new projects must be at least three stories or 35 feet tall. Renovation projects can also be eligible if they include improvements to a building that is at least 10,000 square feet total, two stories high, and if the cost of construction is estimated to exceed 50 percent of the building’s assessed value. The recent upgrades to the Federal Building, at 104 W. Magnolia St., is an example of a project that may have qualified. The two-story Federal Building is about 12,000 square feet. Permit fees vary, but Sundin estimated that
someone developing a 50-unit building could save up to $75,000 in permit fees through the new incentive. The City Council will allocate $250,000 a year for three years to support the program. City staff will assess project applications on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the ordinance. Sundin said the city hopes to grant the fee reductions to three or four projects a year. Funds that aren’t awarded will roll over to the following year’s budget. All planning and permit fees will be cut in half for qualifying projects. That includes public works, building, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, land use and fire permit fees. Will a 50 percent reduc-
tion in permit fees be enough to stimulate development in downtown and Old Town? It couldn’t hurt, one local developer said. “I think any incentive or reduction in fees would be seen as positive by developers,” said Jeff Kochman, CEO of the Barkley Company.
Graduated B&O tax breaks The other new city incentive will give new businesses in certain districts a three-year break on their business and occupations tax. The graduated credit amounts to a 90 percent discount their first year in business, 75 percent the second year and 50 percent the third. The ordinance only
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applies to city business and occupations tax, and won’t affect Washington state’s tax. The credit can apply to anyone who opens a new business, or a new branch of an existing business, within the downtown, Waterfront, and Old Town, Samish Way and Fountain districts. Existing businesses that move to those areas won’t be eligible for the tax credit. “This isn’t about moving businesses around Bellingham but encouraging new businesses to locate in our urban villages,” Sundin said. “It’s also to help fill up
our existing buildings.” City planners decided not to give the tax credit to new businesses in Fairhaven and the Barkley District because those areas have less vacancies and stronger commercial growth, Sundin said. Businesses with multiple locations in Bellingham can only apply the tax credit to the gross receipts to the eligible business. For most businesses, the city’s business and occupations tax is 0.0017 percent of gross sales. So a business with $1 million in annual revenue would save $1,530 the first
year, $1,275 the second year and $850 the third year for a total of $3,655 in three years. The average amount of business and occupations tax that restaurants in Bellingham pay is $1,000 annually, Sundin said. Therefore, an average restaurant might save $2,150 over three years. To get the credit, a business owner must get approval from the city finance department before opening the business. The city will accept applications for both programs through 2018, but they could both be extended by City Council.
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The recent renovation of the Federal Building, at 104 W. Magnolia St., is an example of a project that may have qualified for the city’s new permit fee reduction. The program cuts permit fees in half for qualifying projects in Bellingham’s Downtown and Old Town districts. [Oliver Lazenby | The BBJ]
The Bellingham City Council approved two new ordinances in December that aim to promote development and attract new businesses to districts that need a boost. One incentive will cut permitting fees in half for big development projects downtown and in the Old Town district, and the other will give new businesses in much of the city a break on their business and occupations tax for their first three years. City of Bellingham staff developed the ordinances in response to a request from the City Council to come up with recommendations for improving current incentives for development and redevelopment in within urban villages. City planning staff thinks this tax package stands out in the state, said Tara Sundin, the city’s community and economic development manager. “We’re not aware of any other communities in the state that have packaged this combination of incentives,” she said. The ordinances went into effect at the beginning of the year.
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The Bellingham Business Journal The Bellingham Business Journal
February 2016 February 2016
People on the Move
New publicity VP for Women in Business After two years as vice president of publicity for Whatcom Women in Business, Amy Zender has handed the baton to Natalie Ransom, owner of Pozie by Natalie. Ransom is a farmer florist whose business offers one-ofa-kind flower arranging for any occasion.
Three promotions at VSH CPAs in Bellingham VSH CPAs in Bellingham has announced the promotion of Kari Doss, Tessa Ebbesen and Mary Taylor to managers. Doss joined the VSH team shortly after she received her bachelor of arts in accounting in 2011. Ebbesen, who has a masters in professional accounting and CPA designation, joined the firm in 2010. Taylor, who joined VSH in 2013, has more than seven years of experience in the field of public accounting.
New manager named at Bellingham Habitat Store Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County has announced the recent appointment of Julie Menkee to the position of store
manager for the Habitat Store Whatcom County. Menkee, a former high school teacher, has a wide range of of experience in building and construction, business and retail environment and project management.
Broker joins Bellingham Coldwell Bank Bain office Coldwell Banker Bain has hired broker Becky Brunk for its Bellingham office. Brunk’s experiences have ranged from art gallery work in Virginia and New York City to two years living in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. She has also owned and managed a Becky Brunk vacation home business in Colorado and ran an election campaign for a winning $21 million school bond.
New finance officer joins Ben Kinney Companies The Ben Kinney Companies in Bellingham has announced that Ross Clawson has joined the company as chief financial officer. Clawson has more than 30 years
of finance and accounting experience. The Ben Kinney Companies include seven Keller Williams offices in Washington and one in the United Kingdom. It also includes a collection of real estate-related software companies.
Whatcom Alliance CEO accepts new job Alisha Fehrenbacher, CEO of Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement, has accepted a new position as Chief Strategies officer with Empire Health Foundation in Spokane. Fehrenbacher will remain as CEO of WAHA over the next several months while she transitions to Empire. To assist her at this time, WAHA has engaged Jim Diegel, FACHE, as interim chief operations officer/ strategist effective Feb. 1.
Three new brokers added at Muljat Group Muljat Group has hired three new brokers for its real estate services. Julia Poland comes to Muljat after serving as key account manager for The North Face Company. John Fairbanks is an industry veteran, purchasing and selling real estate since 1981. Becki Murphy is returning
to Muljat. She has more than 16 years of experience in real estate.
Herrera Environmental adds new civil engineer Herrera Environmental Consultants expanded its presence in Bellingham with the hiring of Colleen Mitchell, who is a civil engineer with 10 years of exten- Colleen sive experiMitchell ence focused on LID stormwater management strategies. Herrera’s Bellingham office formally opened in early 2015.
RMC Architect employee obtains state license RMC Architects has congratulated Chris Mead on becoming a licensed architect in Washington State. Mead earned his bachelor of architecture from Washington State University in 2002, and has been with RMC since 2005. He is currently working on renovations at the Bellingham Tennis Club among other projects around the region.
Red Cross appoints two new managers The Northwest Washington Chapter of the American Red Cross has introduced Lacey Shoemaker as the new Disaster Program manager. Shoemaker has been involved with the Red Cross since 2007. Kelly Hill has also joined the organization as the new volunteer services manager.
New trustee appointed at Whatcom Community Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Bellingham resident and retired business executive John Pedlow to Whatcom Community College’s Board of Trustees in December. He replaced local business owner Chuck Robinson on the fivemember board.
New trustee appointed at Whatcom Community Fairhaven Veterinary Hospital has announced the hiring of associate veterinarian Dr. Tamara Godbey. She will help expand the hospital’s medical services to include acupuncture and alternative pain management therapies after the remodel of the hospital at 2330 Old Fairhaven Parkway is completed this spring.
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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
Chamber Speaker Series By: Guy Occhiogrosso The Chamber Speaker Series leads the way to informing the business community on current issues, political updates, and educational opportunities. When we were looking to 2016, it was decided to enhance our Chamber Speaker Series program for this year. We want this to be the robust discussion and networking opportunity of the business community. Over the years, the series has had a few foundational sessions including the annual State of the City & County and the Annual Economic Forecast. This past year we added two very successful additions the program with our inaugural State of the State, which invited all three state legislators from both the 40th & 42nd districts, and the Leadership Summit, which was our contribution to Global Entrepreneurial Week. One goal of the Chamber Speaker Series is to keep the business community informed on local trends and issues. When the most recent recreational marijuana legislation was passed, we provided a “Marijuana and the Workplace” session to help educate our members on the importance of updating their HR processes regarding the new laws. We utilized local expertise to produce the panel discussion. As recently as last month, we facilitated a discussion with local housing experts on the needs
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of our community in our “Housing Panel.” Chamber President/CEO Guy Occhiogrosso, says “Our current housing situation in the community is easily the largest item we have to tackle and resolve in our community. With our Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan being revised in 2016, we have to chose to be educated as the decisions we make now will impact us for the next 10 years.” As we continue into 2016, be sure to watch for our annual State of the City & County (with the Mayor and County Exec), annual State of the State (with our 40/42 legislators), and the Leadership Summit during Global Entrepreneurial Week. We will also be bringing back the Political Forum featuring local candidates. The Chamber is also planning a few other opportunities this year including some educational programming. Be sure to check out the website www. bellingham.com for all the Chamber Speaker Series events and all other Chamber programs.
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Sponsored content provided by Loni Rahm, and Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.
Encore Presentation with Roger Brooks We’ve mentioned before that renowned Tourism and Community Development specialist, Roger Brooks of Roger Brooks International, spent over a week in Whatcom County last July conducting a Community Assessment of our region’s primary access points, attractions and first impressions “through the eyes of a visitor”. Roger and his team presented their findings and observations during a well-attended, half-day public meeting in late July. Since then, the full report has been received and is available via the Tourism Bureau’s website: Bellingham.org. The multiple hour presentation from July 20th has been broken down into three segments which can be accessed via YouTube. Just google YouTube Bellingham Roger Brooks Although specific communities are highlighted during each of the three segments, we encourage you to view the entire presentation to gain relevant information woven throughout. Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism also has access to Roger’s ever-growing online video library – which underscores in greater detail many of the topics and points of his Community Assessment process. These topics range from Downtown Reviitalization, to Community Branding, to Wayfinding, to Beautification and more. These video downloads may be purchased by individuals or businesses through a one time or subscription download; however – BWCT is currently able to share our subscriber access as an extension of our Community Assessment. The next step of Roger’s was a review of next steps and progress which was offered in an encore presentation in Bellingham on January 8th. His first, and oft-repeated advice to business and community leaders, was to “think like a traveler”. He reiterated some of the facts and figures from his original findings: including the importance of a thriving, vibrant downtown. “If you don’t spend time in your own downtown, visitors won’t either.” Roger provided examples of downtowns who have transformed sluggish retail and service cores into bustling, successful pedestrianfriendly settings. He cited the shift in American practice towards a more European style of dining and
shopping expenditures later in the evenings – stating that 70% of all retail spending takes place after 6 p.m. and asking pointedly “Are you open?” In sharing his observations about curb appeal and first impressions: Fairhaven, Ferndale and Lynden all received high praise for their beautiful hanging baskets. Additional observations centered on curb appeal and inexpensive beautification – including sidewalk tables next to buildings to break up the concrete “barriers” between the buildings and the street; blade signs to draw pedestrians and slow moving vehicles into stores; ample easily accessible parking; and the value of benches. Businesses and building owners should lead the charge, Roger said, indicating the use of private-sector investment to boost tourism products. Lynden received high praise for their abundance of benches which was illustrated with numerous photos showing men lounging while, presumably, the women in their party shopped. Although the images drew laughter from the crowd, the accompanying statistic that 80% of ALL retail spending is made by women reinforced the fact that providing a place that encourages “lingering” will increase the bottom line dramatically. Roger’s team was pleased to note all the projects which have been initiated or are in the planning stages since his original assessment. Following is a brief overview: • I-5 SIGNAGE: The City of Bellingham has created a task force to review all signage along I-5 and make specific recommendations to DOT; this will also be communicated to state hwys and various communities to make sure we are utilizing all wayfinding opportunities and reinforcing consistent messages. They have also initiated a sign task force with members of the Bellingham Tourism Commission to review possible options for an iconic “Welcome” sign that will identify the arrival into downtown. • BEST OF: The Tourism Bureau is working with the Chamber directors throughout the County to develop BEST OF brochures following the recommended
guidelines Roger provided. CONNECTING THE DOTS: The Tourism Bureau has also contracted with a writer/graphic designer to produce the first two in a series of itineraries that will connect visitors with themed attractions and activities throughout the County. These will be represented visually and electronically on our website… we are also producing “tear off” maps that visitors can take with them on their explorations. CONNECTING THE DOTS PART 2: The Tourism Bureau and Fairhaven Historic Association launched a co-op ad campaign for 4th quarter promoting “Happy Hours” – Shopping, Dining, Adventure…the campaign targeted Seattle-ites and featured shopping packets at three hotels (Bellwether, Fairhaven Village Inn and Chrysalis Inn). PARK KIOSKS: Tourism Bureau staff have initiated several meetings with city, county and state parks departments to determine what rules and regulations apply to their “information” signage. We have budgeted for rack cards and/or acrylic holders (as needed) to provide attractive and informative take-aways. VENUE SIGNAGE: Tourism Bureau staff are in the process of inventorying the stages, public venues etc. where signage may be most appropriate (as in: Farmer’s Market here on Wednesdays). This will be placed in the specific charge of the chamber for that
region to determine regulations, but the tourism bureau has budgeted to produce consistent looking signage for any and all possible) X # OF DAYS OF ACTIVITIES: The Tourism Bureau invested a significant amount into a county-wide online calendar of events which is searchable by time period, community or type of activity. The calendar has become the highest viewed page on our website…and has helped us identify time periods and/or communities with “holes”. Blaine for example, has added several activities/events to their 2016 calendar based upon times/ days that link together… CONNECTING THE DOTS PART 3: Our Basecamp Bellingham (active recreation) component is now working with a variety of city, county, state, federal trail managers/advocacy groups to (over time) develop and implement a consistent trail-system wide method of markers/maps/information. The Methow Valley Sport Trail Association (MVSTA) is a great example of what we hope to eventually present….a coherent, comprehensive, collaborative meshing of multi-use trails and signage.
If you would like additional information about the projects underway or would like to access the Roger Brooks local presentations or his video library, please contact Loni@bellingham.org
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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.
December licenses Sterling David Fisher, Sterling David Fisher, 1000 Samish Way, Bellingham WA SCA Pacific Case Management, Inc., SCA Pacific Case Management, Inc., 114 W Magnolia St., Suite 400, Bellingham WA Whatcom County Medical Society, Northwest Washington Medical Society, 4545 Cordata Parkway. Suite B8, Bellingham WA Melvin Sary/Uber, Melvin O Sary, 1206 E McLeod Road, Bellingham WA Thomas Mayer Smith, Thomas Mayer Smith, 2315 James St., Bellingham WA Patrick’s Construction, Brian Patrick Barge, 3108 Wilson Ave., Bellingham WA Wayne Anderson Construction, Wayne David Anderson, 3824 Fraser St., Bellingham WA Mud Bay, Inc., Mud Bay, Inc., 1022 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham WA Robert Schneider Appraisal Services, Robert Thomas Schneider, 2511 Dakin St., Bellingham WA SFE Global Inc., SFE Global Inc., 1313 E Maple St., Suite 201-408, Bellingham WA Budget Rent A Car System, Inc., Budget Rent A Car System, Inc., 1200 Iowa St., Bellingham NJ Biz 54, Amia Elise Froese, 3611 Britton Road, Bellingham WA MZM Enterprises, Llc, MZM Enterprises, Llc, 3023 Hayward Court, Bellingham WA Latitude Financial, Lilikoi Ltd., 510 N State St., Bellingham WA Powell’s Quality Cleaning, Jodi Lynn Powell, 1807 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Bellingham WA Stoney Point Seafoods, Tom A Traibush, Squalicum Harbor, No. C-03, Bellingham WA Kings Place, Kristina May Johnson, 3825 Bristol St., Bellingham WA The Sun Kitchen, Bruce Roger Horowitz, 2627 Yew St., Bellingham WA Lighthouse Single Rentals, Lighthouse Single Rentals Llc, 3712 Seeley St., Bellingham WA Advanced Water Systems, Inc., Advanced Water Systems, Inc., 1975 Midway Lane, Bellingham WA TC Legend Homes Llc, TC Legend Homes, Llc., 702 Kentucky St., No. 339, Bellingham WA Jennifer J Brice, Jennifer Joan Brice, 2515 Dakin St., Bellingham WA Avis Rent A Car System, Llc, Avis Rent A Car System, Llc, 1200 Iowa St., Bellingham WA Desiree Gold, Desiree A Gold, 3316 Plymouth Drive, Bellingham WA Cookin’ Mojo Company, Christina Marie James, 22 Marigold Drive, Unit 29, Bellingham WA Orly’s Words, Orly Ziv-Maxim, 2720 Grant St., Bellingham WA Dream Bigger, Dream Bigger, 2221 G St., Bellingham WA Tara Shannon Palmerton-Jacola, Tara Shannon Palmerton-Jacola, 3454 Velma Road, Bellingham WA Brenda Jane Phillips, Brenda Jane Phillips, 2314 Utter St., Bellingham WA Northwest Woodslayer, Mathew Blubaugh, 3604 Cedarville Road, Bellingham WA Jaymzridez, James H Long, 1031 N State St., Apt. 101, Bellingham WA Tac Systems, Testing & Commissioning Services Llc, 4811 Desmond St., Bellingham WA Kari Mcardle, Kari A Mcardle, 404 E Sunset Drive, Bellingham WA Honor Code Sales, Adrian-Michelle Anderson Sharpe, 3713 Beal St., Bellingham WA Conture Business Advisors, Ps, Conture Business Advisors, Ps, 114 W. Magnolia, Suite 444, Bellingham
WA Movement Mortgage, Llc, Movement Mortgage, Llc, 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 124, Bellingham VA Sweet Petite, Jenna Nicole Kincaid, 2114 B St., No. 101, Bellingham WA Bal Driving School, Guru Teg Bahadur Llc, 1800 James St., Suite 101, Bellingham WA C&C Shop Llc, C & C Shop Llc, 794 Kentucky St., Bellingham WA Team Gotta, Juniors Aim, 1218 Kenoyer Drive, Bellingham WA Jennifer Ann Perry, Jennifer Ann Perry, 3018 Pinewood Ave., Bellingham WA Rick Landscaping, Benjamin Buatte, 3118 Harrison Ave., Bellingham WA Wink Lash And Wax Studio, Isabel R Rodriguez, 920 N State St., Suite 101, Bellingham WA Pizzazza Llc, Pizzazza, Llc, 2418 Alabama St., Bellingham WA Modern Touch, Andrew Michael Winch, 2906 Walnut St., Bellingham WA Beautiful Dentistry Of Bellingham, Robert Knudson Dds Pllc, 520 Birchwood Ave., Suite B, Bellingham WA Beautiworks Idaho, Llc, Beautiworks Idaho, Llc, 1411 Railroad Ave., Bellingham WA The Foot And Nail Rn, M and C Impero Companies Inc, 1971 Midway Lane, Suite L, Bellingham WA Restorfx Corp., Restorfx Corp., 2001 Iowa St., Suite E, Bellingham WA Kelly Services Usa, Llc, Kelly Services USA, Llc, 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 208, Bellingham MI Kelly Services Global, Llc, Kelly Services Global, Llc, 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 208, Bellingham MI Rawls Electric Llc, Rawls Electric Llc, 4879 Samish Way, Bellingham WA Christopher Waltner, Christopher Waltner, 2137 Superior St., Bellingham WA Sobremesa Foods, Llc, Sobremesa Foods, Llc, 3304 Bennett Drive, Bellingham WA Reliance Consulting Llc, Reliance Consulting Llc, 3850 Pincher St., Bellingham WA Moss Labs Llc, Moss Labs Llc, 2631 W Maplewood Ave., Apt. 2, Bellingham WA Green Truck Moradi, Llc, Green Truck Moradi, Llc, 921 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham WA Cauldron Soups, Llc, Cauldron Soups, Llc, 1200 Meador St., Bellingham WA Francescas, Francisca Aracely Gomez, 1213 Whatcom St., Apt. 93, Bellingham WA Ocean Outlet Seafoods Llc, Ocean Outlet Seafoods Llc, 4770 Pacific Highway, Bellingham WA Justin Remaklus, Justin Remaklus, 115 Unity St., Suite 201, Bellingham WA Cowden Equipment, Llc, Cowden Equipment, Llc, 3463 Cedarville Road, Bellingham WA Chuck’s Handyman Maintenance And Repair Services Llc, Chuck’s Handyman Maintenance And Repair Services Llc, 411 E Axton Road, Bellingham WA Team Mvp Llc, Team MVP Llc, 3707 Taylor Ave., Bellingham WA Eat Restaurant & Bar, Restaurant Fools, Llc, 1200 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham WA Bellingham Anime Convention, Bellingham Anime Convention, 329 Meadowbrook Court, Apt. 201, Bellingham WA Gurpreet Singh Kular, Gurpreet Singh Kular, 4746 Hadley St., Bellingham WA Ajhart&Hair, Ajhart&Hair Llc, 310 W Holly St., Bellingham WA PV Systems Solutions, PV Systems Solutions Llc, 3886 Hammer Drive, Bellingham WA Tibetan Tantra, Inc., Tibetan Tantra, Inc., 1440 10th St., Unit 407, Bellingham WA Ecochute, Llc, Ecochute, Llc, 2801 Sylvan St., Bellingham WA Natural Wellness Mobile Massage, Ashley Ross, 1478 Kelly Road, Bellingham WA Jackwabbit Equity, Llc, Jackwabbit Equity, Llc, 115 Unity St., Suite 201, Bellingham WA Clarissa I Pearce, Lmhc, Llc, Clarissa I Pearce, Lmhc, Llc, 1116 Key St., Suite 209, Bellingham WA DD Nail & Skin Care, Van V Tran, 1125 E Sunset Drive, Suite 100, Bellingham WA Tint Lady, Let The Sun Shine Llc, 1204 E Sunset Drive,
Bellingham WA Evergreen Copy, Jessica Leigh Hunter, 111 Windward Drive, Bellingham WA Black Market Enterprises, Llc, Black Market Enterprises, Llc, 1515 N Forest St., Bellingham WA Timber Framers Guild, Timber Framers Guild, 1106 Harris Ave., Suite 303, Bellingham WA Tjoelker Consulting Llc, Tjoelker Consulting Llc, 619 11th St., Apt. 1, Bellingham WA Mad Men Fine Carpentry, Mad Men Fine Carpentry, 1960 Fraser St., Apt. 303, Bellingham WA Linda Nicole Poor, Linda Nicole Poor, 1610 Grover St., Suite B3, Bellingham WA S. Llenza Immigration Law, Shannon Alison Llenza, 114 W Magnolia St., Suite 400 #117, Bellingham WA Whitehill Geosciences, Whitehill Geosciences Llc, 1316 Beazer Court, Bellingham WA Wsarc, Washington Square Area Resident Council, 2501 E St. Apt. 202, Bellingham WA Scott A. Davis, Cpa, Scott A. Davis, CPA P.S., 2211 Elm St., Bellingham WA Mort Sport, Annaliese Julia Mortimer, 2601 Grove St., Bellingham WA Never Delay Transport Inc., Never Delay Transport Inc., 1313 E Maple St., Suite 234, Bellingham WA The Computer Haus Nc, Inc., The Computer Haus Nc, Inc., 2551 Roeder Ave., Bellingham WA Increase Hope Foundation, Increase Hope Foundation, 824 Liberty St., Bellingham WA Lisa Surridge, Lisa Surridge, 310 W Holly St., Bellingham WA Technology Enterprises, Technology Enterprises Llc, 306 Flora St., Bellingham WA Sylvan Learning Center, A+ Education Llc, 4152 Meridian St., Suite 207, Bellingham WA Rhodes Cafe, Team Dujmo Llc, 1046 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham WA Salish Wealth Management, Inc., Salish Wealth Management, Inc., 3101 Newmarket St., Suite 101, Bellingham WA Markaya Henderson, Lmp, Markaya N Henderson, 1229 Cornwall Ave., Suite 209, Bellingham WA Four19 Church, Four19 Church, 2522 Vining St., Bellingham WA Ludentes, Llc, Ludentes, Llc, 103 E Holly St., Suite 413, Bellingham WA Witness Company, William Purcell, 815 1/2 N Garden St., Bellingham WA Equitable Investments Llc, Equitable Investments Llc, 317 N State St., Apt. 103, Bellingham WA Uber, Uber, 1339 Humboldt St., Bellingham WA Amy Cozart Llc, Amy Cozart Llc, 310 W Holly St., Bellingham WA Sullivan Health, Llc, Sullivan Health, Llc, 1000 Mckenzie Ave., Suite 16, Bellingham WA Salish Chiropractic Inc., Salish Chiropractic Inc., 1919 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham WA Zachary James Harrison, Zachary James Harrison, 601 N Forest St., Bellingham WA Northwest Hand Knits, Marie Katherine Salen, 1003 Brookings Pl, Bellingham WA Daly Transportation, Declan Charles Ja Daly, 1349 Varsity Pl, Bellingham WA Eurotapestries, Jardine S Silan, 3605 Tree Farm Court, Bellingham WA Bellingham Soap N Shirts, Michelle Ann Salmans, 315 Virginia St., Bellingham WA Ginger Boat, Gingerboat Inc, 240 36th St., Bellingham WA Rachel Beatty Counseling Pllc, Rachel Beatty Counseling Pllc, 960 Harris Ave., Suite 206, Bellingham WA Lend A Hand Services, Lisa I Kotz, 1200 Dupont St., Suite 2-1, Bellingham WA Kristi Lee, The Kristin Lee Specht Trust U/D/T 7/15/99, 1111 Cornwall Ave., Suite A, Bellingham WA Jonathan Boudin, Jonathan Boudin, 1329 Lincoln St., Suite 2, Bellingham WA Kaitlyn Beth Nutter, Kaitlyn Beth Nutter, 512 Darby Drive, Unit 203, Bellingham WA Joel Nelson Swisher, Joel Nelson Swisher, 328 N Garden Terrace, Bellingham WA North Bay Real Estate Appraisals, Curtis Allen Thor, Jr, 2271 E Smith Road, Bellingham WA Greg Gottier Inspection Service, Greg S Gottier,
3128 Brandywine Way, Bellingham WA JRW Carpentry Llc., JRW Carpentry Llc., 915 Old Samish Road, Bellingham WA 3three3, 3three3 Llc, 303 Potter St., Bellingham WA Lane And Traci Johnson Uber Drivers, Lane Paul Johnson, 124 Windward Drive, Bellingham WA Freedom Bridge Law Pllc, Freedom Bridge Law Pllc, 2950 Newmarket St., Suite 101-226, Bellingham WA Harper & I Dance Center Llc, Harper & I Dance Center Llc, 209 Prospect St., Suite 4, Bellingham WA Syntactical Design, Ryan Patrick Rittenhouse, 839 N State St., Apt. 301, Bellingham WA Kelly Berg Music, Kelly Michael Berg, 1200 Harris Ave., Suite 206, Bellingham WA My Spot Wireless, United Enterprise Holdings, Llc, 141 S Samish Way, Bellingham AZ Lisa Burn, Lisa Burn, 1210 Clinton St., Apt. 201, Bellingham WA Lindsey Jade Douglas, Lindsey Jade Douglas, 1501 H St., Apt. 102, Bellingham WA TJ Consulting, Tammy Lynn Johnson, 3926 Irongate Road, Suite A, Bellingham WA BMS Logistics, Todd Squillante, 1567 Fruitland Drive, Bellingham WA Rick Petersen, Attorney At Law, Pllc, Rick Petersen, Attorney At Law, Pllc, 114 W Magnolia St., Bellingham WA Irish Rebel Rose Barbering, Stephanie Rae Mccoy, 314 E Holly St., Suite 100, Bellingham WA Connie’s Convenience, Constance Diane Hopper, 3155 Racine St., Apt. 203, Bellingham WA Treeline Appraisal, Eric James Rust, 6 Swallow Cir, Bellingham WA Uber - Matthew Beckers, Matthew Beckers, 1025 Potter St., Apt. 102, Bellingham WA Mandi’s Private Tattoo Club Llc, Mandi’s Private Tattoo Club Llc, 1155 N State St., Suite 325, Bellingham WA Good Vibrations Llc, Good Vibrations Llc, 1714 Samish Way, Bellingham WA US Corporation, US Corp., 2209 Douglas Ave., Bellingham WA K&M Transco Llc, K&M Transco Llc, 365 Holland Ave., Bellingham WA Lett’s Home Improvement, Christopher Tate Lett, 1717 Monroe St., Bellingham WA Ernest Garcia, Ernest Garcia, 341 Holland Ave., Bellingham WA The Eureka Room, Jesse Ryder Stanton, 115 W Magnolia St., Suite 208, Bellingham WA Audrey Lynn Ugrin, Audrey Lynn Ugrin, 569 W Kellogg Road, Bellingham WA Keep It Clean Cleaning Services, Lindsay Nicolle Lawson, 3536 Cedarville Road, Bellingham WA Austin’s Car Rides, Austin James Masters, 4101 Deemer Road, Apt. 104, Bellingham WA Dmcissell Comics, Dustin Cissell, 4248 Archer Drive, Bellingham WA Jeremy Hirschkorn, Jeremy Lee Hirschkorn, 3856 Primrose Lane, Apt. 302, Bellingham WA Zach Cuaresma, Zachary Cuaresma, 2728 Cedarwood Ave., Bellingham WA Cascade Inn, Jss 1, Llc, 208 N Samish Way, Bellingham WA Erin Smith, Erin Smith, 2618 Nevada St., Bellingham WA Villa Inn, Hsb 1, Llc, 212 N Samish Way, Bellingham WA Hammerhead Coffee, Hammerhead Coffee Llc, 2000 Franklin St., Suite 101, Bellingham WA Chelsea N Barrett, Chelsea N Barrett, 2742 St. Paul St., Bellingham WA His House Yoga, Sarah Jane Willett, 809 Woodbine Way, Bellingham WA Elizabeth Ursula Brownlee, Elizabeth Ursula Brownlee, 2016 N Mahonia Pl, Bellingham WA Employment Migration Services, Llp, Employment Migration Services, Llp, 1200 Old Fairhaven Parkway 204, Bellingham WA Employment Migration Services Marketing, Llp, Employment Migration Services Marketing, Llp, 1200 Old Fairhaven Parkway 203, Bellingham WA Fairhaven Capital Advisors, Llp, Fairhaven Capital Advisors, Llp, 1200 Old Fairhaven Parkway 203, Bellingham WA
Michigan Eight, Llc, Michigan Eight, Llc, 114 W Magnolia St., Suite 302, 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.ccsVCen.
Jan. 1 to Jan. 13 1217 Harris Ave.. $125,000 for tenant improvement for Mount Bakery Fairhaven. Contractor: Owner. Permit No: BLD2016-0005. Jan. 1. 1030 Lakeway Drive, $100,000 for electrical work on Bellingham Whole Foods. Contractor: Vans Plumbing & Electric Inc.. Permit No.: ELE2016-0003. Jan. 4. 1030 Lakeway Drive, $100,000 for electrical work at Bellingham Whole Foods. Contractor: Refrigeration Unlimited. Permit No.: ELE2016-0004. Jan. 4. 2410 James St., $12,000 for lighting refit at Bellingham Whole Foods. Contractor: CJ Electrical Supply and Services. Permit No.: Ele2016-0005, Jan. 4. 516 High St., $40,000 for sprinkler-riser room-heater addition at Western Washington University. Contractor: Western Washington. Permit No.: ELE2016-0018. Jan. 5. 516 High St., $40,000 for sprinkler-room heater addition at Western Washington University. Contractor: Western Washington. Permit No.: Ele2016-0019. Jan. 5. 766 Marine Drive, $13,000 for beauty revisions in Kohl’s. Contractor: Tom Griffith. Permit No.: Ele20160037, Jan. 8. 1125 N. Garden St., $678,659 for expansion of service use care into second building. Contractor: McFarlane Construction Inc. Permit No. BLD201500116. Jan. 6. 400 Sequoia Drive 100, $490,000 to reduce size of tenant space on first floor. Contractor: Dawson Construction Inc. Permit No.: BLD2015-00181. Jan. 6. 1015 Railroad Ave., $25,000 for seismic upgrades. Contractor: Credo Construction. Permit No.: BLD20155066. Jan. 6. 1319 Cornwall Ave., $90,000 worth of work at 3 Oms Yoga. Contractor: Chuckanut Builders. P ermit No.: Bld2015-5076. Jan. 6. 716 Alabama St., $20,000 for modifications to existing Verizon Wireless cell tower. Contractor: n/a. Permit No: BLD2016-0011. Jan. 7. 1348 W. Bakerview Road, $19,892 for retaining wall at Costco. Contractor: Ferguson Construction. Permit No. BLD2016-0022. Jan. 12. 2915 Newmarket St. 104, $16,000 for tenant improvements at the Barkley Company. Contractor: Scoboria Construction. Permit No. BLD2016-0021. Jan. 13 1501 Cornwall Ave., $30,000 for work at Skagit State Bank. Contractor: Chad Fisher Construction. Permit No. BLD2016-0023. Jan. 13. 3201 Arbor St., $910,699 for work at water treatment plant. Contractor: n/a. Permit No.: BLD20160025. Jan. 13.
Liquor and Marijuana Licenses Records include license activity in Whatcom County. The information is obtained from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, online at www.liq.wa.gov.
New licenses applications Mount Baker Distillery, 1305 Fraser St., No. 102, Bellingham, WA 98225, for a license to distill/ rectify. License No. 408496, Jan. 14. Eat Restaurant & Bar, 1200 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225-5021, for a new license for direct shipment in and out of state; to sell spirits, beer and wine in the restaurant and lounge and off-
The The Bellingham Bellingham Business Business Journal Journal
February February 2016 2016
Public Records premises sale of wine. License No. 84811.Dec. 22.
Mt Baker Growers, 4905 Guide Meridian Road, No. 3 Bellingham, WA 98226-9109, received approval as a marijuana producer tier 3. License No. 416153. Jan. 7. Point Roberts Marina, 713 Simundson Drive, Point Roberts, WA 98281-8510, received approval for a beer and wine specialty shop, License No. 363128. Jan. 7. The Cabin Tavern, 307 W Holly, Bellingham, WA 98225-4313, received approval for direct shipment receiver in the state only, License No. 363662. Jan. 7. 2020 Solutions, 2018 Iron St., Suite A, Bellingham, WA 98226-4212, received approval on added fees for a marijuana retailer. License No. 415470. Jan. 5. Drayton Harbor Oyster Company, 677 Peace Portal Drive, Blaine, WA 98230-4012, received approval for a new application for beer and wine at the restaurant.
License No. 421240. Jan. 5. JBC Grow, 2121 Lincoln St., Bellingham, WA 982254147, received approval on an added/change of class/ in lieu as a marijuana producer tier 2 and added fees. License No. 413631. Jan. 5. C & C Shop, 794 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA 982250000, received approval as a marijuana retailer. License No. 413529. Dec. 18.
Aw Asian Bistro, 1138 Finnegan Way, Suite 311, Bellingham, WA 98225-0000, had a license to sell spirits, beer and wine in a restaurant and lounge discontinued. License No. 400219. Jan. 5.
Federal Tax Liens
Tax liens of $5,000 or more issued by the Internal Rev-
enue Service. Listings include taxpayer(s) name, lien amount, document number and filing date. Records are obtained locally from the Whatcom County Auditorâ€™s Office.
Charles B. Neff, $23,788.90. 2016-0101676. Jan. 20. Robert T. and Marlene R. Campbell, $27,061.36. Jan. 20. Leon C. James III, $8,041.36. 2016-0101674. Jan. 20. Robert W. Winicky Jr., $48,531.95. 2016-0101673. Jan. 20. Super Buffet, $58,195.06. 2016-0100729. Jan. 11. Daniel G. and Elizabeth K. Thorndike, $78,239.31. 2016-0100728. Jan. 11. Josiah R. Sanderson, $33,399.47. 2016-0100727.
Jan. 11. Robynne Sapp, $52,170.03. 2016-0100128. Jan. 4. Scott A. Schenk, $390,160.09. 2016-0100126. Jan. 4. Pioneer Woodworking, Lafeen Robert. $6,059.47. Jan. 4. Kelly J. and Vandi A. Roberts. $93,865.24. 20151203292. Dec. 30. Ron R. Yepez. $109,317.78. 2015-1203291. Dec. 30. Ann M. Cline. $63, 419.59. 2015-1203290. Dec. 30. Danny C. Prestion. $76,840.85. 2015-1202288. Dec. 21. James and April Pierpont. $23,628.16. 21051202287. Dec. 21. West Shore Hospitality, John David Gibb.
$42,763.92. 2015-1202286. Dec. 21. Ponytail, Elizabeth Azzara, $26,934.73. 20151202285. Dec. 21. Richard Stinardo, $28,645.65. 2015-1202284. Dec. 21. Aaron M. Matson, $123,168.29. 2015-1202277. Dec. 21.
Business bankruptcies Whatcom County business bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington. Hunter Hospitality, Range of assets: $1,000,000 to $10,000,000, Range of liabilities: $10 million to $50 million, Case No. 15-17090-MLB. Filed: Dec. 1, 2015.
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February 2016 February 2016
Medical Society. It is at 5:30 p.m. on March 16 in Settlemyer Hall at Bellingham Technical College.
Kaizen Assembly to host LEAN practicies workshop On Feb. 16, Kaizen Assembly will be conducting a one-day LEAN Office Workshop in Bellingham that will focus on how LEAN practices can be applied in non-manufacturing processes such as office and administrative environments. Cost per person is $395. If you are interested in attending, email email@example.com or call 360-7152129.
Farmers, volunteers to collect water samples Farmers in the Laurel Watershed Improvement District, area residents in the Tenmile Clean Water Project and a group of volunteers who live in the Tenmile watershed, have agreed to work together to conduct water quality sampling. The sampling will occur along Tenmile, Fourmile, and Deer Creeks in Whatcom County. Fecal coliform is the primary concern for this testing program.
3 Oms Yoga moving to new studio in Bellingham 3 Oms Yoga owner Amy Robinson has announced her business is expanding this spring into the upstairs at 1319 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham. Chuckanut Builders is beginning a remodel to update the yoga studio beginning in February. Robinson hopes to start classes in the new space in May.
Ferndale accepting vendor applications The Ferndale Public Works Department is now accepting applications for its Small Works Roster and Vendor List for 2016. If you are already on the roster and your information is current, send written notice. Contractors and vendors who wish to be eligible for small (under $300,000) projects with the city, can find out more here: http://www.cityofferndale.org/small-works-rondvendor-list/
New green-built housing planned in Bellingham Caitac Corporation and Windermere Real Estate are presenting Bellingham’s latest new home development. Spring Vista, north of Bakerview in the Cordata neighborhood, will include 42 new townhomes in the first phase. The entire project is built around Built Green practices and stewardship.
Microbrewery opens ‘Culture Cafe’ Local kombucha microbrewery Kombucha Town has opened the Culture Café at Kombucha Town. The café is located in a newly remodeled space at 210 E. Chestnut St. in the basement of the Herald Building in downtown Bellingham. It is accessible through an alleyway entrance near La Fiamma Pizza. Kombucha Town products include seven flavors of the fermented tea in bottles and cans: Signature, Gold, Gold Light, Green Jasmine, Guayusa Mint, Blueberry White and Lavendar. For more information, visit kombuchatown.com/ culture-cafe.
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Management selected for Lynden’s Homestead Golf Kombucha Town microbrewery has opened the Culture Cafe in the basement of The Herald Building in downtown Bellingham. [Contributed photo]
United Way offers grants to improve community United Way of Whatcom County is looking for programs that improve education, income and health in our community. If you have an innovative program based on best practices to achieve results, your program could qualify for funding. For more information on criteria, or to RSVP for the Grant Seeker Technical Assistance Meeting, email ptheisen@unitedwaywhatcom. org or call 360-733-8670 or visit www.unitedwaywhatcom.org
Career Choices fair planned in Bellingham Whatcom County North Rotary Club’s Career Choices Career Fair is scheduled for Thursday, March 31 at either Bellingham Technical College or Whatcom Community College. The event sees between 28 to 40 volunteer presenters provide information about various career pathways offering suggestions and direction to the Whatcom County high school juniors and seniors. To volunteer, contact Dale A. Holt at Dale.Holt@ourfirstfed.com.
Revenue makes it easier to obtain reseller permit The Washington State Department of Revenue has made it easier for businesses to view or print their reseller permit. Businesses can now print their reseller permit directly from their online My Account via the Revenue website.
Union, Transportation Authority collect clothes During the month of December, the Amalgamated Transit
Union and Whatcom Transportation Authority collected warm clothing and blankets, donated by employees and members of the public. In all, the Warm Hearts Warm Hands clothing drive collected one hundred 40-pound bags full of warm clothes and blankets that were donated to Fountain Church, Hope House and the South Samish Resource Center.
Floral Soil debuts its featured product Floral Soil, a non-toxic organic alternative to traditional chemical floral foams used for cut flower arranging, celebrated its global debut at an event on Jan. 23 at My Garden Nursery in Bellingham. It will feature a demonstration, hands-on workshop and more. The product was invented and developed by Bellingham resident Mickey Blake. RSVP towww.floralsoilsolutions.com.
Neuroscience program faculty to host talk Faculty from Western Washington University’s Behavioral Neuroscience Program and Biology and Psychology departments will gather for a neighborhood roundtable discussion, Neuroscience on Tap: Bring Your Own Brain (BYOB), from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at Club Glow above Bob’s Burgers and Brew, 202 E. Holly St. in downtown Bellingham. This event is free and open to the public.
Twitter 101 workshop scheduled in Bellingham Patti Rowlson of PR Consulting Inc. will be teaching a Twitter 101 workshop from 4 to 5 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Dorothy Haggen Confer-
ence Room, 2211 Rimland Drive, Suite 106, in Bellingham. Learn Twitter lingo and what and how to tweet. Cost is $15. Space is limited. Register online at pattirowlson.com/events.
Aloha Motel hearings planned The City of Bellingham has scheduled public hearings for the Aloha Motel redevelopment proposal on Feb. 8 and for the Army Street redevelopment proposal Feb. 11. Both hearings will be at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 210 Lottie St. For more information, visit www.cob. org/properties or contact Darby Cowles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-778-8389.
Sewing Bootcamp plannned in February Nonprofit organization Ragfinery will offer a new Sewing Bootcamp Saturdays in Februrary where students can learn the basics of sewing by upcycling old clothes into new items. The class will be held over three consecutive weekends in February. It is taught by veteran seamstress Brigitte Parra. For questions about Ragfinery’s workshops or community endeavors, call 360-7386977 or visit Ragfinery.com.
Learn about healthcare advanced planning Woodring College of Education’s Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University will sponsor a ramp-up event to encourage healthcare advance directive preparation. The free and open-to-the-public event is in collaboration with the Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement and Northwest Washington
Illinois-based KemperSports has been selected to manage Homestead Golf and Country Club in Lynden. The company also manages Chambers Bay – host of the 2015 U.S. Open Championship – and Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon which was named the top Golf Resort in North America by Golf Digest. Homestead is an 18-hole championship golf course and club in a residential community.
Whatcom CC obtains accreditation Whatcom Community College has received accreditation approval by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities to enroll accepted students in a new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in IT Networking beginning fall 2017. It is the college’s first four-year degree. An application deadline for the BAS program has not yet been set. For more information, visit whatcom. edu.
Stamp & Coin store shifts to online presence The Stamp & Coin Place, a Bellingham business specializing in bullion trading, as well as stamps, coins, currency, postcards, and other collectibles, has acquired The Stamp & Coin Place at 405 South First St., Mount Vernon. The main store in downtown Bellingham closed on Jan. 14 and will be shifting to an online presence in addition to the operation at Mount Vernon location.
New Port president chosen The Port of Bellingham Commission has selected Port Commissioner Michael McAuley to serve as president of the Port’s Board of Commissioners for
The Bellingham Business Journal The Bellingham Business Journal
February 2016 February 2016
Business Briefs 2016. Commissioner Bobby Briscoe was picked to be vice president and Dan Robbins was chosen for secretary. Commission meetings will be held the first and third Tuesday of each month in 2016.
HR executive wins peer award The Mt. Baker Society for Human Resource Management’s 2015 Member of the Year Award recipient is Elizabeth Miller. Miller was recognized by her peers for her efforts on behalf of organization. She is the former HR Manager for the Markets, LLC. The Mt. Baker Chapter of SHRM is a non-profit organization for the advancement of human resources management.
WCC students wins Transforming Lives award Whatcom Community College student Johnathan Tyler Gilmore is one of five statewide recipients of the 2016 Transforming Lives Award from the Washington State Association of College Trustees. Gilmore, 24, received the award and a $500 scholarship at a ceremony in Olympia on Jan. 24. This is the second consecutive year a WCC student has been selected for this elite group.
Learn more about the 2016 Recreation Northwest EXPO by visiting www. RecreationNorthwest.org.
Olsen Auto gets new certification Bellingham’s Olsen Auto Body & Collision has been officially certified by Assured Performance, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization. Certification criteria is based
upon auto manufacturer requirements.
Nooksack recycles 6 million pounds Lynden’s Nooksack Valley Disposal & Recycling in 2015 surpassed 6 million pounds in recycling materials, food waste and yard waste for the fifth consecutive year despite reductions in the use of newspapers and mixed paper. Nooksack
Skagit Bank is committed to serving you and your business. Your financial products need to work for you, that’s why our business banking team customizes solutions to fit your needs. We want to help you work efficiently for your success and your business’ longevity. We believe in Genuine Lasting Relationships. We are Skagit Bank.
New owner for Bellingham Mixed Martial Arts Bellingham Mixed Martial arts gym manager Hunter Clagett purchased the business Jan. 1 and has moved the business to a new location at 2694 Roeder Ave., Suite 101. The business is offering a free self-defense seminar to the public from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 7.
Recreation NW expands expo to full weekend Recreation Northwest is expanding its successful Expo event to a full weekend of outdoor recreationrelated activities. The events, which take place Feb. 25–27, at downtown Bellingham venues, are designed to showcase Bellingham as the recreation capital of the Northwest.
Valley Disposal’s average household customer recycled 856 pounds in 2015.
New satellite office for WWU small business center Western Washington University’s Small Business Development Center will open a satellite office Feb. 1 in Barkley Village’s Corporate Office at 2200 Rimland
Drive, Suite 250, Bellingham. The new office will be open for client meetings on an as-needed basis. Clients wishing to schedule appointments with their business advisor in the new office location are encouraged to call the center directly at 360-778-1762.
AAA’s Soap for Hope dubbed a success During the holiday
season, AAA Washington teamed up with local shelters, food banks and other charitable organizations to provide unused toiletries for those in need. A total of 25 AAA Washington locations participated in Soap for Hope campaign. The program’s eighth year proved to be the most successful year yet, bringing in 148,159 items or 12,347 pounds across Washington and northern Idaho. 1519043
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Lawmakers should learn from Connecticut cautionary tale In 2001, Boeing shocked state and local leaders announcing it was relocating its headquarters to Chicago. Suddenly, the company with its deep roots in our Puget Sound region was housed on the shores of Lake Michigan. That move coupled with Boeing’s worldwide search for sites to build its next generation of commercial airplanes prompted then Democratic Gov. Gary Locke to form a competitiveness council. Its mission was to recommend ways to improve our state’s competitiveness primarily so Boeing’s production and jobs would remain here. Some legislative and regulatory changes prompted by council landed the majority of the 787 production here. However, Boeing now has a second “Dreamliner” assembly line in South Carolina signaling that Washington is in stiff competition with the rest of the world for lucrative aerospace jobs and production. Fast forward to 2016 and you can imagine the tremors shaking Connecticut these days with General Electric’s announced headquarters relocation to Boston. GE moved to Fairfield in 1974. Joe Brennan, president of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), said “if there’s one single takeaway from General Electric’s decision to relocate its headquarters, it’s that Connecticut’s
policymakers cannot view it as an isolated case. The conditions that led to this decision exist for many companies in Connecticut.” Since 2011, Connecticut’s legislature, which has large Democrat majorities, approved the largest and second largest tax increases in the state’s history, along with a slew of costly mandates directed at businesses. Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) has done little to put the brakes on tax increases and mounting business costs. A CBIA survey of Connecticut businesses last year found broad misgiving about state government fiscal responsibility and the state’s competitiveness. “That constant cycle of budget deficits followed by tax hikes, coupled with growing costs, continue to undermine business confidence,” Brennan concluded. In 2015, lawmakers hiked taxes by $1.3 billion. It was the fifth tax increase in five years. Unfortunately, Connecticut business leaders see no impending relief. Over the next two years, state spending is projected to rise by another $1.5 billion of which $700 million goes to higher personnel costs. Connecticut’s bloated government payroll and woefully underfunded pension accounts, resulted in state budgets doused in red ink — and it is getting worse.
That’s especially bad for Connecticut which has recorded zero GDP growth since 2010. Meanwhile neighboring Massachusetts, which was dubbed “Taxachusetts” in the 1970s because of the high amount of personal income going to pay state and local taxes, learned its lesson. Taxing your way to prosperity doesn’t work. State officials want business. In fact, Boston offered GE $145 million in incentives to move there. Massachusetts has steadily lowered taxes. Lawmakers cut the corporate rate from 9.5 percent to 8 percent while Connecticut hiked its corporate rate to 9 percent. They also lowered the state’s top income tax rate to 5 percent while Connecticut raised its rate to 6.99 percent.
Don C. Brunell Guest Column
The strategy is working and Massachusetts is now the most attractive place for business in the Northeast. What is happening in Connecticut should be a lesson for Washington elected officials. According to the Washington Research Council (WRC), our state has the sixth highest percentage of business taxation in the U.S. In Washington businesses are the source of 62 percent of all state tax revenues, and 52 percent of local taxes. Gov. Jay Inslee and lawmakers currently meeting in Olympia must remember that taxes, fees and regulatory costs determine whether all business, not just Boeing, stay in Washington. Replicating what is happening in Connecticut would be another bad trip down memory lane. We would not want to see a Wall Street Journal editorial conclude: “The last business to leave, please turn out the lights!” That’s what Connecticut leaders read on Jan. 14. Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at theBrunells@msn. com.
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February2016 2016 February
You will keep making the same mistakes over and over “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain I’m not even going to ask you whether you’ve had this experience because I know you have. You get into a situation that you think you know how to handle, you take an action, it doesn’t work. In an instant you smack yourself in the forehead uttering the epithet, “I know better than that!” Then within a relatively short period of time a similar situation occurs, you blow it again, following the same pattern only this time you add, “When will you ever learn?” I told you I wasn’t going to ask you whether you’ve had this happen because I know you have, we all have, myself included. A couple of things make this one of life’s more frustrating experiences; one, it’s not just the failure to handle the situation that hurts, it’s the self punishment we dole out, and we are brutal about it. Second, the failure to learn from the initial experience is also humiliating and attacks our self confidence, often so badly that in the future when we see the situation coming again we run the other way, or some version thereof. Let’s step back for a moment and establish the value of this discourse. You are a
manager or business owner. On a daily basis you are faced with challenges, most often in the form of people, employees, customers, vendors and others. Most of these challenges you handle well; good, that’s what you get paid for or as an owner how you go about growing your business. Then there are the the situations like I described earlier. Without question these situations handled unsuccessfully a number of times begin the describe the limits of your ability to progress as a manager or as a business owner to build and grow your business. One thing I have observed in both myself and others is that in life I will usually choose to avoid or rationalize situations where my experience tells me I am not going to succeed. I’d ask you to be honest with yourself
On Managers & Employees
and do a quick inventory. “What or who” do you knowingly avoid due to a personal history of not interacting or handling them well, at least well according to you. Then, and here it becomes somewhat painful, ask your self what the cost is to you of the avoidance pattern you have developed? So how can these patterns be changed? Step one, admit to yourself what specific situations are yours to account for. Step two commit to learning how to handle these situations. (See the thing is, what you never recognized when you scolded yourself for knowing better is that you didn’t in fact know better. Get it? If you did know better, then how come you didn’t handle things well in the first place? What? Are you just lazy, not as smart as you think you are, careless? Hardly! Nope, none of these, you are in fact normal and you made normal people mistakes.) Normal people observe life through the lens of their past experience. If something or someone they/you encounter looks like someone or something they/you have previously encountered they/you assume that they/you know how to handle it or them. This may be a bit hard to follow but the inference is that all our actions in present time are heavily influenced by our past experiences. We mistake our memory of past experiences for “Knowing What to Do.” Put very directly, we are using old memories, not knowledge, to engage cur-
rent circumstances. The really nasty trick is that there are enough “Almost Like Our Past Experiences” that we get away with using old memories (what we know) until we run into a “Looks the Same to Me” which really isn’t and then we fall on our face and confusion begins to set in. And the biggest goblin isn’t the process I am describing, it is how we feel (very uncomfortable) when our past experience is not a match for life in the moment. Feeling uncomfortable has become for us in the modern world the single most important signal to us that something is dangerous, very wrong, to be avoided, an opportunity to fail. Honestly, there is no hope of learning how to handle the past failures until we master our aversion to emotional discomfort. If you get this, it allows you to move to the next level in the game of life. “Those who can tolerate the greatest amount of emotional discomfort stand to learn how to develop power in the face of ambiguity. What matters most in life is ambiguous. Real power and ambiguity are inseparable.” Mike Cook lives in Anacortes. His columnsappear on BBJToday.com every other Tuesday. He teaches in the MBA program at Western Washingon University and also runs a CEO peer advisory group in the Berllingham area.
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February 01, 2016 edition of the Bellingham Business Journal