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Sportman’s Warehouse coming back to town, opening next year


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Sportsman’s Warehouse, the Utah-based national outdoor recreation and sporting goods chain, will open a north Spokane store next spring, moving into the vacant building at 6720 N. Division St.

It’s leasing and renovating a 35,000-square-foot retail building near the corner of Lyons and Division.

Sportsman’s Warehouse is leasing from the commercial real estate operation of developer Harlan Douglass.

The store will operate seven days a week with roughly 50 employees, said company spokeswoman Karen Seaman.

The retailer expects to offer roughly 75,000 products.

Rebooked, the idea that won the last Startup Weekend, is moving forward

Edited 9:33 a.m. July 8 to reflect the correct name of the business. Rebooked, not Rebook.

We wanted to call a little attention to Rebooked, a Spokane start-up that includes on its team Dan Gayle, a Spokesman-Review web developer.

Dan took part during April's Startup Weekend Spokane, and that team won best of show for their idea for a notification startup called Rebooked.

The idea behind Rebooked is a notification system for businesses who face customer cancellations. Using notifications, companies can convert the cancelled appointments into customer appointments. The potential market includes health care service providers, salons and eventually restaurants.

 

The Ridpath Annex was once a great downtown swimming hole

Earlier this week The SR ran a quick story updating circumstances at the vacant, derelict Otis Hotel.

It's almost like we're hunting for stories about downtown buildings that have fallen into decay. Last week's story, on hopes to resurrect the empty Ridpath Hotel, at least offers rays of hope that a developer can build apartments in the Ridpath.

The developer, Ron Wells, is only tackling the problem of rehabbing the Ridpath Tower, converting it into micro- and standard-size apartments.

A different owner, a Spokane businessman, owns the nearby Ridpath Annex, on the southeast corner of the block that also includes the Ridpath. That building, once the home of Spokane's YMCA, is not immediately facing redevelopment. Rumors persist that the owner has a buyer, but OfficeHours hasn't confirmed that.

This historic photo, from the famed Libby Photo archive, shows swimmers enjoying the pool inside the old YWCA building. It appears to be from 1919, taken during a women-only swim session.

Check out the diver on the pedestal in back right side of the image.

Here's some background on the building history, from a local history book:

The annex is an older historic building that is part of the Ridpath complex. The annex was originally built as the St. Nicholas Hotel, and it was later used by the YWCA. After the Ridpath tower was built in 1952, the two buildings were combined into a single facility. The annex houses 44 larger apartments and street-level live-work space. It connects directly to the tower, allowing residents of both buildings to easily share common amenities. The building will feature a restored tiled swimming pool that was once part of the St. Nicholas Hotel’s “fine turkish bath”.

Umpqua Bank to close 27 branches in the West, none in Spokane

None of Sterling Bank’s nine area branches will be closed during a round of reductions now taking place as Umpqua Bank begins aligning operations in the wake of its takeover of Sterling.

Bank officers are closing 27 branches across Washington, Oregon and California during the next several months. Those closures – including 13 branches in Washington along with seven each in Oregon and California – are occurring where both Umpqua and Sterling had branches within a few miles of each other, said company spokeswoman Eve Callahan.

Umpqua finished its purchase of Sterling two months ago in a $2 billion stock deal. The nearest Sterling closures to Spokane will be two Tri-Cities branches and one in Clarkston, Callahan said.

The two closed Tri-Cities Sterling branches were located inside Wal-Marts, she said.

In some cases the closed branch was an Umpqua operation, and in others it was a Sterling branch, she said.

In the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, two branches were within 500 feet, she said. In that case, an Umpqua branch will be folded into the nearby Sterling branch.

The exact number of jobs lost has not yet been settled, Callahan said. No more branch closures are anticipated during 2014, she said.

No Spokane branches of Sterling Bank will close, says Umpqua

None of Sterling Bank’s nine area branches will be closed during a round of reductions now taking place as Umpqua Bank begins aligning operations in the wake of its takeover of Sterling.

Bank officers are closing 27 branches across Washington, Oregon and California during the next several months. Those closures – including 13 branches in Washington along with seven each in Oregon and California – are occurring where both Umpqua and Sterling had branches within a few miles of each other, said company spokeswoman Eve Callahan.

Umpqua finished its purchase of Sterling two months ago in a $2 billion stock deal. The nearest Sterling closures to Spokane will be two Tri-Cities branches and one in Clarkston, Callahan said.

The two closed Tri-Cities Sterling branches were located inside Wal-Marts, she said.

In some cases the closed branch was an Umpqua operation, and in others it was a Sterling branch, she said.

In the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, two branches were within 500 feet, she said. In that case, an Umpqua branch will be folded into the nearby Sterling branch.

The exact number of jobs lost has not yet been settled, Callahan said. No more branch closures are anticipated during 2014, she said.

 

Business trivia question: when was the first commercial LP album released?

This item might normally show up in Paul Turner's Slice column. Since he may have missed it, OfficeHours will offer it up for quick consumption.

The first long play (LP) vinyl record was introduced by Columbia Records on June 21, 1948. Up to then, all commercially sold vinyl was played at 78 revolutions per minute.

Columbia got there first by using a team of engineers who evolved the 78-rpm record into its still-viable 33-1/3 rpm version. By doing that, they extended a disk playback time to more than 20 minutes per side, and shrank vinyl grooves to an accessible millimeter size.

The June 18, 1948 Wall Street Journal announced the advent of the new LP. It cited sources from the Chicago-based Magnavox Co. who were quoted saying Magnavox was preparing to introduce a two-speed player that year. It would add $25 to the cost of its standard players to have that dual option.

For once, a company spokesman made a comment that resounded accurately and prophetically. In the WSJ article a Magnavox exec said the new LP will be  “a huge turning point” in the recorded music industry. Got that right.

The idea of long-play vinyl wasn't totally new. Back in the 1930s, RCA Victor introduced the first commercially available LP turntable-player. It never went into production due to the impact of the Great Depression.

New president to head HollisterStier’s contract manufacturing section

Bill Simmons, a 30-year veteran in the pharmaceutical industry, has been named president of Spokane’s Jubilant HollisterStier contract manufacturing operation.

The company announced his appointment last week. He takes over from former CEO Marcelo Morales, who has left the company.

Simmons, 57, has had several management positions, including executive vice president at Mayne Pharma LTD, and general manager of Baxter International’s oncology and multisource injectable business, according to Jubilant HollisterStier.

Most recently, Simmons was managing partner at CSN USA LLC, a New Jersey-based consulting firm. It primarily worked with private equity investors considering investments with biotech firms.

In late 2013 the Federal Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Jubilant HollisterStier, saying its inspectors identified several concerns over quality control in the contract manufacturing area of the north Spokane site.

It referred in the letter to unexplained levels of impurities in some orders being filled for a pharmaceutical customer. Another concern was allegedly inadequate processes to ensure material sterility.

The federal agency continues to work with company officials to resolve those concerns. Tara Goodin, an FDA spokeswoman, said by email: “Because this is an open investigation, our policies prohibit us from discussing what has happened and what will happen specific to this facility.”

Shannon Jordan, a Jubilant HollisterStier spokeswoman, emailed the company’s position: “We have responded to the FDA and are actively working toward making continuous improvements to our site.”

Starbucks will start offering wireless phone-charging in its stores

Found this on NW tech blog TakesonTech:

Starbucks is preparing to offer wireless phone-charging stations at its coffee shops. But don't get too excited; it won't start happening until next year for most stores in this area.

Starbucks has been testing the technology across the Bay Area and parts of Boston. The initial rollout is occurring in Boston.

Starbucks is working with Powermat and Duracell, which use the inductive charging standard developed by the Power Matters Alliance. Some phones in the market use the PMA standard for charging, but many do not. Powermat and Duracell make a wide array of sleeves and other accessories for devices that don’t support wireless charging on their own.

Powermat will provide the backend technology needed for Starbucks to build the wireless charging stations into its stores, as well as tools to help customers figure out if their phones are compatible or not.

Starbucks estimates it will add about a dozen wireless charging stations to each of its 7,500 locations in the U.S. Many of the deployments won’t take place until 2015.

Right now, the tech works with a limited number of smartphones. Owners of other devices will have to have a special case, costing about $20 to $30, in order to work with the wireless charging system.

Goodwill Industries takes over former Gift Card shop near Lincoln Heights

Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest has chosen Spokane’s South Hill near Lincoln Heights Shopping Center to open its fifth retail store.

Goodwill has leased the former office space at 2927 E. 27th Ave. last used by the 50% Off Card Shop. It also is leasing an adjoining open parcel.

The goal is to open the store in September, said Spokane’s Goodwill CEO Clark Brekke. A donation trailer will be installed at the property in July.

It will use about 6,000 square feet in the building, with a staff of around 16.

How many local jobseekers came to the recent Verizon Wireless job fair?

Note to WilburTheDog (commenter)> This story got major display with a photo a week before the job fair. There's no way anyone can assert this event was not given enough advance notification. Click the link below to see that story.

A few weeks ago we featured a job fair by Verizon Wireless, looking to fill a bunch of new store positions at Spokane and North Idaho stores.

So how good a turnout did the company get during the four-hour fair? We learned this much from a company spokeswoman, Erica O'Connor:

“Verizon had 61 applicants attend their recent Spokane retail job fair. The HR team is engaging in follow-up and evaluation with hiring decisions coming soon. Employees selected from this job fair would likely begin training in July.”

 

Red Lion converts two hotels in Washington, Idaho to franchises

Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corp. has sold its hotels in Kennewick and Twin Falls, converting both to franchise operations.

Terms of both deals will not be disclosed until the publicly traded company's next earnings report.

The company has made franchising  one of its chief corporate priorities, primarily to lower costs.

Both new owners agreed to run both facilities under the Red Lion brand. Both also agreed to make major improvements over the next 18 months to improve features and amenities.

The Kennewick hotel has 162 guest rooms and 10,000 square feet of meeting space. The Twin Falls property has 112 guest rooms and nearly 5,000 square feet of meeting space. 

The Idaho hotel is within a short distance of the Snake River Canyon and a half mile from Perrine Bridge, known internationally as one of the best B.A.S.E. jumping sites in the United States.

Red Lion currently has 53 hotels in 10 western U.S. states and one Canadian province.

 

Dan Dickau bringing his second local barber shop to the South Hill

Former Gonzaga University basketball player Dan Dickau will open The Barbers on Grand, his second area barber shop.

 

It’s going into 1,200 square feet in the former Walgreen’s drive-through pharmacy at 1304 S. Grand Blvd. He said he hopes to open on June 19.

 

Dickau, a TV and radio broadcaster during basketball season, opened his first barber shop near the North Division Y in 2013. It’s at 9331 N. Newport Highway. During the first month, his business will offer $5 haircuts, Dickau said. 

 

“That's how I hope to help people get introduced to the business,” he said.

 

Liberty Lake loses 100 more jobs, as Express Scripts shifts its focus

Express Scripts Inc., a national pharmacy benefits manager, is cutting back its Liberty Lake workforce by 100 jobs, but plans to leave 200 others in place.

This is the second major job reduction in Liberty Lake announced this week. Earlier, Utah-based Vivint said it will close down its Liberty Lake call center, cutting an unspecified number of positions.

Express Scripts' Liberty Lake office, at 23102 E. Appleway, has been an intake or front-end pharmacy center since the 1990s. Express Scripts, based in St. Louis, acquired it in 2012 by buying the assets of Medco Health Solutions, the original pharmacy benefits manager in that building.

Express Scripts negotiates drug prices for large employers and major health insurers and fills orders for their members and employees.
Express Scripts is the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the country, with 29,000 workers nationwide.

Announced earlier this year, its corporate restructuring will convert the Liberty Lake operation from an intake pharmacy to a customer prescription and insurance-coverage review center.  As a result it will need fewer workers, said spokesman Brian Henry.
Starting Monday instead of having 45 registered pharmacists, Liberty Lake will have 36 pharmacists, along with roughly 164 other workers.

Front-end pharmacies receive prescriptions faxed or emailed in bulk from insurance providers, government agencies and others. Those high-volume prescriptions were verified and processed, followed by workers transmitting the prescriptions to company fulfillment centers.

Workers at those sites shipped the prescription drugs to patients across the country.

Preparing for the shift two months ago, the company offered 200 of its 300 Liberty Lake employees jobs within the new division or taking a severance offer. About 100 took a severance package, Henry said.

The other 100 who didn't take the severance will fill similar or different positions in the newly realigned coverage-review unit, he said.

North Idaho seeing the rebound of the high-end vacation home market

There's another monthly update on Spokane County home sales in the June 6 Spokesman Review.

Near the bottom is the interesting little detail out of North Idaho.

Here's how the story reported it:

While Spokane’s home sales are slightly behind a year ago, they’re increasing in Kootenai County.

Through April this year, home sales are up 5 percent – from 583 to 613, said Kim Cooper of the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors.

Median prices there are up 6 percent, from $169,000 to $179,500, he added.

What’s clear, Cooper said, is there’s a rebound in sales of high-end, waterfront properties. In the first four months of 2013, there was one home sale in excess of $1 million.

This year so far, Kootenai County has had eight such sales, Cooper said.

“That tells me we’re seeing the rebound of the vacation-home market here,” Cooper said

Numerica is among the 2014 Agora Award winners announced by GSI

Five Spokane companies and two nonprofit organizations were winners Wednesday of the 2014 Agora Awards, chosen by a panel to recognize business excellence.

 They were:

  • U-District Physical Therapy (small business)
  • Asuris Northwest Health (medium business)
  • Numerica Credit Union (large business)
  • Blessings Under the Bridge (small nonprofit)
  • Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations (large nonprofit)
  • Quality Inn Downtown (community service award)
  • Lee & Hayes (entrepreneurial spirit)

 The awards were presented Wednesday by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

Eighteen SCC student business ideas will be on display Friday downtown

Eighteen students in an entrepreneurs program at Spokane Community College will showcase their business plans on Friday, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the atrium of River Park Square, 808 W. Main Ave.

The students are graduating from the school's IBE (Integrated Business and Entrepreneurship)  program. They have formed business plans and will summarize their efforts to research the market and prepare to launch their companies.

This year's list of businesses range from social media marketing for dental offices to opening a Leavenworth, Wash., restaurant.

The IBE director, Jeffrey Waybright, will be on hand.

 

Here’s an interactive U.S. map that tracks jobless rates since 2004

Hats off to the data geeks at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. They produced a cool interactive (animated) US map tracking the rise and fall of unemployment rates since 2004.

As long as your browser can run basic scripts, this map should work for you.

For me, the cool part is watching the varying dark and light shades for the Northwest states and for bordering states Nevada and California.

Also, since Alaska is parked off a little from the rest of the map, it's easy to watch its rate change. Notably, it was hit by unemployment well before the rest of the country.

For what it's worth, I suggest spending a few minutes taking a look at the map.

The full link is below in case you couldn't jump in.

http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140522.htm

Historic 1889 Building in downtown Spokane acquired by new owners

The oldest downtown Spokane building constructed right after the Great Fire of 1889 has changed ownership.
The historic 1889 Building, at the corner of Main Avenue and Stevens Street, has been sold for $1.02 million to Spokane real estate investment company CitiBrokers.

It purchased the property from the Amron Corp., which bought it in the 1990s and later had the three-story brick building added to Spokane’s Register of Historic Places.

Amron Corp.’s investor group includes Spokane residents Mick McDowell and Shelley McDowell.

CitiBrokers’ partners are Aaron Cunningham, Landon Cunningham, John Urquhart and Nick Barnes CitiBrokers will renovate the building and take over the third floor, said Aaron Cunningham.

The Downtown C.O.P.S. Shop will continue using the second level, while Nectar Tasting Room will remain in the building’s first level. A catering business uses the basement level.

When first constructed, it was called the Soss Building and was the main structure on the Bodie Block. Its first use was as a single-occupancy hotel. Over the next six decades it was converted into several uses including a saloon, a restaurant, an apartment house and the Bootery Shoe Company. The building underwent a major renovation in 1973 and acquired the 1889 Building name.

Cunningham said CitiBrokers will move into the renovated third floor offices in August and has begun hiring additional brokers to represent customers in the market to buy or sell residential and commercial property.
  

Spokane Valley Cancer Center joins the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Spokane Valley Cancer Center joined the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) Network to become that group's 12th member.

The Valley center's services include medical oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, research, specialized oral pharmacy, and patient and family support.  It also offers radiosurgery using Spokane Cyberknife & Radiation Oncology Center.

The SCCA was formed by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children’s Hospital to unite the oncology-related patient-care services of these organizations.

“We are thrilled SCCA invited Spokane Valley Cancer Center to become part of its network,” said Arvind Chaudhry, an oncologist and hematologist at Spokane Valley Cancer Center.

The benefits for Spokane Valley Cancer Center oncologists include being able to offer patients expanded treatment options. rapid second opinions, and arranging for local patients to enroll in SCCA clinical trials without having to travel to Seattle.

 

Advanced Fire Systems relocating to larger building in North Spokane

From this weekend's Here's The Dirt column:

Advanced Fire Systems will move into a bigger warehouse in July, having purchased a building at 3518 E. Everett Ave., in north Spokane.

The company, operated by Melissa Skelton, installs fire suppression systems for commercial, industrial and residential projects.
It paid $260,000 for the building, which has 6,360 square feet of space. Advanced Fire Systems has operated out of 1606 E. Holyoke Ave.
The seller was the Crabtree Trust. Brokering the deal were Mark Lucas and Tracy Lucas, of Kiemle & Hagood.

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