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Barnes & Nobel will operate Spokane community colleges two bookstores

Offiicals with the Community Colleges of Spokane have signed a deal with Barnes & Noble College to operate its campus bookstores.

Campus bookstores on both community college campuses will begin be operated by Barnes & Noble College, a division of Barnes & Noble, starting this month.

Barnes & Noble, an established online and retail store book dealer, will also spend about $150,000 for renovations at the bookstores, the district announced.

The schools said they hope to reopen the bookstores on Monday, Dec. 22, under the new management.

Benefits of the deal include access to B & N's College’s Campus Connect Technologies, an online service offering course materials, equipment and supplies. Students will be able to save money through an expanded selection of rental, used, digital and new textbooks.

The textbook rental service is designed to save on average 50 percent off the price of a new textbook. Students will have the choice to rent a new or used textbook with the option of purchasing their rental at the end of the agreement. CCS students will also gain access to one of the largest digital libraries in the industry.

“We believe this change will serve our students by making college learning materials more affordable and more accessible,” said Chancellor Christine Johnson, in a prepared release.

Seattle Business Magazine honors Telect and Williams family with award

Liberty Lake-based Telect Inc. was chosen the 2014 Washington Family Business of the Year during awards at a recent Seattle banquet.

Telect makes and designs network equipment and software solutions.

Choosing Telect was Seattle Business magazine. The publication gave the family-owned business the Family Business Award for Transformation.

It cited the Williams family — who started the company in 1982 — for “encouraging and embracing new opportunities” in their family-owned and family-operated Washington business.

Founders Bill and Judi Williams continue as board members. Their son Wayne Williams has been CEO since 1997.

Information on the firm is at

To read about other winners, visit the latest Seattle Business issue at


Regional firms swap operations, letting Inland Asphalt take over mixing plant

Today's main business news was the asset swap between two materials-construction firms in the region. Spokane Rock Products sold its asphalt operations in Spokane to Inland Asphalt, also based in Spokane.

In return, Spokane Rock Products acquired the concrete and aggregate business of Central Pre-Mix, down in Pasco. Central is part of a big corporate family that includes Inland Asphalt.

The basic justification: Inland Asphalt consolidates its business by removing a competitor. And Spokane Rock Products gets to be a bigger concrete fish in the Tri Cities pond.  That area tends to have plenty of new construction;  thus it makes great sense to acquire a larger base there.


Consumer Reports polled Americans and found booze is their least favorite gift

Bad gifts are being purchased as we speak.

Our contribution for today, a list from Consumer Reports on what most Americans consider the worst gift choices.

A quarter of those surveyed said hard liquor (spirits such as whiskey, rum, tequila) was the gift they least desired as a gift.

Wine was comparatively more acceptable: only 6 percent said they didn’t want to get a bottle of wine.

The list of holiday gifts Americans said they’d least like to receive include:

  • Spirits (25 percent)
  • Flowers/plants (23 percent)
  • Home décor (13 percent)
  • Books (8 percent)
  • Kitchen items (7 percent)
  • Wine (6 percent)
  • Clothes (6 percent)
  • Food (5 percent)

As of early December, the survey learned 30 percent of holiday shoppers had started making a serious shopping effort. Of those who have started shopping, one in 10 had completely finished, while 27 percent are three-quarters of the way there, 25 percent are half done, and 35 percent have completed at least one-quarter of their gift shopping.

Civic leader Don Barbieri appointed to WSU board of regents

This item was corrected after WSU revised the length of Barbieri's term and its start date.

Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Spokane business and community leader Don Barbieri to the Washington State University Board of Regents.

“Don Barbieri has spent the majority of his professional and personal career working to improve the quality of life for Washingtonians and other residents of the Pacific Northwest,” Inslee said. “He will be a great addition to the board of regents of our state’s land-grant research university.”

Barbieri’s six-year term begins Jan. 1.  He succeeds Connie Niva of Everett, who completed her second five-year term in September.

WSU President Elson S. Floyd, in a press announcement, said: “I welcome Mr. Barbieri to the WSU family and look forward to working with him.

A Spokane native, Barbieri spent his professional career and philanthropic vocation to advancing quality of life throughout the Pacific Northwest. He served as chairman of the board and director of Red Lion Hotels Corp., formerly known as WestCoast Hospitality Corp. and Cavanaughs Hospitality Corp., until his retirement in 2013.

He served as president and CEO there from 1978 until April 2003, when he ran unsuccessfully against 5th Congressional District Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Barbieri served as a member of the Washington State Economic Development Board under three governors while chairing the state Quality of Life Task Force.

Smart toy retailer Whiz Kids will relocate to new RPS spot

Spokane educational toy and game retailer Whiz Kids will move to the third level of River Park Square, next to the Nordstrom third floor entry.

The shop will take 4,000 square feet in a corner location that has never been leased up to now, said RPS spokeswoman Elizabeth Mills.

It's had a location on the second level of RPS for nearly nine years, near the Made in Washington shop at the mall's east end.

The goal is to relocate in January, allowing the shop to do holiday business in its present location, said owner Jan St. George.

River Park Square is owned by the Cowles Co., which also publishes The Spokesman-Review.


Jimmy Fallon has fun with the Sonic Decanter idea

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The news from the guys making the Sonic Decanter wine-improvement tool got two bits of good news recently. One was surpassing the $85,000 Kickstarter target the company set, in order to begin manufacturing the device. Here's an earlier post to give you the background.

The guys also got a quick joke on the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show opening monologue.

Here's the video of that little jibe.


Few tops list of best-paid private university employees in Pacific Northwest

Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few tops the latest list of highest-paid private university employees for the Pacific Northwest region at over $1.2 million per year.

Few, who last month was named the nation's best college basketball coach for the money by Forbes magazine, earned a base salary of $950,654 in 2012, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education survey released Sunday. Other annual compensation cited in the survey included bonus pay of $186,823, deferred compensation of $21,250, non-taxable benefits of $17,574 and $73,302 in other perks.

The survey examined total compensation levels for executives and other highly paid employees at 497 private nonprofit colleges and universities nationwide during the 2012 calendar year, which was the latest year for which complete figures were available for all schools. Researchers relied primarily on publicly accessible IRS disclosures that nonprofit organizations must file to retain their tax-exempt status.

Here’s the total compensation levels cited for the Spokane-area’s two private universities:


  • Men’s basketball coach Mark Few: $1.2 million.
  • Former women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves: $438,388.
  • President Thayne McCulloh: $373,841.
  • Executive VP Earl Martin: $296,042.
  • Academic VP Patricia Killen: $280,851.
  • Athletic Director Michael Roth: $278,806.
  • Law School Dean Jane Korn: $262,417.
  • VP Finance Charles Murphy: $241,139.
  • Corp. Council Michael Casey: $239,826.
  • Senior VP Margot Stanfield: $235,511.
  • Business school Dean Clarance Barnes: $227,333.
  • Florence campus Dean John Burke: $226,812.
  • VP Joseph Poss: $212,090.

Whitworth University

  • University President Beck Taylor: $316,192.
  • VP Scott McQuilken: $234,800.
  • CFO Brian Benzel: $172,340.
  • Prof. Dennis Sterner: $146,712.
  • Library Dir. Hans Bynagle: $145,342.
  • Prof. Barbara Sanders: $143,943.
  • VP Kathlee Storm: $138,594.

University officials say some of the total annual compensation figures may have been inflated by programs that enable employee family members to attend the college without paying tuition. The value of the waived tuition, in those cases, often is added to the employee's annual compensation calculations, particularly at Whitworth.

If you want to compare how top compensation at private universities compares to public institutions, you could:

‘Green Friday’ sales flat, Green Leaf leads local sellers last month

Green Friday” may have prompted a surge of sales at local marijuana retailers, but more revenue was reported the day before Thanksgiving and earnings modestly increased from prior Friday rushes in November, according to numbers reported by the state's Liquor Control Board.

Statewide, legal pot shops made $157,686 on Friday, down significantly from Wednesday's total of more than $251,000. It appears shoppers wanted to stock up for the long holiday weekend, rather than brave the retail lines on America's largest shopping day of the season.

Still, most local store owners said they opened with lines out the door Friday, and the Liquor Control Board only reports total sales numbers, not how much marijuana was sold. Some retailers were offering strands at up to 20 percent off all weekend.

The state Liquor Control Board also released this week the total sales numbers for Spokane County's eight retailers in November. The first shop to open, Spokane Green Leaf, led the way with $236,900 in sales last month. Up-and-comer Cannabis & Glass, which was not open when the month began, sold $13,355 worth of marijuana in November. That was good enough to beat seven other shops statewide that reported sales last month, but was the least among the county's eight operating businesses.

A total of 74 marijuana businesses reported sales to the state last month. Source: Washington State Liquor Control Board.

In total, Spokane County's pot shops earned more than $1 million in sales, roughly 1/8 of the revenue statewide. Sales activity generated more than $252,000 in excise tax revenue for the state. Currently, tax funds from marijuana sales are pooled and spent throughout the state, a process some lawmakers and shop owners would like to see changed to keep tax money closer to home.

Saturday marks two years since the voter-approved Initiative-502 became law, kickstarting the legal marijuana industry in Washington state. Look for an overview of the nascent industry in this weekend's Spokesman-Review.

Red Lion’s downtown Baltimore building is 10 stories of solid stone near inner harbor

Red Lion Hotels is crossing the continental divide and will open a new Hotel RL in Baltimore next year.

Today's SR story lays out the background on the deal, which will convert the Keyser Building from offices to a stylish downtown Baltimore hotel.

Here's a photo of what the exterior of the building looks like today.

Anyone remember the play in the 1990s?  “Hot L Baltimore”?  It's almost like the Red Lion folks wanted to conjure that idea with the name Red Lion Baltimore RL.



Burger Lab morphs into newly named Knife Burger Bar, opening in spring

Josh Hissong says his new downtown Spokane burger place is expected to open in March 2015, in the Michael Building at the corner of Lincoln Street and Sprague Avenue. That’s the site of former restaurants Travo’s and Agavé.

The Burger Lab was his first choice when he earlier announced plans for the spot. A name change took place after he tested Burger Lab and found it didn’t grab potential customers, he said.

It’s now called Knife Burger Bar ( “It may be a little cheesy, but every burger will be served with a knife stuck in it, to hold it together,” Hissong said.  Double cheesy, perhsps?

The restaurant and kitchen area will cover about 2,100 square feet.

His company’s other food place on the block, NUDO Ramen House, has been a bigger success than expected, he said.

Because past remodels left a patchwork of utilities and fixtures, Hissong said he and his partners needed to do extensive work to give the building an up-to-date kitchen and service area.

Another major improvement will be removing the marblecrete pieces on the outside walls, in order to restore the original look, Hissong said.

Known officially as the Germond Building, the structure is on the National Historic Landmarks list; that designation required extra costs while making modifications to the walls and interior, Hissong said. Landlord is Diamond Co. of Seattle.

A quick look at the proposed mixed use building at Ninth and Perry

Here's one architectural rendering of the planned commercial-retail building that will go up at Ninth and Perry in the South Perry District of Spokane.

Owners Lisanne Laurier and Harold Preiksaitis say work will start on footings now, with construction likely to conclude in summer 2015.

The site has been an eyesore for about a year. Details on the delays were summarized in last week's story.

The drawing comes via Scott Edwards Architects, out of Portland. Preiksaitis said no tenant deals have been concluded yet.

Local pot shops set plans for ‘Green Friday’

Owners of local marijuana shops hope to cash in on the biggest retail sales day of the year, an event many of the stores are calling “Green Friday.”

Though state law dictates when the area's nine retail shops may open their doors (8 a.m.) and how much they can charge for marijuana (stores can't sell pot for less than they paid to acquire it from producers/processors), area store owners say they plan to extend their hours and offer discounts on items including edibles and J.R.R. Tolkein-inspired paraphernalia.

“If you buy a full ounce, we'll give you a free 15-inch Gandalf pipe,” said Cristy Aranguiz, lead “budtender” at Cannabis & Glass, a shop that opened earlier this month in north Spokane. The glassware resembles the long pipe smoked by the wizard in Tolkein's classic Lord of the Rings series.

Check out this map of stores, their business hours for Friday and a brief description of the deals they plan to offer customers, and read more about the shops' specific plans inside the blog.

Under-radar Spokane startup wins prize for innovative systems to cut water use

A Spokane tech company launched quietly two years ago has landed a $10,000 prize in a startup competition hosted by the Washington Technology Industry Association. Our full SR news story ran on Friday.

Under-the-radar Kirkland Analytics, which has a team of five, won the top prize this week during the WTIA’s First Look Forum event held in Bellingham.

The company develops its own hardware and software tools to identify water waste and eliminate it, said Matt Rose, the company’s VP of engineering. Its main customers so far have been large businesses and big-box stores.

Four of the firm’s workers live in Western Washington, while CEO Frank Burns lives in Spokane. The company is planning to move some of its production from Missouri to the Spokane area soon, Burns said.

Rose joined forces with Burns in 2007 as Burns was starting Hydro-care International. That Spokane firm develops self-contained water treatment centers for large stores or enterprise installations.

Long legal battle over lavish lake home ends with a court settlement

It's been a strange tale, the contentions between two big high-rollers over sprawling Lake Coeur d'Alene lake home.

The battle seems to have finally ended, with an announcement last week that the two men, Denny Ryerson and Dana Martin, have agreed to a settlement.

The summary of the settlement appeared in Saturday's Spokesman-Review.

We had to follow this tale from start to finish, from the first hints that Ryerson's business decline put him in danger of losing his multimillion lake mansion on Mica Bay, intended to be his dream retirement home, to the final blasts of legal crossfire over thousands of items pulled from the house after Martin acquired it in a bankruptcy sale.

It's over. Thank you very much.

Larry H. Miller helps put Thankgiving meals on the table, donating to UGM

Now that it's resolved the issue of moving forward with demolition of two downtown buildings, let's give a high-five to Larry H. Miller for some philanthropy.

The Utah-based firm recently gave Spokane's Union Gospel Mission  a $5,000 donation to help fund the charitable group's annual City-Wide Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center.

A release noted also that Larry H. Miller Dealerships general managers,  wives and employees will help serve the Thanksgiving dinner – including turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing - to more than 1,000 homeless and low-income families benefiting from the Union Gospel Mission.

“We are humbled to be able to support those members of our community who are experiencing tough times, and help provide them with the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner,” said Bob McLean, general manager, Larry H. Miller Lexus Spokane.

In addition to providing funding and serving meals, Larry H. Miller Lexus will donate one turkey to the dinner for every vehicle sold through Nov. 26.


Ambassadors will lease space in the building it just sold, then move out

Earlier today readers found a story about Northwest Farm Credit Services paying $9 million for the big Ambassadors Group building on Flint Road near the airport.

We noted we couldn't get comments from either company about how this affects them.

Today, we did get a reply from the buyer.

Here's their statement:  “Northwest FCS is planning to move all of its headquarters staff to the Ambassador building.  The date of the move has not been determined yet.  We will be leasing the entire building back to Ambassador for an interim period of time.”

Their note also noted that it's up to Ambassadors to announce where its next location will be, following the interim period.

The rest of today's story was this:

Northwest Farm Credit Services, a financial services company serving regional farmers, bought the Ambassadors Group building near Spokane’s airport for $9 million.

The 133,000- square-foot building was constructed in 2006 by Ambassadors, a travel company that promotes cultural trips under the People to People banner. The building, along with 11 acres of land at 2001 S. Flint Road, has been for sale for two years. It was first listed for $13 million.

Ambassadors executives announced at the time that they wanted a smaller office space as a way to “right-size” the company during a period of declining revenue. At the time, officials said they intended to lease back office space from the buyer, but a recent federal filing about the sale gave no indication what Ambassadors intends to do. Spokane’s Northwest Farm Credit Services office is at 1700 S. Assembly St. near the Sunset Hill.


Private sector in Washington added jobs in October, while government lost jobs

This item includes a corrected number, changing the number of private jobs added during October.

Washington’s unemployment rate  rose slightly this month to 6.0 percent, despite an estimated gain of 5,600 jobs in October, according to preliminary and seasonally adjusted labor statistics from the state Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek says the increase in the unemployment rate is is directly related to an increase in the state’s labor force, which rose by 12,200 in October.

“These numbers demonstrate increased confidence by job seekers entering or re-entering the marketplace,” Turek said. “Job growth continues to gain momentum—with the state adding roughly 7,000 jobs a month.

“But for this month, the increase in the number of new job seekers entering into the  labor market’s civilian workforce was greater than the number of new jobs added. That explains the increase in the unemployment rate.”

During the one-year period from October 2013 to October 2014 the department estimates employers added nearly 82,600 jobs statewide. This includes a gain of 66,900 69,900 private-sector and 12,700 government jobs.

Month over month, nonfarm, seasonally adjusted employment rose by 5,600 with the private sector adding 6,200 and the public sector losing 600 from September 2014 to October 2014.

Industry sectors with the largest employment gains in October were leisure and hospitality, up 2,700 jobs; retail trade, up 2,200; manufacturing up 1,500 and other services up 1,400.  Jobs in transportation, warehousing and utilities grew by 600 and the financial activities industry added 600 jobs as well.   Construction added 500 jobs. The professional and business services sector and the mining and logging sector both increased by 100 jobs each.

Spokane startup gets top prize at WTIA competition in Seattle

Kirkland Analytics, a Spokane startup that helps commercial buildings manage water use, won the top prize of $10,000 at this week's  WTIA Fall First Look Forum.

The Washington Technology Industry Association is a not-for profit trade group that supports technology companies and professionals, trying to build connections between startups and industry resources.

The Kirkland Analytics website says it helps customers “manage water like inventory,” and saves clients like Costco more than 20 percent on their water use with a plug-and-play, real-time monitoring and analytics system.

Its VP of Engineering and co-founder is Matt Rose, shown taking possession of the symbolic ten-grand check at the event this past week in Bellingham.

Frankly, we never heard of this group. (The firm's website is bare-bones. The HTML header in my browser identifies the page as “Adobe Muse Theme,” an indication the website was assembled with a template.)

Stay tuned, and we'll add more details as we get them.

Ryan Arnold gets first GSI post as director of entrepreneurship program

Ryan Arnold has been chosen as Greater Spokane Incorporated's first director of its recently launched Entrepreneurship Program. The job is focused on adding energy and guidance for area entrepreneurs and startups.

Arnold has primarily focused his efforts in Kootenai County. He created a consulting firm in Coeur d'Alene,  Sightline Energy, which worked with architecture and engineering companies.

He also helped launch Innovation Collective, a North Idaho-based support organization for new businesses and entrepreneurs.

GSI's Startup Spokane initiative is a broad-based effort to provide education, networking and support. It's collecting resources and links at

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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