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Archive for June 2013

South Perry gets a new craft brewery this fall, that’s a good thing

Perhaps we care a little too much about the South Perry District?  We certainly gave plenty of space in Thursday's paper to plans announced by Ben and Christy Lukes to open Perry Street Brewing in the neighborhood this fall.

OK, we plead guilty as charged. Craft brewing may not build a thriving local economy, but we see it as a validation of the great American pasttime, hanging out and being social with friends and strangers. As long as good examples of craft brewpubs pop up across the region, we think Spokane's a good place to raise a family — or a stein.

The illustration/rendering here of the business, at the corner of 11th and Perry, is from architect Matthew Collins, whose firm UpTic Studios is designing the building.

Washington jobless rate drops to 6.8 percent, lowest since November 2008

Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to an estimated 6.8 percent in May, the first time under 7 percent since November 2008, when the rate was 6.5 percent, the state Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

The state’s unemployment rate has fallen by 0.7 percentage points since the start of the year.

Individual county jobless reports will be issued next week.

The latest report says Washington added about 4,100 jobs in May, seasonally adjusted. Economists revised the April job numbers downward by 2,100 jobs, from a preliminary estimated gain of 3,800 to a gain of 1,700.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in May were government, up 3,200; education and health services, up 2,500; leisure and hospitality, up 1,500; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 600; and retail trade, up 300 jobs.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included “other services,” down 1,400; manufacturing, down 600; professional and business services, down 500; construction, down 500; wholesale trade, down 400; financial activities, down 300; and information, down 200.

Jerry Dicker’s plans for the Burgan’s Block don’t include historic tax credits

Yesterday we ran this same artist's rendering of the new proposed Burgan's Block project.

Here's the full daily Spokesman-Review story.

Bernardo-Wills Architects, of Spokane, is the architectural design team for the two-building project. It's expected to begin within 60 days.

The southern building — the former Burgan's storage warehouse — is considered part of the DeSmet Avenue Warehouse Historic District. Developer Jerry Dicker has said he is not seeking tax credits for maintaining either building's historic character.

Air Show spawns creative timeline highlighting Washington’s aviation history

This being the week of the Paris Air Show, we've been tracking a blog hosted by Washington state's delegation there.

The site also features a very well done timeline slideshow highlighting the major aviation moments associated with the Evergreen State.

Which big development project along north Division is this one?

A major project along north Division street will start later this year.

This aerial rendering, compliments of Spokane's Bernardo Wills Architects, shows the projected end result.

IF you know your Spokane development scenarios, you know exactly who's doing this multimillion dollar project.

If you don't, check Wednesday's pages and the print edition of the SR to get the details.

This project will be major.

Sandpoint’s Quest Aviation chosen as Idaho Small Business of the Day

It's National Small Business Week, and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch chose Sandpoint's Quest Aircraft as the state's Small Business of the Day.

The company was honored in Monday's Congressional Record of the United States Senate.

The company produces the highly regarded Kodiak single-prop aircraft, used by many church missions because of its versatility and short runway performance.

It's also sold to government agencies and nonprofits around the world.

After starting in 1998 with less than 15 employees, the privately held company now has nearly 200 workers worldwide.

The company's social mission includes using profits to donate approximately every 10th airplane produced to a not-for-profit humanitarian organization.

A press release noted Risch is the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

File photo.

Scott and Ken Atkins opening a shop devoted to servicing ‘muscle’ cars

Spokane brothers Ken and Scott Atkins have purchased the former Midas Muffler shop at 10415 E. Sprague, in Spokane Valley.

They're starting a new automotive service center called Quantum Mechanics,

They'll cover the waterfront, doing the full variety of vehicle service but they'll also focus especially on high-performance muscle cars, Scott Atkins said.

“Those muscle cars are what we grew up working on,” he said. “We will make that a specialty,” Atkins said.

The Atkins paid $270,000 for the 5,100-square-foot building. They expect to open in July.

The property owner was Harborco LLC. Mike King of NAI Black represented Atkins; Sam Morse of Cantu Commercial represented Harborco

Saad’s Shoe Repair leaves NorthTown Mall, relocates to nearby office building

Saad’s Shoe Repair, one of the first businesses to move into the NorthTown Mall, is moving out.

Current owner Larry Alfano said he's relocating the shoe business to the nearby Northtown Office Building at 4407 N. Division St.

Saad's has been in the mall since it opened its doors in 1956.

He said the move will be more convenient for store employees and customers. It's prompted by major renovations being planned by the mall owners.

“We’ll have more and easier parking in the new space. And since we’ll leave the mall, we won’t need to stay open until 9 p.m.,” he said.

He took over the business in 1985 from the Saad family. The new store will open July 1.

“I’m a little scared. We had to close our downtown store last year due to the deaths of two employees. Now we’re moving from a spot we’ve been in for decades,” he said.

“But I think it will work out,” he added.

Up to speed: AT&T unleashes 4G LTE network in Spokane County

AT&T announced it has turned on a 4G LTE network for the Spokane area.

A spokesman for AT&T said the company T&T made nearly 50 wireless network upgrades in Spokane last year that included activating new cell sites, adding capacity, and upgrading cell sites to provide fast 4G LTE mobile Internet speeds. So if that is something important to you and your cell phone, congratulations. You're now up to speed.

First phase of Kendall Yards Centennial Trail work starts Monday

The anticipated start of construction of the new Kendall Yards segment of the Centennial Trail started today, according to the Kendall Yards Facebook page.

This is part of the Greenstone company's commitment to make the mixed-use near-downtown development a fully integrated part of the riverbank on the north side of the Spokane River.

Phase one of the work goes from under the Monroe Street Bridge to the Osprey Nest Plaza, just west of Central Food.

The embedded video here was shot with Jim Frank, head of Greenstone.

Why do some people hear the ‘Mosquito’ devices and older folks don’t?

On Sunday the SR ran a story on the plans by area downtown building managers to turn off, during Hoopfest, the “Mosquito” devices that were installed in the past year to deter loitering by young people.

If you care to dive a little deeper, here's a link to an overview summary of how those devices work. What makes them annoying to some, mostly younger people?

It's all about the hairs of one's inner ears.

Two job fairs this month for those looking to land a job at Liberty Lake sales office

Vivint Inc., a Provo-based home automation company, will hold two job fairs later this month as a way to identify workers for a new Liberty Lake call center office.

Today's SR story summarizes the announcement of the company's decision to add an office here.

The job fairs are at the Liberty Lake location, 22425 E. Appleway. They will be June 20 and June 25.

NOTE: An occasional web banner ad for Vivint may appear on this page from time to time. There has been no consideration by SR employees  to place that specific ad on the same page as a story about the company. 

New rental dining-parting venue, Fan Suite, opens on RPS third level

Downtown retail alert:  River Park Square announced Fan Suite, a rental meeting and entertainment venue, is opening on the mall's third floor.

It's taking about 1,000 square feet next to Nordstrom.

The location has three flat-screen TVs in a family living room setting, with seating for about 25, a release said.

Rentals can be arranged through any RPS food business or food court tenant, according to the media release.

Rental fees run $80 for four hours.

RPS is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

Where will the GU tennis and golf center be built? Due east of The Academy

Earlier in May The SR published an item about Gonzaga University beginning plans to build a $6 million tennis-golf center on the east edge of the Spokane campus. The story didn't provide a good map.

This photo, from Google Maps, will help locate where the center will go. It's expected to be built by late October of this year. The listed address for the project is 1220 N. Superior. But going by a map, that address doesn't show you where it will be.

The building marked by the Red “A” flag is the privately owned Academy senior center. The open field directly to the right (east) of the Academy is the general area of the 72,000-square-feet project, according to GU officials.

That open field, trapezoidal in shape, was purchased by Gonzaga in the past few years.

Mission Park's tennis courts are visible due north of the proposed site.

STCU, six other area firms win Agora Awards for business excellence

Seven Spokane area businesses or nonprofits won Agora awards Wednesday, an annual excellence in business designation presented by Greater Spokane Incorporated.

They winners and categories were:

  •  Two Wheel Transit (small business)
  •  Arbor Crest Wine Cellars (medium business)
  •  STCU (large business)
  •  Spokane H.O.P.E. School (small nonprofit);  
  •  Christ Clinic/Christ Kitchen (large nonprofit)
  •  Rosauers (community service award)
  •  VEBA Service Group LLC (entrepreneurial spirit award)

Roundy’s ready to retire, closing their motorcycle-watercraft store this week

Pete and Merline Roundy, who've operated a motorcycle all-terrain vehicle shop in north Spokane for more than 35 years, will close their store on Saturday.

The Roundys, both 77, opened their first Roundy's Kawasaki shop in 1976.  Within the past year the couple has decided it's time to retire.

“We’re doing this with mixed emotions,” Pete Roundy said. “We’ve had a good time, and I think we’ve maintained a good reputation in the community.”

Their original shop was at 8029 N. Division St. They changed the name in recent years to Roundy’s, ending the affiliation with Kawasaki.

In 2005, the Roundys moved the business to the current store, at 11008 N. Newport Hwy.

“It hasn’t been that easy to keep going the past three or four years,” Pete Roundy added. “It’s not been ideal for recreational items. But we hung in there, even when it wasn’t that easy.”

The shop and service center is being leased to Mead School District, who will use the building as a STEM center.

Spokane creator of Keyboard Cat approves a plush toy version of Fatso

Oh lord, Charlie Schmidt! You had to sell out, didn't you?

Schmidt is the Spokane graphic artist behind Fatso, the web meme cat of “Keyboard Cat” fame.

Today, Fatso, who's in feline heaven, must be rolling angrily in his catnip.

Sadly, Schmidt allowed a toy company to make a plush animatronic toy version of the cat. Really, and for only $34.99.

I suppose it could be worse; like perhaps, Keyboard Cat Litter..

Greencupboards CEO Josh Neblett visits Power Lunch tomorrow, makes his pitch

CNBC's Power Lunch will feature Josh Neblett, CEO and co-founder of Spokane green-retailer GreenCupboards on Wednesday (June 5) from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the network's Power Pitch program.

In the segment, the hosts give Neblett 60 seconds to  “power” pitch his e-commerce start-up.

After the pitch Neblett takes questions from a trio of inquisitors. The panel quizzing him includes CNBC host Julia Boorstin, BuzzFeed COO Jon Steinberg and Norwest Venture Parnters' Josh Goldman.

In advance of the broadcast, CNBC has uploaded Neblett’s 60 second GreenCupboards Power Pitch to You can see it here and let us know what you think of the pitch by voting if you're “in” or “out.”

Comcast sets date for the final switch, encrypting limited basic channels

Starting July 30, all Spokane cable TV subscribers getting Comcast’s limited basic channels will need free equipment to unscramble the signals.

Many of the roughly 8,000 Spokane subscribers getting the lower-priced channels already have digital-converter boxes that unscramble those signals, said Comcast Spokane General Manager Ken Watts. Many acquired the equipment earlier this year when Comcast switched those formerly analog channels to digital.

The switch on July 30 is to make all those remaining limited channels encrypted. The limited tier of channels include local broadcast stations, government channels, education channels, some Spanish programming and the Hallmark Channel.

Current cable TV subscribers can get two adapters free of charge for two years. After that, customers will be charged “market pricing” for the devices. Limited-basic subscribers who sign up after Aug. 1 may have to pay a monthly fee for the converter.

“May” is the appropriate word; Comcast officials have not set a clear plan for whether or not new subscribers after July 31 will face a monthly fee for the converter box.

A link for common questions and answers, provided by Comcast, can be found here.

Encryption also helps Comcast cut off cable pirates, customers who get cable channels without paying for them, Watts said. He had no idea how many people are in that category.

Cable subscribers with a recently made digital TV equipped with a QAM tuner will also need to switch to a descrambler box, said Watts. A QAM tuner, built into some TVs, allowed direct reception of cable channels without the use of a set-top box.

The QAM-tuner group subscribing to the limited set of channels is also small, Watts said.

Spokane is the first Comcast market in Washington state going through the final encryption process, said spokesman Walt Neary.

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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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