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Posts tagged: Spokane Valley

Moody’s upgrades Spokane Valley bond rating

Moody’s Investor Services has upgraded the city of Spokane Valley’s bond rating to Aa3.

“The upgrade … reflects the city's low debt burden, sizeable tax base which is expected to expand into the medium-term, and healthy financial performance, which is maintained through strong management practices,” Moody’s said in announcing the April 9 upgrade while also praising the Valley’s healthy financial reserves.

The Aa3 category is used by the rating company to reflect general obligation bonds it considers “high quality” with “very low credit risk.”

Moody’s noted that the city’s rating could continue to climb if its tax base keeps growing and if its structurally balanced operations are maintained. Conversely, the rating could slip if the tax base deteriorates or if the city’s financial reserves significantly shrink.

The upgraded rating affects about $7.4 million in existing debt from the city's last bond issue, which was in 2003.

As a newer city, the Valley’s previous bond rating was A1, which Moody’s uses to reflect “upper-medium grade” investments. The company rates risk based on a scale ranging from its top rating of Aaa to C at the lowest level.

Valley shoppers alert: Value Village relocating to new, larger space

Savers Inc., based in Bellevue, will move the current Value Village in Spokane Valley later this year into the building that once housed the Old Country Buffet.

Currently at 13112 E. Sprague Ave., the discount and vintage-item retail store will reopen after remodeling is completed at 12205 E. Sprague Ave., at the corner of Pines Road.

A company spokesman said the opening will be “between Aug. 1 and the end of September.”

In January 2012 the Valley Old Country Gourmet estaurant closed its doors following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Value Village Inc. is a subsidiary of privately held Savers Inc. The company operates more than 220 Value Village locations in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Last call center workers once tied to ICT Group will lose their jobs in May

The last vestige of ICT Group's once-massive call center operation is closing this spring.

Sykes Enterprises, which acquired ICT Group in 2010, has announced its laying off its last 148 Spokane Valley call center workers in late May.

At one time, ICT Group had more than 1,200 workers handling calls at the University City Mall.

After acquiring ICT Group, Sykes began making adjustments to the Spokane workforce.

In 2012, Sykes laid off about 170 workers. At that point the work group had moved out of the U-City buildings.

Sykes Enterprises spokeswoman Andrea Burnett Thomas said the decision is part of ongoing business practices, including helping clients find the right level of effective support services. Those Spokane Valley jobs are not being transferred to another city, Thomas said.

Sykes has more than 80 call centers in more than 20 countries, said Thomas.

Most of its clients are in telecommunications, financial services and tech services.

Thomas said she could not divulge details of severance packages for the Spokane Valley workers. They will be invited, she added, to apply for at-home call service contracts. Like many other call center companies, Sykes uses home-based workers who provide the same inbound or outbound calls as office workers do.

Survival rumors for NorthTown Mall Wholesale Sports not true, manager says

March 10 seems to be a firm closing date for the two area equipment retailer Wholesale Sports locations in Spokane and in Coeur d'Alene.

An OfficeHours post last month clarified and summarized the strange set of facts behind the decision. In brief, the Canadian owner of 14 U.S. Wholesales Sports locations recently sold them to two U.S. firms. One firm, Alama Group, acquired four of the 14 and plans to close them all.  Two of those four are the ones we have here.

Rumors erupted recently that someone might find a way to resurrect or extend the stay of Wholesale Sports at NorthTown Mall. 

A store manager said don't trust the rumors. “We will close on March 10. That is our last working day,” the manager said.

State’s grape harvest this year to hit a record 190,000 tons, topping 2010 mark

The newsy part of last Saturday's business story on Spokane Industries was the report of a record harvest for grapes in Washington state.

According to Erica Waliser of the Washington State Wine Commission, 2012 will break the harvest record: 190,000 tons of grapes will be harvested, topping 2010's 160,000 tons.

The PDF at the bottom of the page is the commission's well-written economic impact summary for our wine industry. Page 24 has numbers on the volume of wine produced.

If you didn't see the Saturday story about Spokane Industries, here's the link and the top five graphs:

It’s a banner year for winemakers and wine drinkers: The Washington State Wine Commission says 2012 will be the largest grape crush ever, with 190,000 tons of grapes harvested.

A big beneficiary of that boom is Spokane Valley manufacturer Spokane Industries.

Once each workday, the privately owned company sends one of its custom-made stainless steel wine vessels out the door to a winery in Central or Western Washington.

These aren’t ordinary steel tanks: They’re roughly 15 feet across and 28 feet high. They hold about 32,000 gallons and weigh, on average, almost 9,000 pounds.

Company President Greg Tenold said Spokane Industries expects even more orders for the tanks, based on the booming regional wine industry.

“We’ve been fortunate. We are the leader servicing the winemaking industry,” he said.


Documents:

New Spokane Valley Walmart store will open on Oct. 17

Ready for a little more Walmart?

Wal-Mart Stores will open its second Spokane Valley location on Oct. 17. That's next Wednesday.

The new store, on East Sprague, is east west of the Costco store on Sprague.

It plans to have roughly 350 full- and part-time workers, according to a company news release.
The average wage for full-time hourly workers is $13 per hour,  the company said.

It will have 148,000 square feet of space and will be open 24 hours a day.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. will open the store, followed by checks handed out to a number of local groups, including Greater Spokane Meals on Wheels and Spokane Valley Partners.

BNBuilders moves into its larger offices in Spokane Valley

BNBuilders Inc. is opening a larger office at 15920 E. Indiana Ave., Suite 202, in Spokane Valley. It will serve clients throughout Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.

BNBuilders offers preconstruction and construction services for complex, management-intensive projects. Those include ground-up construction and tenant improvements for higher education, health care, biotechnology, retail, mixed-use and corporate/commercial.

Before the relocation, the Seattle-headquartered construction firm had its offices in downtown Spokane. The new space provides more room for expansion, said a comany press release.

Among other awards, BNBuilders was recognized as one of Engineering News Record’s (ENR) Top 100 Green Contractors.

BNBuilders is working on the Washington State University campus in Pullman, completing the $22 million Duncan Dunn & Community Halls Renovation.

Joe Bash, a principal in the company, will head the office. Co-founders are Brad Bastian and Jeff Nielsen.

Photo: By Cheryl Click, BNBuilders

STCU’s Valley branch offers Valley’s first auto charging station

Spokane Valley's first 240-volt charging station for electric cars.

Spokane Teachers Credit Union gets into the game, announcing its new South Valley location will feature an electric car charging station.

The Valley branch, at 13211 E. 32nd, will offer a  240-volt charging station for electric cars. It's called the first charging station in Spokane Valley.

That station goes live on Monday Dec. 12.

A release from STCU notes the charge station, paired with two parking spaces reserved for electric cars or chargeable hybrids, is one of a number of green features in the new branch. Others include:

  • Panels that at times will generate a surplus of power.
  • A rooftop and parking lot that reflect heat, rather than absorbing it.
  • A shower for employees who walk or pedal to work. (It's also situated on a bus route.)
  • Lights and a heating system that are highly energy efficient.
  • A no-smoking policy that includes the parking lot.

Spokane's Nystrom+Olson Architecture designed the 3,496-square-foot branch to meet U.S. Green Building Council standards for LEED Gold certification for sustainable building and development practices.

Walmart announces it will finally break ground on new E. Sprague store

We asked recently when Walmart would get around to breaking ground on a new store in Spokane Valley.

In March 2010 the company first announced it had plans for the store, west of the Costco at 5200 E. Sprague.  Our first story said: 

Walmart says it will square off with Costco Wholesale Corp. in the Spokane Valley.
The Bentonville, Ark., retail behemoth announced Thursday it will build a 151,000-square-foot retail center on a parcel of land due west of Costco’s store at 5601 E. Sprague Ave.
Jennifer Spall, the Bentonville company's director of public affairs and government relations, said: “Walmart plans to break ground this November on its new full-service store in Spokane Valley. A specific ground-breaking date has not yet been set.  Construction will be completed approximately 12 to 14 months after ground-breaking.”

Honeywell doubling the capacity for copper and tin at Spokane Valley site

Honeywell Inc. announced this week it's doubling the refining and casting capacity for high-purity copper and tin at its Spokane Valley production center.

The increase in capacity is a response to growing demand in the semiconductor industry, a Honeywell press release said.
 
Demand for copper material has grown, in particular for high-purity copper used in some semiconductors.
 
Memory manufacturers are also pushing demand as they switch from aluminum to copper.  Copper and tin for advanced chip packaging applications is also on the upswing, said the company.
 
The first phase of expansion will be complete in the first quarter of next year, while the second phase is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.
 
Spokesman Peter Dalpe noted the expansion is solely in capacity; no additional workers are being added.  The plant, at Euclid and Sullivan Road, already is being run full-time, Dalpe said.
 
In 2010 the plant had about 300 workers.

Focused Fitness expanding, will add a gym to its new office in Spokane Valley


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A Spokane Valley childhood health and fitness publisher, Focused Fitness, is expanding its operations and will move into a 18,000-square-foot building next spring.

That new building will include offices and a 4,200-square-foot gym where staff can give hands-on training for health educators using its fitness tools.

Started 10 years ago by owners Karen Cowan and Ron Malm, the company develops and produces youth-focused health and fitness materials used by school districts and youth centers.

The new building and gym will allow staff workers to provide training to customers using the Focused Fitness programs. The company will also offer open-enrollment sessions to give potential customers a chance to examine program options first-hand.

For several years the firm has worked from its office at 2406 S. Dishman Mica Road.

The new building, expected to be ready in March 2012, is down the street at 2426 S. Dishman Mica Road. The two-story, $1.7 million facility is being built by F2 Enterprises, a property company also owned by Cowan and Malm.

STCU opens a new Valley branch

Spokane Teachers Credit Union just broke ground for its 15th area branch, near University High School.

The new branch, at 13211 E. 32nd, will be open later this year, according to a press release.

It will be the second STCU branch in Spokane Valley.

Baker Construction & Development is contractor for the 3,496-square-foot branch, which is designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council standards for LEED Gold certification for sustainable building and development practices.

Designed by Nystrom+Olson Architecture, the building will have craftsman-style elements.

The release noted Spokane Valley's population of 91,836 is anticipated to grow by roughly 16,000 in the next 20 years.

Numerica Credit Union main office named after Dennis Cutter

The retirement party last week for Numerica Credit Union President & CEO Dennis Cutter came with an additional bit of flattery.

During the event, a sign on the credit union headquarters building was revealed. It said: Dennis A. Cutter Administration Building.

Cutter is completing 40 years of working for Numerica, nearly all of them as CEO. The party was attended by roughly 150 past and present employees, and guests.

Board President Dave Shriver presented the unveiling by saying, “It’s fitting that this building, with its sturdy foundation, be named after the person who was the foundation of Numerica’s success over the last 40 years.”

“I never would have imagined this. I had no idea. I’m speechless,” Cutter said. 

The building and credit union main office is at 10618 E. Sprague in Spokane Valley.

Photo of Dennis Cutter, courtesy of Numerica Credit Union.

How soon is Wal-Mart building its newest Spokane Valley store?

About a year ago the SR published news that Wal-Mart would put another new store in Spokane Valley, about six blocks east of the Costco, about 5601 E. Sprague.

There hasn't been a lot of progress so far on that project, which we wrote about first here. Why not?

We tracked down Wal-Mart's regional contacts to find out when the project will get going. Here's the reply:

  • Construction will start in late summer or early fall. Think August or September.
  • It will take 12 to 14 months after groundbreaking before the new Wal-Mart opens. 
  • A Spokane Valley hiring center will be set up roughly 90 days before the doors open. That hiring office will have an online component for job applicants. It's here.  

The store will include a garden center with outside sales area covering about 4,700 square feet (very large). 

It is slated to include an indoor pharmacy, a full-service grocery and a Subway sandwich store inside.

When finished, it will be about 155,000 square feet.

ReliOn’s fuel cell product takes a third at CTIA Wireless 2011

Spokane Valley's ReliOn won a third prize in this year's CTIA Wireless E-Tech awards competition, held in Orlando.

The company's new E-2500 Fuel Cell System came in third in the “green telecom and smart energy solutions category. The winner in that category is the What You See is Photovoltaic Surface, by WYSIPS LLC. Second place went to the LilyPad developed by Wireless NRG, LL.

Media and analysts judged the entries on innovation, functionality, importance, implementation and overall “wow” factor. The entries are on view at www.ctiashow.com/awards.

The E-2500 is marketed toward telecom companies and government users.

The top two green telecom winners both offered innovative physical surface-based systems that convert solar or existing light to energy. The full green telecom category can be viewed here.

St. Luke’s Rehab clinic relocates its Spokane Valley office


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St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute has moved it Spokane Valley rehab clinic to a new facility at 9119 E. Broadway.

Previously at 1414 N. Houk, the outpatient facility will help meet a growing demand for training and rehabilitation, especially for injured workers.
 
David Cox, the manager of the Valley clinic, said in a press release: “There was an unmet need for occupational therapy services to rehabilitate injured workers who work or live in Spokane Valley. St. Luke’s expanded facilities to better serve our community.” 

Spokane Valley Yoke’s closing due to lease snafu


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Spokane Valley food retailer Yoke’s Fresh Market plans to close its supermarket at Sprague and Progress because it’s been unable to renew the property lease.

In an announcement Monday, company CEO John Bole said no exact closing date has been determined.
Yoke’s has operated the store since 1985, at 15111 E. Sprague.

Bole said Yoke’s will keep the store open to sell down inventory and make an easier transition of staff and equipment to its other Spokane stores.

The current property lease is set to expire Dec. 31.

Something wicker this way comes (to Spokane Valley)

Yo crafters and hobby types. News of major proportion just in:  Mega hobby and craft center chain, Hobby Lobby, will move into the empty G.I. Joe’s store in Spokane Valley. It’s expecting to open the new store in August.

The new Spokane Valley store will be at 13902 E. Indiana, and take up 45,000 square feet of floor space. The Oklahama City-based chain has more than 450 stores across the country; the nearest one so far has been in Boise.

This is a very large chain. Vincent Palmer, a company director of customer services, said it’s sort of fair to say Hobby Lobby is the “supersized” version of Michaels, another known chain of crafts stores. The big difference, he said, is that Hobby Lobby has more home-focused items, such as fabrics, picture frames and decorating accessories.

It also has operations in China, Hong Kong and the Phillipines.

Here’s how to get to Valley businesses

A major road construction project in Spokane Valley will shut down the busy intersection of Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road for what’s expected to be three weeks, beginning July 19.

Traffic will be re-routed on Broadway, Conklin, Fourth and Adams.

It’ll be more difficult to get to businesses in the construction zone, but they will be open. If you want to get to the Walgreens on the southeast corner, for example, you’ll have to approach by Sullivan from the south or Sprague from the east. You won’t be able to cross the intersection. Just keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.

Nordstrom Rack likes the Spokane Valley, leaves NorthTown Mall

Nordstrom Rack is moving east, to be closer to the highway and closer to North Idaho. Those are the reasons given by the Seattle-based clothing retailer for leaving the NorthTown Mall and taking up a 30,000-square-foot space in the Spokane Valley Plaza.

It expects the Rack, Valley version, will open in October. It’s taking space last used by Linens ‘n Things, in a triplex flanked by Sportsman’s Warehouse and Old Navy, west of the Spokane Valley Mall.

The Rack is the off-price division of Nordstrom that offers merchandise from other stores at significant discounts.

The new store will offer more retail space and is closer to Interstate 90, offering easier access for more customers along the Spokane-Idaho corridor, a Nordstrom press release noted

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