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Tue., Jan. 24, 2012

Old Country Buffets close in Spokane area

The last two Old Country Buffet restaurants in Spokane County have closed as part of the company’s Chapter 11 reorganization.

Parent firm Buffets Inc. filed the bankruptcy last week in Delaware, announcing it would close 81 underperforming restaurants. Those closed restaurants are roughly 16 percent of the 500 it operates nationally.

The local locations were 12205 E. Sprague Ave., at the corner of Pines Road and Sprague, in Spokane Valley; and 5504 N. Division St. in Spokane. Both closed Thursday, said Melissa Sheer, a company spokeswoman.

The Spokane Valley restaurant had roughly 9,600 square feet on the northeast corner of the Opportunity Shopping Center. It is next door to vacant retail space last used by Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Together, those adjoining open retail spots provide about 25,000 square feet, said Carl Guenzel, of Kiemle & Hagood, which represents property owner Pac Trust of Portland.

Tom Sowa

Pullman manufacturer makes Fortune list

Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories placed 97th on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 best companies to work for.

Other Northwest firms cited were REI at eighth, Nordstrom at 61st and Starbucks at 73rd. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., topped the best-company list.

Privately held Schweitzer, which makes electric utility networking equipment, was also saluted for being one of the fastest-growing companies on the list. SEL has 27 percent job growth. Only four companies on the top 100 list have a faster job-growth rate, based on the numbers used by Fortune.

The biggest job-gainer is, an online shoe and apparel retailer, reporting a 70 percent job gain.

Tom Sowa

Macy’s sues Martha Stewart Living

NEW YORK — Macy’s Inc. has sued Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. in a bid to block a licensing deal between the housewares company and J.C. Penney Co.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court. Macy’s claims Martha Stewart Living’s deal with J.C. Penney violates the terms of an exclusive pact Macy’s has to sell Martha Stewart Living products at its stores, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and other publications.

The complaint comes after Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney acquired a 16.6 percent stake in Martha Stewart Living and announced plans last month to open Martha Stewart shops inside most of its stores, beginning next year. The deal announced last month was seen as part of J.C. Penney’s efforts to re-image itself under its new CEO Ron Johnson, a former Apple Inc. executive.

Cincinnati-based Macy’s has asked the court for a preliminary injunction to block the deal.

Associated Press


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