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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sales Tax Figures Show Growing Appetite For Dining Out In Spokane

By Frank Bartel The Spokesman-Revie

In Spokane, eating out instead of buying groceries is mushrooming in popularity, it appears.

Sales tax figures released by the Washington State Department of Revenue show restaurant receipts up sharply.

On the other hand, grocery sales, adjusted for inflation, slipped 3 to 4 percent, according to data for the third quarter of last year. Fourth-quarter statistics won’t be available for some time.

The spurt all took place at eating and drinking spots within the city limits, where receipts climbed from $50 million to $55 million. In areas of the county outside the city limits, eating and drinking revenues remained flat.

Overall, the dollar value of retail trade in the metropolitan Spokane market edged up 2.3 percent - roughly equal to inflation - which is another way of saying sales were flat.

Department store sales are down slightly in dollar volume, translating into a drop of a few percentage points on an adjusted basis. Variety store sales rose throughout the city and county. Apparel sales continue to stagnate.

Car dealers and service stations are gravitating toward the outskirts, as reflected by sagging automotive sales in the city and rising volume in the county.

Consultant pay scale findings questioned

Management consulting, reported to be a leading growth industry in this era of downsizing, cutbacks and contracting out, can be mighty lucrative, reports a new study.

A survey by New Hampshire-based Kennedy Information’s Research Group, which collects data on consultants, shows partners in consulting firms charged more than $270 an hour last year. An average partner sent out bills totaling $310,000.

But in this region, the president of the Inland Northwest Society of Consulting Professionals questions results of the Kennedy study.

“I’d like to know with whom they talked,” responds Bill Olson, founder of Spokane-based Effective Management Systems Corp. “I’d guess those surveyed were the really big prestigious consulting firms - national and international.

“I’m sure there are super-wonderful consultants out there with a level of expertise that has never existed anywhere around here. But they are way out at the tip of the bell curve.

“Suffice it to say, most consultants around here are not associated with those big firms.

“I don’t know what the range is here for consultants who charge by the hour. But probably, from a little sole practitioner to someone with sharpened expertise, you might be looking at something between $30 and $150 an hour.

“Those just entering the field and getting their feet wet as consultants occupy the low end of the scale until they gain experience and proven expertise.”

Olson prefers to charge by the job instead of by the hour. “When the meter is running, everybody - client and consultant - is looking at the meter,” he says. “I think we ought to be looking at results.

“In this town, you’d better deliver results, or you won’t have any clients,” says Olson, founding president of the region’s professional society, “and that’s as it should be.

“But that’s not to say there aren’t charlatans,” Olson adds.

“Every CEO in this city has gotten a bad impression of someone calling themselves a consultant. Every profession needs a code of ethics and a set of standards.”

Elders to address BIG gathering

U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders is scheduled to keynote a regional training conference next month in Spokane for Blacks in Government (BIG).

The BIG get-together is expected to draw up to 1,000 African Americans from a five-state area, according to officials of Eastern Washington University’s Black Education Program, a supporter of the conclave.

General sessions, workshops, exhibits and receptions will be held at the Spokane Convention Center and the Ridpath Hotel.

The three-day event opens May 21. For information or to register, call (509) 483-6589, or toll free (888) 483-6651.

Hole-in-one insurance scams spark warning

Washington Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn is warning area golf clubs and other tournament sponsors to beware of hole-in-one insurance scams.

The commissioner said a Las Vegas operation calling itself DSD Inc. offers to cover for a few hundred bucks the cost of prizes - from sports cars to hard cash - for any tournament player scoring a hole in one.

“If nobody scores a hole in one, the company simply pockets the premium,” Senn says. “If somebody does score a hole in one, the company has refused to pay off the prize, leaving the tournament sponsors holding the bag.”

Commissioner Senn said the state of Nevada is taking action against DSD, which is not an authorized insurance carrier in either Nevada or Washington. The firm has ignored a cease-and-desist order, according to the commissioner, and Nevada is in court trying to shut down the operation.

Senn suggested that golf clubs or tournament sponsors with questions about “hole-in-one insurance” call her agency’s toll-free Consumer Hot Line at 800-562-6900.

, DataTimes MEMO: Associate Editor Frank Bartel writes a notes column each Wednesday. If you have business items of regional interest for future columns, call 459-5467 or fax 459-5482.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Frank Bartel The Spokesman-Review

Associate Editor Frank Bartel writes a notes column each Wednesday. If you have business items of regional interest for future columns, call 459-5467 or fax 459-5482.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Frank Bartel The Spokesman-Review

Wordcount: 840
Tags: business, column

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