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Archive for June, 2010

Wheaton Way/303 commercial corridor vacancy rate at 23 percent

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Good morning, bloggers,

I counted up the vacancies on the Wheaton Way/Highway 303 commercial corridor and arrived at a 23 percent vacancy rate, very high, of course. I counted 38 total vacancies in a total of 166 commercial spaces. Look for my story in coming days. It will include some advice from business owners who are hanging on.

Rachel Pritchett
475-3783


Wednesday stocks in narrow range after weak jobs report

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Dow Jones Industrial Average at 9,876 this morning, up six points.

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market was ending a painful second quarter quietly, holding onto small gains after another disappointing report on the jobs market.
Moves were modest Wednesday afternoon as financial stocks rose in response to a change in the banking overhaul bill that removed $19 billion in proposed taxes on banks. A report on manufacturing in the Midwest barely topped expectations but also gave stocks some support.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 31 points, a day after falling 268. The other major indexes were also slightly higher.
Payroll company ADP said private employers added just 13,000 jobs in June. That’s well short of the forecast of 60,000 from economists polled by Thomson Reuters.
The weaker-than-expected jobs report is the latest in a long string of disappointing economic data that has contributed to the market’s turbulent second-quarter performance. Heading into the final day of June, the Dow was down 9.1 percent for the three-month period. Broader indexes were down 11 percent.
Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of U.S. equity research at Standard & Poor’s, said investors are nervous.
“Basically it’s wait and see,” Stovall said. Investors are cautious leading into Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department and upcoming earnings season, which kicks off in a couple of weeks. That has led them to sell shares, particularly in the last few days, he said.
The ADP report is often seen as a precursor to the Labor Department big monthly employment report. ADP’s data only includes jobs created by private companies so it can vary widely from the Labor Department data, which also includes government jobs.
Friday’s government report is expected to show employers cut a total of 110,000 jobs in June. However, economists predict the net loss of jobs is tied primarily to the government laying off temporary workers that were hired to work on the 2010 census.
But after the weak report from ADP, investors are concerned about the number of jobs private employers have added this month. May’s employment report showed private employers were hiring few workers.
Companies have been slow to add new jobs coming out of the recession. Consumer confidence has fallen and spending has not picked up as investors had hoped because there are still so many people out of work.
“We didn’t have the exit velocity coming out of the recession to right the ship,” a managing partner at investment bank Westwood Capital. “The question now is what’s the chance of a double-dip (recession) versus very slow growth.”
The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, which measures midwestern manufacturing activity, fell to 59.1 in June, from 59.7 last month. That drop was just above the 59 forecast by economists. The report comes a day before the Institute for Supply Management releases its report on June manufacturing activity nationwide.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow fell 30.76, or 0.3 percent, to 9,901.06. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5.75, or 0.6 percent, to 1,046.99, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 16.40, or 0.8 percent, to 2,151.58.
About three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 395.1 million shares.
Financial shares were helping the market after Democrats dropped a proposal in the financial regulation overhaul bill that would have levied $19 billion in taxes on large banks and hedge funds. That money will instead come from money generated by the bank bailout program launched during the credit crisis in late 2008.
Citigroup Inc. rose 10 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $3.83. Wells Fargo & Co. added 26 cents to $26.19, while KeyCorp rose 20 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $8.01.
Shares of European financial companies also got a boost after the European Central bank said European banks did not borrow as much through a three-month refinancing program as expected. That reassures investors that banks in Europe might not be hurting as bad from rising sovereign debt in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal.
However, some of the gains in major European indexes were erased after the disappointing U.S. jobs report. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX index gained 0.1 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.3 percent.
Stocks have been pummeled for much of the second quarter by fears that mounting deficits in Europe would upend a recovery on that continent and eventually in other countries including the U.S.
The euro, used by 16 European Union members, has become a proxy for confidence in the continent’s economic recovery. It has dropped about 9 percent during the second quarter, but was up only slightly Wednesday at $1.2286.
As investors pulled out of stocks and fled the euro throughout the quarter, U.S. Treasurys and gold were big beneficiaries. The perceived safety of the two helped push bond and gold prices higher.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, went below 3 percent for the first time in more than a year on Tuesday, falling to 2.95 percent. It budged off that low Wednesday, rising to 2.99 percent.
Gold rose $2.60 to $1,245.00 an ounce, and is up nearly 12 percent for the quarter.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 7.28, or 1.2 percent, to 623.24.


A port in every corner of Kitsap

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

By Rachel Pritchett

With 12 port districts, Kitsap County earns the title of having more than any other county in Washington. Some are tiny, with little activity. The Port of Bremerton, with two marinas, an airport and an industrial park, is by far the largest. At times, there has been discussion to consolidate Kitsap’s ports, but nothing is occurring now. In all, Washington state has 75 port districts. Here are Kitsap’s:
Bremerton
Brownsville
Eglon
Illahee
Indianola
Keyport
Kingston
Manchester
Poulsbo
Silverdale
Tracyton
Waterman
— Source: Washington Public Ports Association


Tuesday stocks skid on renewed fears of global slowdown

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Dow’s down 237 points this morning, landing at 9,901.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks and interest rates tumbled Tuesday after signs of slowing economies around the world spooked traders.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell about 270 points in afternoon trading to drop below 10,000 for the first time since June 10. The Dow and other major indexes each lost more than 2 percent.
Stocks began the day by following Asian and European markets lower. Asian markets fell after an index that forecasts economic activity for China was revised lower. And then European indexes fell sharply after Greek workers walked off the job to protest steep budget cuts.
Then, shortly after U.S. trading began, the market was hit with news that consumer confidence fell sharply this month because of worries about jobs and the overall economy. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell to 52.9 from a revised 62.7 in May. It was the steepest drop since February and economists polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast only a modest dip.
Interest rates fell in the bond market after investors sought the safety of Treasurys. The yield on the 10-year note dropped to as low as 2.97 percent, the first time it has fallen below 3 percent since April 2009. The yield, which is used as a benchmark for many consumer loans and mortgages, bounced off its low to 2.98 percent but was still down from 3.03 percent Monday.
Falling yields are a sign that investors are willing to give up potential gains in stocks for more certain, but smaller profits in bonds.
Companies have indicated that business is getting better, yet there are few signs they are ready to hire in big numbers. The Labor Department’s monthly employment report due Friday is expected to show the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point to 9.8 percent in June.
Industrial stocks suffered some of the steepest drops on fears that a stalled global rebound will cut demand. Aircraft maker Boeing Co. led the Dow lower with a drop of 5.5 percent. Caterpillar Inc., the maker of construction and mining equipment, lost 4.9 percent. Shares of coal producers pulled energy stocks lower on worries about a slowdown.
Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New York, said investors are wrestling with two opposing ideas of where the economy is headed. He said the more likely case is that the recovery continues and corporate earnings growth make stocks look cheap right now. The darker scenario is that government budget cuts, the end of fiscal stimulus, problems in Europe and a slowdown in China lead to a double-dip in the global economy.
Investors’ indecision and uneven economic reports have brought big swings to stocks since late April when debt problems in Greece began to pound world markets.
“The central issue that any investor faces today is fire or ice,” Zemsky said. “There’s no in-between. It’s either one or the other.”
In midafternoon trading, the Dow fell 270.33, or 2.7 percent, to 9,867.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 32.98, or 3.1 percent, to 1,041.59, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 77.04, or 3.5 percent, to 2,143.61.
Only about 230 stocks rose while about 2,790 stocks fell at the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 608 million shares, compared with 401 million shares traded at the same point Monday.
Crude oil fell $2.45 to $75.80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index rose 18.9 percent. The VIX is known as the market’s fear gauge because a rise signals traders are expecting more drops in stocks.
A report that found home prices rose in April didn’t help the market. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index 20-city home price index rose 0.8 percent between March and April. The gains, though, are likely being written off because April was the final month when buyers could receive a tax credit. Nearly all housing indicators got a boost from the credit, but have since signaled a slowdown.
Zemsky said there isn’t much until the start of corporate earnings reports in the next month that likely will be able to give investors solid answers about the direction of the economy. Until then, Friday’s June jobs report is the one standout. Even with a good report, investors might still be focused on earnings. The May jobs numbers were a disappointment because private employers hired only 41,000 workers.
“I don’t think Friday payrolls can do a lot to bring the market a whole lot higher if they’re good. But if they’re bad, it’s really ‘Look out below,”’ Zemsky said.
Worries about Europe again hit the market. The euro, the common currency used by 16 European nations, fell to $1.2191. The moves in the currency are seen as a measure of confidence in Europe’s economy following Greece’s near default and steep budget cuts around the continent to combat deficits. World markets have regularly dropped along with the euro in recent months.
Greek workers on Tuesday protested the cost-cutting the government is doing to reduce debt. The measures were a requirement for Greece to receive a bailout from other European Union members and the International Monetary Fund.
The new round of protests sparked renewed concerns about how well European countries will be able to stick to austerity plans. Investors have been worried for months that Europe’s economy would slow and hurt a global recovery.
“People are starting to see that this recovery, as it is, is going to take considerably longer than anybody had anticipated,” said Doreen Mogavero, president of brokerage Mogavero, Lee & Co. in New York.
Mogavero said the jobs report will be key to giving some indication of whether the recovery can hold up.
“That is the core of the recovery here. People have to feel they’re going to work. If they don’t they’re not going to spend money,” she said, noting that consumers are the biggest driver of the U.S. economy.
In other trading, Chinese markets fell after the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index for China was revised to 0.3 percent for April from 1.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government reported that export demand moderated and household spending dropped last month. Unemployment also rose unexpectedly, climbing for the third straight month.
Boeing fell $3.72, or 5.5 percent, to $63.58 and Caterpillar, also a Dow stock, fell $3.17, or 4.9 percent, to $61.23.
Coal company Peabody Energy Corp. fell $2.91, or 6.9 percent, to $39.58, while Massey Energy Co., also a mining company, fell $1.75, or 5.8 percent, to $28.45.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 22.07, or 3.4 percent, to 619.47.
The Shanghai composite index fell 4.3 percent to a 14-month low. Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 1.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 3.1 percent, Germany’s DAX index dropped 3.3 percent, and France’s CAC-40 fell 4 percent.


Proposal Surfaces for Bigger Commission

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

By Rachel Pritchett
rpritchett@kitsapsun.com
BREMERTON
A proposal by Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan to expand the number of port commissioners from three to five didn’t get far from the dock before Larry Stokes set out to sink it.
“I’m not in favor of this, period,” Commissioner Stokes said. “You’re talking about spending more money for voters.”
He estimated it would cost $70,000 to put the issue to voters, as well as the cost of supporting two more commissioners, paid $900 a month now, plus expenses.
But Mahan said increasing the number of commissioners would make it much more likely that big issues such as the building of the Bremerton Marina would get more fully discussed, with perhaps different decisions reached.
“I believe that had there been five commissioners involved in that discussion, there may have been a different outcome,” Mahan said last week.
He also said a five-member board would offer better representation to residents of outlying areas like Seabeck and Olalla. Now, he said, due to sheer numbers, residents in Bremerton and Port Orchard weigh heavier in election outcomes.
“I think that would be healthy,” Mahan said of more equal representation.
Having five members would make it easier for commissioners to comply with state open-meetings laws, Mahan said. Now, when two commissioners by chance run into each other at a coffee shop and discuss business, it’s conceivably an illegal meeting. With just three, even preliminary business has to be done during precious meeting time.
None of that sat well with Stokes, and the discussion of expanding the commission quickly morphed into an argument over the merits of the Bremerton Marina, which remains two-thirds empty.
“It’s losing money. It’s not working. It’s not full. It’s got too much tide and so on and so forth,” Stokes said.
Mahan countered that the marina would be an investment that in time would pay off.
Mahan said other ports in Washington are considering enlarging their commissions, too, for the same reasons.
But a check with the Washington Public Ports Association revealed that the vast majority of Washington’s 75 ports still have three commissioners. Only Seattle, Tacoma, Anacortes, Edmonds and Orcas Island have five. The Port of Everett, however, is considering going to five, and will put the issue to voters in November.
That’s what Mahan wants to do, but there will have to be quick action. He is suggesting that commissioners take up the matter in a study session
July 13, and then at an
Aug. 10 meeting, public
comment could be received and a resolution could possibly be passed. Aug. 10 is the Kitsap County auditor’s deadline to place issues on the Nov. 2 general-election ballot.
Whether Mahan has a second deciding vote on his side remains to be seen.
He asked the third port commissioner, Roger Zabinski, if he had any opinion on it.
“No, no, no … ah, no, nope,” Zabinski said quietly.
He could not be reached Monday.
If the resolution were passed, redrawing of the commissioner district boundaries could occur. It also might be possible that the two new commissioners could serve at large.
If voters approved a call to expand the commission in November, there would be three seats on the 2011 ballot: the two new seats and Mahan’s. He said Monday he has not yet decided whether he will run for re-election.
As for any added expense, Mahan said that is the cost of having adequate representation.
“I’ve never felt that good government is cheap,” he said.


A five-member Port of Bremerton commission?

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Bloggers,

Expanding the Port of Bremerton board of commissioners from three members to five members is an emerging topic sure to move quickly to center stage this summer.

Commission President Bill Mahan informally brought up the idea to his colleagues at a meeting last week. It goes under study next month. But the port commission would have get the proposal to the county auditor by Aug. 10 for it to make it on the Nov. 2 general-election ballot. That’s not much time. That conceivably could be followed by redistricting.

Mahan said he made the suggestion to foster better discussion on huge issues, and to make the commission work a little smoother. Having five commissioners also would allow residents in rural areas like Seabeck and Olalla to have as much say in their vote as the more numerous voters in cities like Bremerton and Port Orchard, he said.

Only a few port commissions in Washington have five members — it has to be either three or five. They include Seattle, Tacoma, Anacortes, Edmonds and Orcas Island. That’s out of 75 port districts in Washington.

The Port of Everett is considering expanding to 5.

See my story soon.

Rachel Pritchett
475-3783


Kitsap gas slips slightly lower

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Drivers,

It just never did make the $3 mark so far this summer and is in fact heading in the other direction. Today’s average price is $2.94, down 2 cents from a month ago. Gulf Coast impact, however?

Rachel Pritchett


Monday stocks rise as consumer spending bumps up

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Dow at 10, 157 this morning, up 13 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose Monday after cautious consumers bumped up spending last month and the Supreme Court blocked a government effort to get money from tobacco companies.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 50 points in midday trading. Broader indexes also rose. Treasury prices rose, sending interest rates lower, as overall concerns remained about the economy.
The government said consumer spending rose 0.2 percent last month, just above the 0.1 percent growth forecast by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.
Growth was slow, although personal income rose 0.4 percent. A bigger jump in income than spending means consumers are still unsure about their financial position and choosing to save their money. Weak spending could continue to hamper growth because consumer spending is the biggest driver of the economy.
The tepid recovery has led some leaders around the world to push for new spending to bolster growth. But more government spending would make it difficult to control deficits and could drive up borrowing costs if investors worrying about defaults demand higher interest rates.
The G20, a group of rich and developing nations including the U.S., agreed over the weekend that industrialized nations would halve deficits by 2013. But they didn’t resolve differences between those seeking more spending and those looking for cost cuts. Leaders said, however, that they wouldn’t pull government support too quickly. There are concerns that the sudden drop in demand could short circuit a global rebound.
Some European nations have been pushing for steep spending cuts to avoid problems such as those encountered by Greece. The country required a European Union-led bailout to avoid defaulting on its debt. Concerns that debt problems would spread beyond Europe and hurt a recovery have hurt stocks since late April and pounded the euro, the currency used by 16 European countries.
Jim Swanson, chief investment strategist at MFS Investment Management in Boston, said the latest numbers on personal spending indicate that the recovery is proceeding but that government policymakers need to be careful about cutting back too quickly.
“Now is the time you keep spending because you don’t want to suddenly withdraw the caffeine that’s in the system,” Swanson said.
Meanwhile, tobacco stocks rose after the Supreme Court said it wouldn’t take up a case between the government and tobacco makers. The decision prevents the government from getting billions of dollars from makers of cigarettes for anti-smoking campaigns. Reynolds American Inc. rose 4.2 percent, while Altria Group Inc., parent of Philip Morris USA, rose 3.8 percent.
A separate decision from the court signaled that gun control laws in Chicago and a nearby suburb likely would be struck down by a lower court. That gave a boost to shares of gun makers. Smith & Wesson rose 4.2 percent, while Sturm, Ruger & Co. climbed 3.7 percent.
In midday trading, the Dow rose 49.27, or 0.5 percent, to 10,192.93. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.79, or 0.4 percent, to 1,082.55. The Nasdaq composite index rose 15.80, or 0.7 percent, to 2,239.28.
Treasury prices rose, pushing down yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.05 percent from 3.11 percent late Friday. Treasurys often rise when investors are uncertain about the strength of the economy because they are stable investments that produce modest gains.
The euro fell to $1.2332.
Crude oil fell 72 cents to $78.14 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. A tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t expected to hit the oil spill.
Reynolds American rose $2.29, or 4.5 percent, to $53.66, and Altria rose 76 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $20.46.
Smith & Wesson rose 17 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $4.27, while Sturm, Ruger & Co. climbed 56 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $15.62.
Four stocks rose for every three that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 337 million shares compared with 405 million shares traded at the same point Friday.
Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent, Germany’s DAX index gained 1.4 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 1.6 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.5 percent.


Kitsap business briefs

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Windermere Workers
Rebuild Stage at
Poulsbo’s Raab Park
POULSBO
Employees of Windermere Real Estate’s Poulsbo office recently rebuilt the music stage at Raab Park in Poulsbo as part of the company’s Community Service Day.
The 25-year-old stage had been condemned by the city, putting the Chamber of Commerce Commerce’s annual American Music Festival in jeopardy. The city lacked funds to make repairs, so some 40 Windermere employees spent June 18 rebuilding and repainting the stage.
Materials, labor and financial support were supplied by Home Depot, Peninsula Paints and Costco.
New Restaurant
Open Downtown
BREMERTON
A new Bremerton eatery, the Hootchie Coochie Cafe, recently opened its doors in Bremerton. It is owned by military retiree Gary Weeks and features Creole and American options, with no item priced higher than $5.50. Daily specials include an entree, salad or coleslaw, and cornbread or toast.
Breakfast and lunch are available.
The restaurant, which offers a free Internet connection, is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 853 Sixth St., just east of Warren Avenue. There is free parking on the west side of the building.
The Hootchie Coochie Cafe also prepares take out orders. Call (360) 377-2333.
Belfair’s Local
Wrench Wins
AAA Certification
BELFAIR
Local Wrench in Belfair has been certified as a qualified and trustworthy auto repair facility by AAA.
The certification is accorded to businesses that meet AAA standards, employ ASE-certified
technicians and maintain a clean and safe facility.
Local Wrench office hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The shop is at NE 23530 Highway 3 and can be reached at (360) 277-0977.
Calendar

July 1
What: Kitsap Safety will have an open house at its office. They will serve hot dogs and have several vendors on hand to show some of the company’s first aid items as well as safety and personal protection products.
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 2625 NE John Carlson Road in Bremerton.

July 14
What: The Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce will meet July 14 for a luncheon with guest speakers Peggy Barnet and Elizabeth Scott of the state Employment Security Department
When: 11:30 a.m. networking, noon luncheon
Where: Kiana Lodge, 14976 Sandy Hook Road
Cost: $17 if paid by reservation date; $25 after that date
RSVP: By 9 a.m. July 9 at (360-779-4999 or admin@poulsbochamber.com
Kitsap Sun staff


Hale’s Alehouse about to make debut

Monday, June 28th, 2010

By Rachel Pritchett
rpritchett@kitsapsun.com SILVERDALE
Hale’s Alehouse at Kitsap Mall is set for a gradual opening just before the Fourth of July, offering fans of crafted beer another option in a scene that’s tiny but growing.
“There seemed to be a good opportunity over here. In Seattle, you can find a really nice pub almost on every corner,” said Mike Hale, founder and president of Fremont-based Hale’s Ales.
His beer will be brewed at Fremont, then brought to Silverdale.
As for the expanding local brewing scene, Silver City Brewery & Restaurant, the biggest by far, recently doubled its capacity to 5,400 barrels a year when it opened a new brewery in Bremerton. It’s planning an expansion of its Silverdale restaurant soon.
Some of the local brewers include the new Der Blokken Brewery in Manette, Rook Brewery in Poulsbo and Hood Canal Brewery in Kingston, which has been around for a while.
Hale paused for a conversation recently as he oversaw an army of workmen putting the final touches on his alehouse, which is so big that it necessitated a re-do of the mall’s northeast entrance.
The brewpub will be dark, cozy and sectioned off to feel smaller than its capacity of 280 customers.
Hale’s $2 million investment is evident. Big patios with tables and chairs are alongside the mall parking lot and also inside the mall. The alehouse’s interior features comfortable booths beneath stained-glass panels and a massive fireplace.
An enormous, high-tech kitchen has cooktops the size of mattresses and washing machine-sized salad spinners.
A big banquet room has a large flat-screen TV for presentations that Hale hopes will appeal to the business set.
Ninety employees have been hired to serve Hale’s flagship beer, Hale’s Pale American Ale, and a host of others, along with foods that can stand up to the big beers like burgers, sandwiches and smoked salmon chowder.
A visit will cost customers about $15 apiece, including tip, he estimates, and there will be a reservation system.
Hale is pricing his items similar to Silver City, which is right across the mall parking lot from him.
“We want to kind of avoid coming in and shaking up the apple cart,” he said.
He anticipates that the new Hale’s Alehouse and his Fremont brewery and restaurant will gross roughly $8 million in combined gross sales the first year, with about half of that coming from his new Silverdale operation.
Hale was one of the very first entrepreneurs to come up with crafted beers almost 30 years ago.
He admits that he could have expanded faster, opening more alehouses along the way. But being small is part of his success.
“Size is the enemy of quality,” he said.
Hale said he looked to start a second outlet here because it’s been home for him since 1986. He and wife Kathleen lived on Bainbridge Island for years, and now are in Indianola.
They love to fly here and in Canada. With a regular plane, a floatplane and a glider, Hale even has an instrument rating.
“It’s the magic carpet,” he said of his off-time passion.
Hale and his wife are deeply religious and are members of Island Church on Bainbridge.
“Well, I’d like to thank the Lord for this restaurant,” Hale said. “It’s been a little bit of a struggle for a brewer to face some of the Christian world.”
Kathleen, a former bus driver with Metro Transit in Seattle and Kitsap Transit employee, will manage Hale’s Alehouse. She is originally from Bremerton.
Hale recently was in negotiations to open another alehouse in the former Westsound Bank building at Second Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Bremerton.
In the end, he backed out, but said he has a sentimental attachment to Bremerton and surroundings.
“We’ll be looking for another place here as soon as we get our feet on the ground,” he said.
More alehouses give him more venues to offer his beer, without having to convince someone else to carry them.
“So here’s a guaranteed outlet for our beer,” he said.
Hale is confident that beer-drinking will withstand the recession. The numbers back him up.
According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the number of microbreweries in Washington has steadily grown from 84 in 2005 to 132 today. Drinking in general appears to have grown somewhat, too. Some 4,439 bars, restaurants and pubs had liquor licenses in 2006; now there are 4,794.
Microbrews only take up 5 percent of the beer-drinking market, and Hale thinks he and like-minded microbrewers still have a shot at increasing that.
“There’s a huge market out there. Most people are drinking the Bud,” he said.
At 67, he has no plans to retire.
“This is fantastic fun,” he said.
Hale grew up in San Francisco, the son of an advertising man. He studied forestry at the University of California at Berkeley before bicycling through Europe and falling in love with some memorable beers there.
“I just knew that I could not get good beer here unless I made it myself,” he said.
In 1983 he started his first brewery in Colville, which he later moved to Spokane. In 1987, he opened a second brewery in Kirkland, and later moved that to Fremont. Today, he has only the Fremont brewery and restaurant housed in a former hose-manufacturing plant, and the about-to-open Silverdale alehouse.