Minding Your Business

Reporter Tad Sooter keeps tabs on the West Sound economy, nonprofits and health care.
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July employment: Local companies keep hiring

August 29th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Familiar storylines continued in the July employment report for Kitsap County.

First, the (relatively) good news:

The number of jobs supported by Kitsap employers remained consistently higher than in the previous two years. Nearly 1,000 more people found work in the county during this year’s summer employment peak than in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »


Advertising pot: No cute donkey logos, no free mini-doobies

August 28th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

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Washington pot shops haven’t really needed to advertise yet. There’s so little recreational marijuana to go around that stores are struggling just to keep product in stock.

Crockpot18_7542038_ver1.0_640_480Eventually though, there will be enough supply, and enough stores open, that pot shop owners will need to promote themselves to stand out in the crowd. There’s been some confusion around the rules that dictate pot advertising, so the Liquor Control Board posted a handy FAQ yesterday to clear the air.

The FAQ covers all the basics, including websites, signage and promotions. Many restrictions on pot advertising are aimed at protecting children and upholding the 1,000-foot buffer around schools, parks and other community centers. Here are a few key points:

  • Advertising in print media (like newspapers!) is OK. Though printed publications are sometimes distributed to schools, but the LCB doesn’t intend to enforce the 1,000-foot buffer for newspaper advertising. Advertising on radio and TV stations is permitted but could conflict with federal regulation.
  • Retailers can’t sell marijuana for less than cost and they can’t give away free samples.
  • Retailers can advertise with decals on a vehicle or delivery truck, but that vehicle cannot enter any of the 1,000-foot buffer areas, which would make getting around town pretty tricky.

Questions for the FAQ were drawn from queries submitted by real I-502 entrepreneurs, and some clearly have big plans:

baby-donkey-with-mommyQ: I assume that I may choose a logo that is not directly related to marijuana, such as a donkey?

A: Yes, but be careful that the logo does not appeal to children.

(Note: Donkeys are adorable. What donkey won’t appeal to children?)

Q: I want to provide free “mini doobies” to concert goers. However, the MJ I’m giving is not mine. It is medical marijuana that is of the same strain as those I will sell in my recreational retail store. I’ve announced this on my I-502-licensed Facebook page and website. Is this ok?

A: Not ok. As a licensed business, you may not give away marijuana. You may only sell taxed and tested marijuana that you purchased from a processor.

Q: May you use wording implying just how fine your brand might be. Like, “County Gold, Washington’s Best,” or jingles?

A: Yes.

You can read the full FAQ here.


Six carriers and 67 exchange plans OK’d for Kitsap

August 27th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is gearing up for its sophomore season, with open enrollment starting Nov. 15.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has approved 10 insurance companies to sell 90 individual health plans through the exchange for 2015. Of those, six carriers will offer a combined 67 plans in Kitsap County:kitsap plans

You can see a statewide breakdown of carriers and plans here.

Some notes on the exchange offerings for Kitsap:

  • Moda Health is the only new carrier for Kitsap this year. In addition to five individual plans, Moda will be the only carrier offering small business plans in Kitsap.

About 5,000 Kitsap residents signed up for coverage through the state exchange this year, while 13,000 were covered by Medicaid for the first time.

For more information on the exchange, visit the Insurance Commissioner and Healthplanfinder websites.


SKIA rebranded Puget Sound Industrial Center

August 26th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

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South Kitsap Industrial Area is now Puget Sound Industrial Center – Bremerton.

After much discussion, the Port of Bremerton commission approved the name change with a resolution Tuesday evening. That followed the approval from the Bremerton City Council last week.

Local government leaders were looking to widen the appeal of the industrial center, which they hope will attract companies and jobs to the region.

“As we reach out to have industrial and manufacturing come to this beautiful area, we need to have a broader recognition,” Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent said Tuesday.

Lent and the port commissioners acknowledged that PSIC-B isn’t pleasing of an acronym as SKIA, but a solution has already been proposed: Pronounce it “P.S. I See Bremerton.”

“It’s catchy,” Commissioner Larry Stokes said.

The port is inquiring about renaming the SKIA connector road.

 


Poulsbo brewer finishes Seattle row: ‘Everything kind of hurts’

August 25th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

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When I last saw Dave Lambert Sunday morning he was rowing vigorously off into Puget Sound.

The Poulsbo brewer was about two hours into his mission to deliver a keg of beer to Seattle “the old-fashioned way.”

blog.beerrowI chased Lambert and his rowboat through Agate Passage in my kayak and snapped some photos before pulling out in Suquamish. Lambert, it turned out, had another five hours to go.

He covered the 14 miles across Puget Sound and through the Ballard Locks in about 6 hours and 45 minutes, according to an email he sent Monday.

“Everything kind of hurts,” Lambert reported, “but not nearly as bad as I thought it would.”

The Slippery Pig Brewery owner was inspired to deliver the keg of beer by rowboat after learning about early residents of the county and the long distances they rowed on a regular basis. Lambert’s journey to Seattle reinforced his admiration for those sturdy souls.

“I have gained an entirely new respect for Poulsbo’ s forefathers and the tough women who settled Kitsap,” Lambert wrote. “That was so much water to cross. So much water.”


New bank and coffee shop proposed in Poulsbo

August 22nd, 2014 by Tad Sooter

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A developer hopes to build a new bank and coffee shop buildings off Highway 305 in Poulsbo.

The 2,500-square-foot bank building and 1,700-square foot coffee shop/retail space would be constructed on vacant property sandwiched between 7th Avenue and the highway, just south of Forest Rock Lane and north of Union Bank.

Both the bank and coffee shop would have drive thru windows, according to a conceptual plan posted on the city website (and embedded below). No specific tenants were mentioned.

A pre-application conference for the project, titled RPI Retail, will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 16 at Poulsbo City Hall. Comments can be submitted at the meeting or to kboughton@cityofpoulsbo.com. Click her for full details.

PacLand of West Seattle is the applicant for the project.


Harrison’s letter to Regence customers

August 22nd, 2014 by Tad Sooter

There was a lot of anger in the wake of the Thursday announcement that a contract between Harrison Medical Center and Regence BlueShield would terminate, and much of it was directed toward the local hospital.

Harrison sent a notice Friday to its patients covered by Regence with a letter from interim Harrison President Joe Kortum. (Longtime CEO Scott Bosch retired last month).

In the letter, Kortum expressed disappointment in the outcome of the negotiations and apologized to patients for the disruption. The letter also lists insurance still accepted by Harrison, with a suggestion that Regence customers to talk to their employers about switching carriers during the next enrollment period.

Here’s the full letter to patients:


SKIA name change on port agenda

August 22nd, 2014 by Tad Sooter

VicinityMapSouth Kitsap Industrial Area, better known as SKIA, will soon have a new name.

Port of Bremerton commissioners will vote next week to rebrand the area as Puget Sound Industrial Center – Bremerton. The Bremerton City Council passed a similar resolution this week.

While PSIC–B doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely as SKIA, port and city officials believe the inclusion of Puget Sound will make the name more recognizable to potential business tenants.

Port CEO Jim Rothlin explained it this way in a background memo for the Aug. 26 meeting:

It is perceived that adding “Puget Sound” increases the ability of clients outside this area to more easily identify with this area, and “Bremerton” pinpoints the exact location of the City which it falls in. The words “Industrial Center” highlights the fact that we are one of only eight Manufacturing/Industrial Centers (MIC) designated by Puget Sound Regional Council. 

SKIA, which includes Bremerton National AirportOlympic View Industrial Park and a mix of port and private property, was designated as a regional Manufacturing/Industrial Center in 2003. Bremerton later annexed much of the land.

The Port of Bremerton commission meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bremerton National Airport. The full agenda is posted below:


Silverdale shopping center breaks ground this month

August 22nd, 2014 by Tad Sooter

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Site work is underway in Silverdale for an expansive new shopping center.

An official groundbreaking for The Trails at Silverdale is scheduled for Aug. 28.

The development is located on 20 acres west of the Highway 3/303 junction, off Greaves Way and Clear Creek Road. Businesses will include a mix of retail stores and restaurants, including some “new-to-market tenants, and local offerings as well,” said Alec Paddock with development company CenterCal Properties. No specific tenants have been announced.

The shopping center is expected to open in the fall of 2015.

You can read our previous stories about The Trails at Silverdale project here and here. Our colleagues at the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal also wrote extensively about the plans.

This post was updated to include information from the developer.


Which Kitsap businesses have bounced back?

August 20th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

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Retail sales in Kitsap County, and just about everywhere else, took a nose dive after 2007.

Now many businesses are bouncing back. Kitsap retailers are on pace to this year to match pre-recession sales volumes. Taxable sales in trades outside traditional retail are gradually rebuilding as well:

To find out which sectors are recovering, and which are still digging out of the recession, I used a recently-released taxable sales report for 2013 to see how industries faired locally last year compared with 2007. This is what I found:

 

Booming

E-commerce: While still a small industry in Kitsap (about 3 percent of all retail trade sales), e-commerce grew in bounds over the last seven years. Online sales more than doubled between 2007 and 2013.

Fuel stations: Just about everyone buys gas (and munchies from convenience stores). Sales at fuel stations and attached mini-marts grew 46 percent. Read the rest of this entry »