Minding Your Business

Reporter Tad Sooter keeps tabs on the West Sound economy, nonprofits and health care.
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Busch ad campaign features Bainbridge tugboat crewman

April 14th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Busch Beer is rolling out an ad campaign that “celebrates everyday people who work hard at their jobs and in their communities.”

Bainbridge Island tugboat deckhand Andy Freeman fit the bill.

Freeman is one of eight workers across the country highlighted as “Busch Heroes” in the new campaign. He was honored at an event in Bremerton Friday.

Freeman is featured in a mini documentary about his work (embedded above). According to a news release, he will also appear on packaging, print ads, retail displays and regional billboards, along with the slogan “Here’s to Earning It.”

You can see more of the campaign here.

Plans submitted for Poulsbo Sonic

April 14th, 2014 by Tad Sooter



A Sonic Drive-In is one step closer to construction on Poulsbo’s Viking Way.

The city received an application for a proposed 2,148-square-foot fast food restaurant with drive-thru. The application requests a revision to the existing site plan for the property, which had been approved for a 3,900-square-foot convenience store, gas station and fast food complex.

The new site plan proposal includes just a Sonic restaurant and 30 parking spots. You can click on the graphic on the right to expand.

Patrons would have a few dining options. They could order from the drive-thru window or park in the lot and be served by carhops.  The restaurant wouldn’t have true indoor seating, but it would have covered patio seating, with garage-style doors that could be rolled down during bad weather.

JWJ Group LLC. owns the property at 21895 Viking Way and is pursuing the site plan revision. A Seattle development firm is negotiating the purchase of the land and plans to build a Sonic there. It’s one of many Sonic locations slated for the Puget Sound region.

You can see some preliminary building plans below below: Read the rest of this entry »

Silverdale ophthalmologist tops state Medicare payments list

April 11th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Three doctors at Silverdale’s Retina Center Northwest were among the state’s top 50 recipients of Medicare payments in 2012, according to the Seattle Times.

Dr. David Spinak topped the list with more than $3 million in payments. His colleague, Dr. Todd Schneiderman, received more than $2 million.

Schneiderman told the Times the reimbursements reflect the high cost of drugs used to treat eye problems like macular degeneration.

“I’m not making $2 million,” he said. “None of us make a fraction of that money; the vast majority goes to pay for this drug.”

Medicare released the data Wednesday. You can view the full data set here.

Harrison clinic, CVS, ACE among big building projects approved in first quarter

April 11th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

I’m taking a look at first quarter building permit activity for our Monday business section and noticed some high-profile projects were cleared for construction early this year.

Here’s a look at five of the largest (by valuation) commercial projects issued building permits in the first three months of 2014:

1. Harrison Medical Center — Bainbridge







Location: Madison Avenue and New Brooklyn Road, Bainbridge Island

Description: Building a two story, 17,400-square-foot medical building for urgent, primary and specialty care.


Permit issued: Jan. 9

Kitsap Sun coverage

Read the rest of this entry »

Silverdale bedliner company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

April 11th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

A Silverdale truck bedliner company has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Line-X Silverdale filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of Washington. The Provost Road company listed $500,000 to $1 million in assets and the same amount in liabilities in its voluntary petition.

Listed debts included federal and county taxes. The company president did not return a call for comment Friday.

Bainbridge Graduate Institute launches Pinchot university

April 10th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Bainbridge Graduate Institute announced the creation of a new university called Pinchot on Thursday.

Pinchot will encompass several educational programs, including BGI, leadership school Organizational Systems Renewal, and professional development program Pinchot Edge. MBAs will be offered in sustainable business and sustainable systems, as well as a master’s in organizational leadership through OSR.

Pinchot will give students access to a broader range of disciplines, according to a news release. The university is positioning itself as an “incubator for students who hope to drive change from within major corporations and organizations, or become social entrepreneurs.”

“Graduates need the ability to do business in a way that brings about the changes they hope to see in the world,” said Gifford Pinchot III, who co-founded BGI and the new Pinchot university. “To do this they need a holistic combination of financial acumen, sales skills, marketing savvy, sustainable operations and leadership skills.”

Pinchot courses will combine online and in-person learning. Programs will be offered in Seattle and on Bainbridge Island.

Read the full Pinchot announcement here.


Port of Bremerton raises covered moorage rents, late fees

April 9th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Rents are going up for covered moorage tenants at the Port Orchard Marina.

Port of Bremerton commissioners approved a 5 percent rate hike for covered slips at their Tuesday meeting. Rents for the coveted spaces were below the industry standard, according to port staff.

The adjustment will raise rent on a 36-foot slip from about $306 a month to about $321. Revenue from the 158 covered slips will increase by $12,325 a year. See the PDF below for a full breakdown. The increase takes effect June 1.

Commissioners also approved increases to late fees for tenants across all port facilities. Late payments were a growing nuisance, according to port staff, who are tired of spending time collecting money from the same tardy tenants each month.

Late fees will increase from 1.5 percent with a $20 minimum, to 1.5 percent with a $40 minimum. The increase also takes effect June 1. Read the rest of this entry »

Kitsap Bank opens Bellevue loan office

April 8th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

blog.Sabado_PaulKitsap Bank opened a loan production office in downtown Bellevue Monday.

The office is located at 11711 SE 8th Street, Suite 310, in the Bellevue Gateway Building, near the I-405 and SE 8th Street interchange. Senior Vice President and SBA Manager Paul Sabado (pictured) is managing the location.

“The opening of a new loan production office in King County will allow Kitsap Bank the opportunity to better meet the needs of existing and new loan customers,” CEO Steve Politakis said in a news release. “We look forward to contributing within this vibrant market.”

Port Orchard-based Kitsap Bank operates 21 locations in Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam, Mason, Pierce and King counties.

Real Estate: Kitsap home prices lagging behind neighbors

April 4th, 2014 by Tad Sooter

The first quarter of 2014 is in the books and home prices in Kitsap County are lagging behind the Puget Sound pack.

Median prices were  up across the region at the end of March, driven by low inventory. But prices remained at 2013 levels in Kitsap, according to the Northwest MLS.

The median price of homes sold in January, February and March this year was $225,000, compared to $229,000 for the same period of 2013. That was despite surging prices on Bainbridge Island (click the graph below to expand).blog.march.mls

The stale prices can’t be explained by simple supply and demand. Inventory was still low, with 1,170 active listings (there were 1,287 in March 2013). And closed sales were up (715 compared to 630), while pending sales were relatively flat.

So what was keeping prices down? Frank Wilson, managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate Poulsbo and Kitsap district director for NWMLS, points to the recent glut of short sales and bank repossessions as one cause. Homeowners who lost their homes in the recession may be sidelined while they repair their credit, he said. Demand should increase as they reenter the market.

Overall, it’s an opportune time for buyers, Wilson said. Interest rates remain low, as do prices. But that won’t last, he said.

“At some point in the future, double whammy of prices going up and interest going up,” he said. “When that happens it will negatively affect affordability.”

Wilson said he expects both inventory and prices to pick up as the year continues.

“All signs are pointing in the right direction,” he said.

The NWMLS activity report for March is posted below: Read the rest of this entry »

Sterling, Umpqua banks finalizing merger

April 3rd, 2014 by Tad Sooter

Sterling Bank branches will soon be Umpqua Bank branches.

Umpqua Holdings Corporation and Sterling Financial Corporation announced regulatory approval for a merger in a statement Monday. The proposed merger was first announced in September.

Sterling Bank branches are expected to operate under the Umpqua banner after April 18.

Both banks are lightly represented in Kitsap County. Spokane-based Sterling operates a bank branch in Winslow, and home loan offices in Port Orchard and Silverdale. Umpqua, an Oregon company, has a home loan office in Siverdale, and two Gig Harbor branches.

According to the statement, Sterling Financial Corporation had assets of $10.31 billion at the end of 2013 and operated depository branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. Umpqua had locations in Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada.

The Spokesman-Review has more on the merger.