Monthly Archives: March 2014

Port Orchard auto body shop opening April 1

A Port Orchard body shop will open under new ownership next month.

John and Janet Latham are launching Port Orchard Auto Body on April 1 at 1344 Colchester Dr SE. The location was formerly home to Wiley’s Collision, which moved to 2995 Mile Hill Drive.

The Lathams bought the Colchester property and business from Roger Wiley in 1995. They sold the company to an employee in 2008, but retained ownership of the property. When the new owner chose to move Wiley’s to Mile Hill, the Lathams decided to jump back into business.

Janet said she and John spent the last few years “working for fish” at a lodge in Alaska and exploring Arizona, but they look forward to providing auto body services once again.

The new shop will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 360-871-9402 for information.


Harrison, pro-tech negotiations resume


Harrison Medical Center and union pro-tech employees are back at the bargaining table.

According to Harrison, the two sides met Friday to continue contract negotiations.

Remaining issues include contract ratification bonuses, wage increases, health plan contributions, and language that would prevent pro-tech employees from honoring the picket lines of other bargaining units.

Negotiations between the nearly 800 pro-techs, represented by UFCW 21, and Harrison management began last summer. Talks ground to a halt over the winter and employees held an informational picket Feb. 19 (pictured above).

Larry Steagall photo

Reliable Storage expanding in South Kitsap


Poulsbo-based Reliable Storage is gradually expanding its South Kitsap facility.

The company earned county approval for its next phase of construction at its Spring Creek Road yard, which includes the addition of seven buildings, 20 covered RV spaces and an RV dump.

The facility opened in 2011 with seven buildings and outdoor storage. The company added 35 uncovered RV spaces last summer.

The build out will continue over the next couple of years, said Jim Hetrick, senior operations manager for Reliable. Hetrick said the South Kitsap yard is filled to capacity and covered storage is especially in demand.

“Business has been great, and the Port Orchard community has been wonderful,”he said.

Reliable Storage has seven locations in Kitsap.


Owners hope to open Bremerton Ace in June

Owners of the future Ace Hardware on Kitsap Way say they still hope to have the store open in June.

The franchise will be owned by Wenatchee-based Ag Supply Company, which operates five other Ace locations in the state. Only one of the stores, an Ace in Sultan, is west of the Cascades.

Ag Supply Operations Manager Kerry McCauley said he expects to nail down an opening date for the Bremerton location by April. The company will launch the store with about 10 locally-hired employees.

Property owner Ralph Erickson said contractors are waiting for a building permit from the city to come through before starting construction. Erickson is also hopeful the store can be open by June, but said permitting has been a “struggle.”

McCauley said Ace’s corporate office approached Ag Supply about opening the Bremerton franchise after researching the market. The property was occupied by Arnold’s Home Furnishings before a fire gutted the building in 2009. Arnold’s reopened in a scaled-down showroom next door.

The Bremerton Ace will carry the typical hardware and gardening supplies found at other franchise stores. It will also stock some inventory tailored to local demand.

“They’ll have that general footprint, then look at things the community needs,”McCauley said. “We’ll have our ear to the ground from the day we open.”

The new Ace will be the fourth in Kitsap County, joining locations in Poulsbo, Port Orchard and on Bainbridge Island.



T&C first company to use energy conservation bond program

The renovation of Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island will make the iconic grocery more spacious and modern. Less apparent to shoppers, the remodel will also make the building more efficient.

T&C Markets secured a $1.15 million loan for energy upgrades at the store using a federal bond program. The low-interest loan was made possible by the federal Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds program. Bonds for the project were issued this month by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission as part of Kitsap County’s Green Community Initiative.

T&C is the first private company in the country to take advantage of the bond program, according to a news release. Continue reading

U.S. Bank will open inside Poulsbo Safeway

The new Poulsbo Safeway store will likely include a U.S. Bank branch.

U.S. Bank National Association filed an application with federal controllers Wednesday for an office at the 10th Avenue Store. The Poulsbo Safeway is set to open in May.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank has offices in the Silverdale Albertsons and Bremerton Fred Meyer, as well as an ATM in the Poulsbo Albertsons.

Albertsons and Safeway finalized a merger earlier this month. We’ll be taking a closer look at what that might mean for the Poulsbo grocery stores and other Kitsap locations.

Bremerton Gardens for sale for $13.5 million

The Bremerton Gardens apartments in Manette are on the market for $13.5 million.

Agent Jim Jensen said the 183-unit complex was listed Friday. The apartments are located on 20 acres at 1014 Parkside Drive, between Wheaton Way and the Port Washington Narrows.

Jensen said owners invested $350,000 into the property before it went on the market. The apartments were built in 1942.

See the Commercial Brokers Association listing here.

Kitsap Bank announces retirements, awards

blog.MathwigKitsap Bank announced the retirement longtime board member Robert Mathwig this week.

Mathwig joined the board 1987. He stepped down on Feb. 28 after reaching the mandatory retirement age for active board members, according to a news release. Mathwig remains involved in a number of business enterprises.

“Bob Mathwig has been an invaluable asset in his role on the Bank’s Board and as a member of the Board’s Audit Committee,” board Chairwoman Cydly Langer Smith said. “His guidance, integrity, vision and insight have been instrumental in the growth of the Bank. All of the Kitsap Bank community extend their gratitude to Bob for his past 27 years of service.”

Kitsap Bank bid farewell to another longtime employee, Margaret Eddy, this week. Eddy ended her 33-year career as senior customer service specialist at the Port Orchard Branch. She joined the bank in 1980 as a teller.

The bank was again selected as the “Best Bank in the Westsound” in the WestSound Home & Garden’s 2014 reader survey. It shared the title for “Best Customer Service in the West Sound” with Les Schwab.

Contributed photo

Employment up in Kitsap to start year



The year began with encouraging news on the labor front.

More people were employed in Kitsap county in January (83,300) than at the same time in the previous two years, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Employment Security Department. In fact, more were employed in January 2014 than in April of 2013, which bodes well for the rest of this year. (You can click on the graphic above to expand).

The employment gains in Kitsap were in the private sector, according to the state numbers. About 1,600 more people were employed with private companies in January 2014 than in January 2013. That gain made up for a net loss of 700 government jobs over the same period.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility is in the midst of a hiring binge that began in January. The shipyard plans to bring on 1,037 workers early this year.

Continue reading

Acquisition of Bellingham company helps Poulsbo manufacturer expand


The acquisition of a Bellingham machine shop has positioned Poulsbo manufacturer Trulife to serve new industries.

Trulife, which has corporate headquarters in Ireland, bought Bellingham-based Pro CNC on Jan. 30. Pro CNC was paired with Trulife’s Poulsbo operation to create Trulife Engineered Solutions.

Trulife in Poulsbo had specialized almost exclusively in designing and manufacturing prosthetic and orthopedic devices. Pro CNC serves the commercial and aerospace sectors. The purchase of Pro CNC will allow Trulife to begin manufacturing equipment for those sectors.

“Trulife has focused on manufacturing medical devices but has been looking to diversify its product line,” Noel Murphy, executive chairman for Trulife, said in a statement.

Trulife Vice President of Operations Anna Reyes-Potts said the company  is hiring machinists in both Poulsbo and Bellingham. Trulife employs about 100 people in Poulsbo. Pro CNC employs about 70 workers.

Trulife has five other manufacturing centers in the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada.

The Bellingham Herald has a story on the Pro CNC acquisition.

Contributed photos