Monthly Archives: November 2015

Albertsons bids on Port Orchard Haggen

Haggans01_15364108_ver1.0_640_480Haggen stores in Port Orchard and Gig Harbor could be bought back by Albertsons, according to court documents.

Haggen is auctioning off dozens of stores this week as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, and Albertsons has emerged as a bidder.

Documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware Friday show Albertsons entered bids for 12 stores in Washington, including former Safeway stores in Port Orchard and Gig Harbor.

Albertsons submitted a baseline bid of $200,000 for the store in Port Orchard, and $500,000 for Gig Harbor.

No baseline bids were entered for Haggen stores in East Bremerton or Silverdale, which were formerly Albertsons.

Eighteen Washington Haggen stores will be auctioned Wednesday, according to documents. A hearing will be held Nov. 24 to review the auction results.

Albertsons is bidding on stores it was forced to divest to meet antitrust requirements as it completed a merger with Safeway this year.

Haggen scooped up 146 of those stores, including three in Kitsap County and one in Gig Harbor. The Bellingham-based grocery chain filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September and later announced it would sell or close all but 37 “core stores.”

Haggen stores in Kitsap are slated to close by the end of November and have begun to liquidate inventory. Many Haggen employees have already been rehired at Albertsons and Safeway stores, with permission from the Federal Trade Commission.

Supermarket News and the Seattle Times have more on the Haggen auctions this week. You can read all of my Haggen blog posts here.

UPDATE: Supermarket News reported Tuesday that Haggen will auction off all its stores. This includes the “core stores” Haggen initially said it would keep, and the chain’s original stores in the Bellingham area.

Banner Bank adds first Kitsap branch

logo@2xWalla Walla-based Banner Bank entered the West Sound market this fall with the addition of a Poulsbo branch.

The branch, at 18960 Highway 305, was formerly operated by AmericanWest Bank. Banner announced a deal to buy AmericanWest a year ago, and the acquisition was completed in February.

The AmericanWest in Poulsbo became a Banner Bank branch on Oct. 2, Manager Cathy Shaffer said. The AmericanWest employees stayed on with Banner.

Banner offers a full menu of banking services, including free personal and business checking. You can reach the Poulsbo branch at 360-394-1701.

A public open house is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Banner Bank was founded in 1890. It now operates more than 200 branches spread across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Utah.

Qdoba opens Friday in Kitsap Mall

qdoba-mexican-eats-logo_largeA Qdoba Mexican Eats will become the newest addition to Kitsap Mall‘s revamped dining lineup.

The fast-casual Mexican restaurant will open at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Qdoba moved into a 3,000-square-foot space near the food court and hired 31 employees, according to a spokeswoman.

The restaurant will serve Qdoba’s typical lineup of burritos, tacos and nachos. The chain touts its policy of not charging extra for sauces like guacamole and salsa. Qdoba also provides catering.

Qdoba is holding a canned food drive in conjunction with its opening to benefit local food banks. Customers who bring three or more cans of food to the restaurant, Monday through Thursday during the month of November,  will receive a free order of chips and queso.

Founded in Denver in 1995, Qdoba was acquired by Jack in the Box in 2003. The Qdoba chain has more than 600 stores in 47 states. About half are franchised. More than 50 new stores were expected to open in 2015, according to a 2014 annual report.

Qdoba is one of a few new chain restaurants to join Kitsap Mall this year. Buffalo Wild Wings opened in February. Potbelly Sandwich Shop debuted in September.

Qdoba will have more competition in Silverdale soon with a Chipotle restaurant expected to open in The Trails at Silverdale shopping center in early 2016.

You can see Qdoba’s full opening announcement below: Continue reading

Poll: Should restaurants stop taking tips?

NoTips02_26347593_ver1.0_640_480A growing number of restaurants have stopped accepting tips and are instead raising their menu prices.

High profile Seattle restaurants like Ivar’s have made the change as they brace for the city’s minimum wage hikes.

This week ChocMo in Poulsbo became the first Kitsap restaurant (that we know of) to do away with tipping (story here). The bistro raised its menu prices by about 20 percent, equivalent to the average tip left by customers. Customers who still want to pay extra can donate to a charity fund overseen by employees.

So what do you think of the anti-tipping trend?

As a diner, would you rather pay more upfront for a meal and not worry about calculating a tip? Or would you rather have the freedom to tip based on the quality of service or your own budget?

You can vote below and share your opinion in the comment section.

Should restaurants stop accepting tips and raise menu prices instead?

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And if you’re still curious about ChocMo’s rationale for the change, I’ve posted an open letter from the restaurant’s owners below: Continue reading

Home sales remained steady in October

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Kitsap County home sales remained strong in October, despite a dwindling supply of available houses.

A total of 473 sales were pending last month, according to Northwest Multiple Listing service. That was a 10 percent jump from October 2014, and 27 percent increase from October 2013.

Closed sales were also strong, with 422 transactions completed in October.

According to assessor’s records, Kitsap County had already broken the $1 billion mark for home sales by the end of September this year, easily outpacing sales volumes from the same period of 2014:

The already low inventory of homes continued to decline on October. The 888 homes for sale were 30 percent fewer than in October 2014. Here’s a graphical look at sales activity and listings through October:

The October median price for houses and condominiums in Kitsap was $258,500, nearly unchanged from September.

This graphic shows median month-by-month median home prices for Kitsap, and year-to-date home prices across the county:

Poulsbo MD opening direct primary care practice

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Dr. Peter Lehmann

Dr. Peter Lehmann wanted to practice for another 30 years, but he knew he wasn’t going to make it at the pace he was going.

The grind of tending to dozens of patients each day took a physical toll on the 52-year-old family doctor, who 10 years ago was diagnosed with a rare adult form of muscular dystrophy.

“I want to be a doctor until I’m 80,” he said over coffee Monday. “But I had to start thinking about what I’m going to do, because I can’t keep up the pace.”

Lehmann needed to find a way to slow down while still making a living. He thinks he’s found a solution in direct primary care, an emerging (or perhaps re-emerging) health care model in which patients pay their provider a flat monthly fee for their care.

On Jan. 1, Lehmann will leave The Doctors Clinic in Poulsbo, where he’s been a longtime partner, to open his own direct primary care office next door. Lehmann said he’s kept his partners at The Doctors Clinic apprised of his plans and the split will be amicable.

Lehmann’s Vintage Direct Primary Care practice will be among the first of its kind in Kitsap. He’ll employ roughly the same model as the Manette Clinic, which opened in Bremerton this fall (you can read my story on the clinic here.)

Like the Manette Clinic, Lehmann’s patients will pay a flat monthly fee ($50 for adults) to cover their basic primary care needs. There will be no copays and insurance will never be billed.

VintageDirectPrimaryCare-LogoPatients will pay for things like lab work and medications at cost. They will still be encouraged to carry catastrophic insurance plans to cover emergencies.

Lehmann currently sees between 2,000 and 2,500 patients. He expects to reduce that number to between 500 and 600 at his new practice. Ideally he’ll see about five to six patients in the office each day, while also providing phone consultations and making old-fashioned house calls.

A key premise of direct primary care is that doctors can afford to see fewer patients, and spend more time with each, by ditching the massive overhead costs associated with insurance billing.

“That’s the biggest thing that this model offers, you can give patients time,” Lehmann said.

Like many devotees, Lehman sees the direct care model as a possible cure for what’s ailing family medicine. Fewer medical students are entering the field because of the high patient volumes being pushed on doctors he said. The pay is also lower than in specialty fields.

Lehmann said direct primary care could make the profession more attractive.

“I actually view it as a long-term solution,” he said. “This will bring an excitement back to primary care.”

Town Hall Meeting

Dr. Lehmann will hold a town hall-style meeting from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 17 at Poulsbo City Hall to discuss the direct primary care model. The public is welcome.

Gerber Collision buys Clifford’s Auto Body

cliffordsOne of Bremerton’s oldest auto body shops was just bought by a fast-growing chain.

Gerber Collision & Glass completed a $550,000 purchase of Clifford’s Auto Body, at 327 Montgomery Ave. on Friday, according to Chris Horn of Strategy Real Estate, who brokered the deal.

Clifford’s has been in business in Bremerton since 1933 and on Montgomery Avenue since 1956. Horn said owner Howard Froggatt will stay on as manager at Gerber during the transition and plans to open a smaller shop in another location.

The Bremerton shop is the 20th Washington location for Illinois-based Gerber.

“The Bremerton location complements our existing locations in the Seattle area and will allow us to serve new customers and our insurance partners in this western suburb,” Tim O’Day, president of Gerber parent company The Boyd Group, said in a news release.

The Boyd Group is the largest operator of non-franchised auto body shops in North America by number of locations.

Information on the Bremerton shop is available on the Gerber website.

$38M apartment transaction tops recent commercial sales

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Wellington apartments, Silverdale

A Los Angeles corporation bought two Silverdale apartment complexes in September for a combined $69.5 million.

Those transactions topped the list of commercial sales in Kitsap County in for August and September (you can see my July roundup here).

A total of 35 commercial parcels sold in August for a combined $10.23 million, according to county assessor’s records. In September, 12 parcels sold for $74.3 million, buoyed by the Silverdale apartment transactions.

Here’s a look at some of the notable commercial sales from August and September:

Wellington apartments, Silverdale — $38.25 million

wellington
Click to enlarge

Sale date: Sept. 24

Assessed value: $19.99 million

Sold by: GFS Wellington LLC. to Gemini Wellington Fee Owner LLC.

Description: A roughly 231,000-square-foot, 17-building apartment complex on 11.3 acres off Randall Way, accessed by Kensington Lane.

Notes: Formerly called Madison the Wellington. Built in 1988.

Ridgetop apartments, Silverdale — $31.25 million

ridgetop
Click to enlarge

Sale date: Sept. 24

Assessed value: $18.12 million

Sold by: GFS Ridgetop LLC. to Gemini Ridgetop Fee Owner LLC.

Description: A roughly 200,000-square-foot, 25-building apartment complex on 12.5 acres off Ridgetop Boulevard, accessed by Voyager Lane and Shipside Lane.

Notes: Formerly called Madison Ridgetop. One of several large complexes of Ridgetop Boulevard. Built in 1989.

Woodcreek apartments, Poulsbo — $3 million

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Sale date: Sept. 8

Assessed value: $1.53 million

Sold by: Woodcreek Associates to Poulsbo 40 LLC.

Description: A 14-building apartment complex on 4.8 acres of Hostmark Street, across from Poulsbo Middle School.

Notes: Built in 1984. Buyer is based in San Diego.

Twelve Trees building, North Kitsap — $2.23 million

twelve.trees
Click to enlarge

Sale date: Aug. 11

Assessed value: $1.64 million

Sold by: Jackson Brothers LLC. to Grundsund Property Co.

Description: A 21,000-square-foot building in Twelve Trees Business Park off Pioneer Way.

Notes:  Headquarters for international marine apparel and gear company Grundéns. It appears Grundéns just bought the building. Continue reading

Kitsap Mall Santa is taking reservations

Getting a picture taken with Santa Claus at the mall is a beloved holiday tradition.

Waiting in long lines with squirmy youngsters to see Santa is not.

This year the Kitsap Mall Santa is giving parents an early Christmas present in the form of an online reservation system.

Shoppers can register in advance for time slots with Santa by logging onto mysantaexperience.com, according to a news release. Reservations require the purchase of a photo package, which start at about $35.

Santa arrives at the mall Nov. 14, and will stick around through Christmas Eve. A special “Paws with Claus” night is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Nov. 19, so “well-mannered” pets can have their picture taken with the jolly elf. WorldWide Photography will have a regular family portrait area set up adjacent to Santa’s court.

In other mall news, the Silverdale shopping center will be open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving day, and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday. The opening of H&M, initially slated for November, has been pushed to Dec. 17.

You can find more holiday event information on Kitsap Mall’s Facebook page.