Monthly Archives: February 2015

Graphic: Recreational marijuana sales in 2014

The state’s legalized pot industry began to bear fruit in 2014.

The newly-licensed recreational marijuana businesses grossed $65.4 million by the end of the year, generating more than $16 million in excise taxes.

Here’s a graphical look at how Kitsap’s recreational marijuana industry faired during its first few months in existence:

Corrected statewide marijuana sales numbers. Earlier numbers listed included 2015.

Deadline nears for health plan exchange signups

healthplanfinderThe deadline is approaching fast for Washington residents who want to buy private plans through the state health insurance marketplace.

Sunday, Feb. 15, is the final day to enroll in qualified health plans through Healthplanfinder. Customers who select and pay for their plans by 10 p.m. that day will have their insurance activate March 1.

Apple Health (Medicaid) enrollment continues all year.

Free signup assistance is available through Kitsap Public Health District and the exchange’s support network.

About 1,300 Kitsap residents had signed up for qualified plans through the exchange by the end of January. Another 3,127 renewed their plans.

This was the second open enrollment period for the fledgling Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Last year, 4,950 Kitsap residents signed up for qualified health plans.

More details on the Feb. 15 deadline can be found here. Full county-by-county enrollment statistics are posted below:

Silverdale RadioShack on closure list

RadioShack_Logo_2013The Kitsap Mall RadioShack store could be a casualty of the company’s bankruptcy filing.

The Silverdale location was among 2,000 listed on a store closure list posted on RadioShack’s corporate website (PDF).  The electronics retail giant filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week and has already begun liquidating stores.

Kitsap’s other two RadioShack stores (Wheaton Way and Bethel Corridor) are not on the closure list.

Kitsap saw gradual job growth in 2014

safeboatsKitsap’s employment picture became a little brighter in 2014.

Kitsap County employers added jobs for the second straight year in 2014, with hiring expected to accelerate through 2015.

Employment among the county’s residents, which has declined steadily since 2008, showed signs of stabilizing.

We’ll look at both trends, starting with job creation in Kitsap.

Jobs in Kitsap County

Employers are still digging out from the economic recession in many sectors.

home constrAfter years of local job losses, the county is finally seeing gradual job gains, according to data from the Employment Security Department.

There were an average of 85,100 jobs in Kitsap last year, compared with 83,800 in 2013, a 1.5 percent increase.

The county is still about 2,300 jobs short of its 2006 employment peak.

Margaret Hess of WorkSource Kitsap said hiring activity was noticeably improved last year. The WorkSource has been hosting frequent hiring events with employers. Job openings at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard drew a great deal of interest.

“We’re really positive,” Hess said. “Things are looking up.”

Regional state economist Jim Vleming said he expects hiring to accelerate in several sectors this year, including construction and recreation/leisure.

“We’re definitely going in the right direction,” he said.

Here’s a graphical look at longterm Kitsap job trends:


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Haggen set to rebrand acquired stores

2epQv8vHOVOam1zxJDpHWyjpUVVbrg5NDVAQb1mtk0oHaggen signs could soon be up at three Kitsap County grocery stores.

Supermarket News reports Haggen is set to begin rebannering 146 Alberstons and Safeway stores it recently acquired. Citing an unnamed source, SN says the brand switchover will begin next week with a store in Monroe.

Haggen expects to have all stores rebannered within four months. Fully reconfiguring the stores to Haggen’s model could take more than a year, according to the report.

Bellingham-based Haggen is taking over Albertsons stores in Silverdale and East Bremerton, and a Safeway in Port Orchard.

The acquisition was part of a required divestiture for the Albertsons/Safeway merger.  The companies completed the merger Jan. 30.

You can read my Q&A on the Haggen deal here.

Town & Country buys Bellevue market

Matthews Vert Ext Jan 15 3Town & Country Markets is expanding into east King County with the purchase of a Bellevue-area store.

The Kitsap County-based grocery chain announced the aquisition Monday of Matthew’s Fresh Market in Lakemont. Town & Country bought the store from founder Craig Mavis, who is retiring.

According to the release, Town & Country has few immediate changes planned for Fresh Market, and most of the store’s 51 employees will keep their positions. A new store name has not been picked.

Town & Country Markets owns and operates five other stores in the Puget Sound area: Central Markets in Poulsbo, Shoreline and Mill Creek; Ballard Market; and Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island.

You can see the full announcement here.

The priciest Kitsap home sales of 2014

Wrapping up my look at the biggest real estate transactions of 2014, here is a list of the 10  highest priced home sales on the Kitsap Peninsula. (I listed the top 10 on Bainbridge Island last week and rounded up the year’s major commercial sales).

The list for the peninsula was dominated by sales in North Kitsap, with one Central Kitsap property slipping in at No. 6. You can see a ranking of Kitsap median home prices by area at the bottom of this post.

Top Kitsap Peninsula Home Sales

These were the most expensive homes sold in Kitsap County in 2014, excluding Bainbridge Island. Details from public records and online listings. 

1. Rural Kingston — $1.23 million

Sale date: Oct. 3

Location: Fir Hollow Drive NE, off Highway 104, near Carpenter Lake

Description: 10 acres of woods and fields; 4,320-square-foot, five-bedroom house built in 2006. Listing here.

2. Lemolo waterfront — $1.12 million

Sale date: April 25

Location: 15000 Block of Lemolo Shore Drive, near the mouth of Liberty Bay

Description: Under an acre of “no-bank” waterfront; 4,000-square-foot, three-bedroom house built in 1979.  Listing here.

 3. Jefferson Point waterfront — $1.11 million

Sale date: Feb. 21

Location: 24000 Block of Jefferson Place NE, on Jefferson Point, South Kingston

Description: 3.5-acre property facing; 3,520-square-foot, three-bedroom house built in 1970. Listing here.

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Tommy C’s may reopen as Silverdale brewery

TommyCsBuilding01_12691335_ver1.0_640_480Facing eviction in Port Orchard, the owner of popular sports grill Tommy C’s is close to inking a lease in Silverdale.

Owner Tommy Cash confirmed he hopes to relocate his restaurant to the former Old Town Bistro building on Byron Street. The Bistro shut down last summer.

If all goes to plan, Tommy C’s will reopen as Cash Brewing Company. Cash bought brewing equipment and planned to open a microbrewery in Port Orchard shortly before receiving an eviction notice at Bethel Centre.

Cash has been scrambling to find a location where he can open both a restaurant and brewery. He expects to sign a lease on the Old Town Bistro building early this week and has already applied for a microbrewery license at that address.

Tommy C’s is raising money via a campaign to help pay for relocation. Cash said renovating the Bistro building could cost about $75,000.

Cash plans to keep the restaurant open at its current location for as long as possible, but he needs to vacate by the end of February.

About 300 people watched the Super Bowl at the Tommy C’s Sunday.

“Everybody just had a blast,” Cash said.

Sk8Town, which shared the Bethel Centre building with Tommy C’s, plans to close Feb. 8. The roller derby league that used Sk8Town as its home rink is also searching for a new home.

Free tax help available across Kitsap

The Super Bowl is over, which must mean it’s tax time.

As in years past, a small army of volunteers is fanning out across Kitsap to provide free income tax help.

The Tax-Aide program, a joint effort of IRS and AARP, will have stations in Bremerton, Kingston, Port Orchard and Silverdale, and on Bainbridge Island. The service is available to people of all ages.

Volunteers can help tax payers prepare and file their returns, or just answer questions. They’re trained on most the tax law changes for 2014.

Full details, including times and dates for the various assistance locations, are posted below. You can download the PDF or print it out and stick it on your fridge: