Business

Business
3:25 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Ailing retailer Harry & David expected to survive, but shrink

A Harry & David retail store.
Tom Banse N3

One of the best known Northwest brands is on the verge of bond default or bankruptcy according to financial analysts. Gourmet food retailer Harry & David is one of the biggest employers in southern Oregon. It also has a network of anxious suppliers around the region.

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Business
6:06 pm
Thu March 10, 2011

Starbucks teams up with Green Mountain Coffee

Single-serve coffee is in vogue.  Seattle-based Starbucks says that's the motivation behind a long-awaited deal with Vermont's Green Mountain Coffee, which the companies signed today.  It's part of Starbuck's strategy for continued growth in the US and Canada. 

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Microsoft
2:40 am
Thu March 10, 2011

Xbox Kinect sales hit 10 million, setting Guinness World Record

Microsoft says during its first three months on the market, the Kinect sold at a pace of, on average, more than 130,000 per day.
AP

Microsoft's Xbox is breaking records in the gaming world. The company says it has already sold 10 million of its newfangled motion-controller device, the Kinect, since the product launched in November.

That's a world record.

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Coffee
8:30 am
Wed March 9, 2011

Starbucks unveils logo, celebrates 40 years

Starbucks baristas and employees at corporate headquarters celebrate new logo with CEO Howard Schultz on March 8, 2011.
Starbucks

In 40 years it went from a tiny store near Pike Place Market to a global brand, recognized around the world.  Starbucks is celebrating its  anniversary with a new, simplified logo that doesn’t have the word "Starbucks" or "coffee" on it. 

On Tuesday, a band played and hundreds of employees gathered and cheered as the logo was unveiled at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.  CEO Howard Schultz told the crowd there were many doubters in the beginning who didn’t think Starbucks could ever go beyond the West Coast. "But they were wrong," he said.

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Street scene
7:47 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Street food: Coming soon to a Seattle neighborhood near you

Dozens of food carts set up along city streets in Portland help create a colorful cultural experience.
stu_spivack Flickr

Portland – among other cities – has a thriving street food scene, with dozens of food carts and trucks serving up a wide range of cuisines. Seattle? Not so much …

Now, the Seattle City Council is expected to consider changes to the city’s restrictive food vending laws that would open up the public streets to food-on-the-go. 

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Defense
2:23 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

EADS won't challenge Boeing tanker contract

The outdated KC-10 refueling planes, like this one (left), will be replaced under Boeing's new contract.
AP

Boeing's chief rival for the lucrative Air Force tanker refueling contract ended a decade-long fight for over the work today, announcing it will not challenge the Defense Department's award for the project. 

The Herald of Everett's Michelle Dunlop reports EADS, the European parent company of Airbus, decided a challenge could not be mounted:

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Real Estate
7:22 am
Fri March 4, 2011

King County home prices down 7% compared to last year

A jogger and dog run past a house posted with a new price in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Foreclosures and uncertainty are clogging up the real estate market, and one local expert says prices won't go up again before next year.

The median price of a home in King County  is down nearly 7% compared to a year ago.  That's one of many tidbits in the mass of numbers released this month by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Sales data for February show the median sales price in Washington's most populous county down 7 percent compared to last year. The median price of a home in King County has dropped to $320-thousand dollars. That's about $23,000 dollars less than in February of last year. 

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Unemployment
4:38 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

State's jobless rate drops

Washington state added 11,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate in state dropped from 9.3%  in December to 9.1% at the start of the year.

It's the strongest month of job growth in three years, and the largest since November 2007, the month before the national recession began. The gains came outside the agriculture sector.

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Shellfish Harvesting
7:48 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Washington poised to get tougher with shellfish operators

This story has been updated to correct the dollar amount the state believes to have been poached.

Last summer, we brought you a story about gaps in the system that's supposed to keep Washington shellfish safe to eat. Now state lawmakers appear ready to get tougher with shellfish operators who violate food safety laws.

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Seattle Center Master Plan
5:25 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Improvements planned for Seattle Center Food Court

The Seattle Center Food Court, inside the Center House, February 28, 2011. It will close close July 1st for demolition. New food services are to be in place in time for the anniversary celebrations of the 1962 World's Fair.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It looks like the Seattle Center Food Court will soon be run by a concessionaire that has current contracts with Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo. 

The Seattle Center has announced a letter-of-intent with Lancer Hospitality. 

The space was built originally as an armory, completed in 1939.  Located at the base of the Space Needle, it was famous in the 1970s for the Bubbleator amusement ride (now in Burien) and for at that time newfangled food attractions, such as Orange Julius smoothies. 

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Defense
4:58 pm
Fri February 25, 2011

Boeing workers and unions celebrate winning bid for Air Force tanker contract

It's a day of celebration and pride at the Boeing plant in Everett, after the company won the $35 billion-dollar Air Force contract for a new aerial tanker fleet. 

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Defense
8:18 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Tanker deal is big win for Washington aerospace, 10 years in the making

An F-16 from the California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing aligns with the boom from a Boeing, KC-135 Stratotanker.
Ben Margot AP Photo

Aerospace workers in the Puget Sound region are celebrating.  So is the state's congressional delegation, which has fought for 10 years to win a lucrative contract to build a refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force.

The Pentagon's Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, says Boeing was "a clear winner" in the competition to build a multi-billion-dollar refueling tanker.  This means unless rival bidder EADS contests the decision, a newly revamped 767 line at Boeing's Everett factory will likely be busy for decades. 

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Agriculture
7:58 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Middle East among factors causing wheat price volatility for Washington farmers

The Middle East is one of the largest wheat-importing regions in the world but the tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.
Wikimedia Commons

The tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.  Northwest farmers and wheat traders are trying to hedge against the uncertainty.

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Bank Failure Fallout
8:08 am
Tue February 22, 2011

WaMu execs face federal lawsuit

Kerry Killinger, former Washington Mutual Bank president, chief executive office and chairman of the board, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Cliff Owen AP Photo

Several former Washington Mutual executives have been notified by the federal government that they'll be sued over their role in the collapse of the Seattle-based bank.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that sources familiar with the suit say the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation intends to seek more than a billion dollars in damages.

To be named in the suit are:

  • Kerry Killinger, former WaMu CEO 
  • Steve Rotella, former president and chief operating officer 
  • David Schneider, former head of the bank’s home load division

All three executives have denied wrongdoing.

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HUMANOSPHERE
1:37 pm
Fri February 18, 2011

Young biz entrepreneurs compete for social good

Cynthia Koenig and her Wello
Tom Paulson KPLU Humanosphere

If you walked into the dimly lit, wood-paneled room and listened to the fast-paced talk by Cynthia Koenig, you might be forgiven for thinking she just sounded like another one of those young, profit-oriented entrepreneurs looking for money from venture capitalists or other kinds of investors.

Koenig is, actually, one of those money-seeking young business types, except that the primary goal of her proposal is to make life a lot easier and safer for millions of poor women around the world.

Hence the Wello, a kind of goofy looking water-carrying wheel-barrel (no, that’s not a typo) that she and her colleague, Colm Fay, at the University of Michigan’s business school want to sell to poor people.

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