The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Aug. 2008

Aug.
27th

Luxury train to Mount Rainier halts operations

The ailing economy apparently has taken another tourism industry victim.

GrandLuxe Rail Journeys, a luxury train that visits Mount Rainier National Park via Tacoma Rail tracks as part of a Northwest rail tour, is shutting down.

Notices on travel agent Web sites and in on-line travel bulletins said the Colorado-based rail operation’s owner, Tom Rader, told employees that the trains would halt their journeys Thursday.

In a letter to clients, Rader reportedly told customers: “We are financially unable to continue operations.”

Neither Rader nor agents for GrandLuxe were available for confirmation.

One of GrandLuxe’s high end trains was in Eatonville today where buses were to take customers on a tour of Mount Rainier.

Tacoma Rail Interim Superintendent Alan Hardy said the rail tour operator has told Tacoma Rail it will store its train on Tacoma Rail tracks until it has more definite plans for the future.

Read more »

Aug.
27th

Time is money, especially for retailers. These days, Canadians aren’t willing to wait

Oh, those patient Canadians.


Not any more.


A story in yesterday’s Toronto Globe & Mail outlined a survey saying Canadian shoppers aren’t likely to stand in line as much as they once did.


"Canadian consumers are abandoning their shopping carts, delaying purchases and leaving stores, public transit stops and restaurants in significant numbers," the marketing research firm Maritz Research Canada said, offering the results of its online survey.


A large majority – 86 percent – of participants said they had walked out of a store frustrated and empty-handed because they were tired of waiting for

Read more »

Aug.
27th

Consulting firm ranks Vancouver fourth in the world

Vancouver, B.C. ranks fourth on Mercer Consulting’s new list of the best cities to live in the world.


Our neighbor to the north earned 107.6 points on Mercer’s ranking system that rates New York City at 100 points.



The Mercer index is designed to give international companies an idea of the environment into which they’ve sending their expat managers on overseas assignments.


The system, based on the results, seems to value highly such factors as political stability, personal safety, public services and health and sanitation.


Ranking first was Zurich

Read more »

Aug.
27th

Olympia Brewery is once again for sale

Olympia’s iconic Olympia Brewery building and grounds are once more on the market.


The landmark brewery closed in 2003, and its then-owner, Miller Brewing Co., sold it to an investor. The brewery enjoyed a brief life as the home of a bottled water company, but has been unused since that venture failed.


California owner Barney Ng is asking a total of $40 million for the brewery and its grounds.


The 130-acre property in view of I-5 is being offered by the Olympia office of commercial real estate company Colliers International.


If the property fails to

Read more »

Aug.
27th

Alaska to unveil new livery on 737

Alaska Airlines will commemorate the retirement of its last MD-80 airliner and its move to an all-Boeing 737 fleet Thursday with the unveiling of a new paint job on a newly-delivered Boeing 737-800.


The special livery will be applied only to a single 737-800 that is replacing the last of the airline’s MD-80s.


Alaska isn’t allowing any sneek peeks, but expect a paint scheme that somehow commemorates Alaska and Boeing’s tight relationship.


Plane spotter and photographer Andrew Sieber captured the new plane on the ground in Seattle. You’ll find his photos here on his Flickr page.


Read more »

Aug.
27th

Seattle company one of the first to offer “checkpoint-friendly” laptop bags

Seattle luggage maker Tom Binh is one of the first companies to offer travelers a “checkpoint-friendly” laptop bag that allows air passengers to keep their computers stowed through security checkpoints.


The Transportation Security Administration earlier this month relaxed its rule requiring laptops to be removed from their bags for inspection if they were carried in so-called “checkpoint-friendly” bags.


The new rule allows travelers to keep their laptops zipped up if the bag has no zippers, clasps or other items that interfere with a clear x-ray view of the laptop.



The

Read more »

Aug.
26th

Midwest Airlines adds more economy seats

Midwest Airlines, which gained a loyal following in the nation’s midsection with wider seats and warm chocolate chip cookies, is cutting back on one of its signature amenities to bolster revenues.


Midwest, which flies from Sea-Tac to Kansas City and Milwaukee, is adding additional seats to a majority of its rows on its Boeing 717s.


The airline will now have 12 rows configured with five seats across in a 3-by-2 configuration and 10 rows of four-across seats in its traditional 2-by-2 layout.


The airline is renaming its roomier seats as Midwest Class and charging a premium of

Read more »

Aug.
26th

Southwest Airlines trims its Seattle schedule

Southwest Airlines’ new wintertime flight schedule shows the profitable Dallas-based carrier trimming 196 flights from its daily schedule while adding only six.


Those schedule changes, effective Jan. 11, include cancellation of Southwest’s non-stop flight from Seattle to Nashville and elimination of two daily flights between Sea-Tac and Chicago’s Midway Airport. Two flights will remain on that routing.


The 190-flight decrease represents about 5.6 percent of Southwest’s daily 3,400 flights.


Most major airlines are cutting flights during the slack winter travel season. Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King told the Dallas Morning News that the cutbacks would help the airline

Read more »