The Biz Buzz

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Archives: Feb. 2013

Feb.
28th

Local small biz hiring down, paychecks up in monthly survey; owners nationwide favor increase in minimum wage

Small business hiring was down 0.5 percent and the size of the average paycheck rose 0.2 percent in the Puget Sound area in February, according to online payroll firm SurePayroll.

The company released the figures Thursday as part of its monthly Small Business Scorecard.

Nationwide, according to the survey, hiring was down 0.1 percent and the average paycheck up 0.1 percent. Small-business owners’ optimism is level at 59 percent, two points higher than last month.

“We continue to see low optimism numbers due to a new wave of uncertainty for small-business owners,” said company CEO and President Michael Alter. “We

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Feb.
26th

Forbes gives Hotel Murano 4 stars

Awarding four stars, Forbes Travel Guide on Tuesday named Tacoma’s Hotel Murano to its 55th annual list of Star Award-winning hospitality establishments.

Hotel Murano this becomes the first hotel in Tacoma to be recognized by Forbes and one of only four in Washington to receive four stars.

The hotel will be showcased with all of the 2013 winners on Startle.com, the online home of Forbes Travel Guide, according to a release today from Murano parent Provenance Hotels.

In honor of the award, guests checking in Tuesday afternoon will be welcomed with a flute of celebratory champagne.

“We are incredibly honored

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Feb.
26th

Foreclosures up in Tacoma; 90-day deliquencies down since June, according to California firm

The rate of foreclosure among outstanding mortgage loans was 3.95 percent in December last year, an increase of 1.77 percentage points compared to December, 2011, according to data released Tuesday.

The rate in December, 2011, was 2.18 percent, said CoreLogic, a California-based data analytics firm. Foreclosure activity in Tacoma was higher than the national foreclosure rate, which was 2.96 percent for December, 2012.

Also in Tacoma, the mortgage delinquency rate increased. According to CoreLogic data for December, 9.67 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 9.26 percent for the same period last year, representing an

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Feb.
25th

Informational picketing set for Thursday by Tacoma General nurses

The Washington State Nurses Association and its local unit at Tacoma General Hospital have announced a session of informational picketing scheduled for Thursday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. near the MultiCare campus on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Tacoma.

“Negotiations have come to a standstill,” the association said on its website.

According to the association, the issues being contended include a defined benefit pension plan and the ability of nurses to voice concerns about their medical insurance.

Also, wage increases being proposed by management are “below market,” according to the association.

“Our Attorney is currently working with the

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Feb.
25th

Construction slated for March at Green Firs in University Place

With the Shari’s restaurant demolished to the ground at the Green Firs shopping center in University Place, you might be wondering about a replacement.

Brian Franklin, president of Bellevue development firm PMF Investments, said Monday that construction may begin as early as the second week of March on a 6,200-square-foot structure that will house “three or four tenants, national tenants.”

One of those tenants, he said, will be from the food-service sector. He was unable to name the possible tenants because of nondisclosure agreements and because negotiations are still being conducted.

The building will enclose a drive-thru facility, with access

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Feb.
22nd

Seattle-based cruise company doubling its fleet

Windstar Cruises, a Seattle-based cruise ship company, is doubling its fleet by acquiring three small, high-end cruise ships from Seabourn Cruises.

The three ships, the Seabourn Pride, the Seabourn Spirit and the Seabourn Legend, are the first ships in the Windstar fleet not equipped with sails.

The three ships will be delivered to Windstar over a two-year period. The first, the Seabourn Pride will be renovated and will be rechristened with a new name and begin sailing in May 2014.  The company will take possession of the Legend in April 2015 and the Spirit in May 2015.

Seabourn said it

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Feb.
22nd

Gas prices up nearly eight cents for the week

South Sound gas prices escalated by nearly eight cents in the last week, but some energy experts are predicting that prices may moderate soon.

In the Tacoma area Friday, the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gas was $3.75 a gallon. That’s up 7.6 cents from Friday last week according to The News Tribune’s Gas Deal Finder.

Prices here have risen 38 cents a gallon since Jan. 22.  But that’s less than the 44.8 cents a gallon that gas prices have jumped nationwide.

Patrick DeHaan, gas price analysts for GasBuddy.com said he expects that

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Feb.
22nd

Midwest winter storm affecting few flights at Sea-Tac

A winter storm that swept through the Great Plains and into the upper Midwest brought airport delays at airports from Kansas City to Cleveland today.  But those delays had little effect on flights to and from those airports at Sea-Tac Airport.

Only one eastbound flight — a United Airlines flight to Denver — was canceled at Sea-Tac through early afternoon Friday.  A few flights from the East and Midwest were showing minor arrival delays, but none was canceled.

The storm is moving eastward.  It is expected to deliver another weekend of winter nastiness to cities such as New York and

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