The Blackstone Group has purchased 1,500 homes at a rate of 10 per day, just in the last year. This Wall Street firm targets properties under $300,000 in King and Snohomish counties, and pays cash for them. Realtors credit the lack of available inventory has toked demand and pushed prices higher in the Seattle area. Starbucks has opened its first store inside “Downtown Disney” in the Anaheim, CA Disneyland theme park. The shop will feature a 10-foot video installation with interactive touch screens.
Costco’s sales fell short during the holiday season, but CEO Craig Jelinek isn’t worried. He’s seen a huge improvement on restaurant items in the wholesale store selling, which means the restaurant economy is improving. Columbia Bank is also seeing significant growth for spending and expansion this year. The Northwest business makes numerous loans to businesses, and as anyone who has walked around Seattle lately to see all the construction, businesses are booming.
Papa Murphy’s Pizza is gearing up to take the company public. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the Vancouver-based company is hoping to raise about $70 million from and IPO. Right now the company has just over 1,400 locations, but in it’s SEC filing estimated that could grow to 4,500. Starbucks is updating their mobile app to allow customers to tip when paying via their smartphones. You will be able to tip up to two hours after paying for your order. The company says about one of every 10 purchases is now made with a mobile device.
Columbia Bank’s Business Insight: Choosing the right banker.
When choosing a banker, find someone within your area of expertise. This might seem obvious, but many people don’t ask. If you're in the tech sector, work with a banker who knows the industry, its terminology, its nuances, and anticipates obstacles and industry-wide issues. Discuss this with your banker to determine the best fit. Working together will cultivate a productive, lasting relationship. Whether you're an established business requiring financial expertise, or an entrepreneur navigating the challenges of a new venture, the first step is asking the right questions to ensure the best match for long-term success.
Boeing is stalling it’s decision on where to build the 787-10 until later this year. The “Dash 10” is the largest version of the Dreamliner, and even though the decision was initially expected to be made in the first quarter of this year, all signs are pointing to a delay. Until now, it has been assumed that the assembly would be done in South Carolina, but the delay opens the possibility that it might now be built in Everett. This morning, Amazon announced that it will be raising the price for the Amazon Prime service. Prime allows users to get free shipping on select items, and starting next week will increase from $79 a year to $99 a year.
Pioneer Square’s restaurant industry has been booming lately. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that nearly 20 food-related businesses have opened or signed leases since the beginning of last year. No doubt chefs are attracted by the Square’s historic architecture, and the low rents. Google is changing its hiring standards to focus less on GPA’s and test scores, and more on these five attributes: leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability, and loving to learn.