Business news

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU

Starbucks stocks have surged. That's thanks in part to the German financial company Deutsche Bank, which has resumed its coverage of the Seattle coffee giant and is saying investors should buy the stock. 

It's just one sign of confidence in the rebound of the company, as its executives outlined its latest growth strategies.

An annual love affair with coffee and other addictive treats

Ted S. Warren / AP

Here's some good news in a down economy.  Michelle Dunlop writes in The Herald of Everett that Boeing is hiring 100 people a week and has been doing it for the past several months.

Dunlop writes:

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU

One of Seattle's most famous employers is moving. City leaders are celebrating…because online-retailing giant is only moving a few miles across town. 

The new headquarters complex is large enough to house several thousand employees.

Documents surfacing from an ongoing lawsuit are raising questions about the demotion of a Hanford whistleblower and whether a top manager with the Department of Energy was involved.

AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile want to merge. Boards of the mobile giants agreed to a $39 billion deal, announced Sunday, according to TechFlash reporter Greg Lamm:

The purchase, still subject to approval by regulatory boards, would create the largest mobile phone company in theU.S. If the deal closes, it would combine the nation's second- and fourth-largest wireless carriers, creating a company with nearly 130 million subscribers, and could lead to higher rates for consumers, experts said.

Lamm writes that until quite recently T-Mobile, the Seattle area's remaining major wireless firm, was considered to be in merger talks with Sprint Nextel. 

Columbia Power Technologies

An Oregon-based alternative energy company is one step closer to generating electricity from the ocean's waves. The company has launched a prototype wave energy buoy. For testing, the startup chose the gentler waters of Puget Sound.

Japan's nuclear reactor crisis has sharpened the debate over where the U.S. will store its radioactive waste in the long-term. Tuesday the State of Washington and other plaintiffs will argue in federal court that the Obama administration should not abandon the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada.

The earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks in Japan are having a ripple effect on the trans-Pacific seafood trade.

In Seattle, Sushi Kappo Tamura chef and owner Taichi Kitamura is worried now that a big chunk of the Japanese fishing industry damaged or destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. Along with sushi, Kitamura's menu also features some traditional recipes that use Japanese fish.

"Consistency in availability is very important because you have a menu and you have to keep certain items on the menu," Kitamura says.

Kitamura is also worried about the safety of the seafood he imports. South Korea, Singapore and other Asian countries are already testing Japanese food imports for radiation. Japanese authorities say the levels of radiation released from the crippled nuclear reactors don't pose a public health risk. But Kitamura says skittish customers might decide to stay away.

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The nuclear crisis in Japan could have repercussions for a proposed nuclear enrichment plant in Idaho. A Congressional subcommittee will hear testimony on nuclear safety, just as other countries re-examine their policies on nuclear power.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Lawmakers expect to get more bad news tomorrow when the new state revenue forecast comes out. If the budget shortfall grows, pressure will intensify to find new sources of tax dollars to offset some of the cuts. Maybe gambling.

That's what owners of the state's non-tribal casinos are betting on. They're ready with a proposal to allow video slot machines in off-reservation mini-casinos – something they say will benefit the state’s coffers.


Unemployment ticked downward in Washington state in February as hiring picked up. The changes were small, but the job market seems to have “turned the corner,” according to the State's Employment Security department. 

Washington's chief labor economist Dave Wallace, spoke about the fresh data released Tuesday. Wallace says the hard-hit construction industry showed surprisingly strong gains regionally and nationally:

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.

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. 


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.


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.

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. 


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:

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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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OSHA Training Institute, Southwest Education Center /

When you leave home for work, you probably assume you’ll live to come back at the end of the day.  For 86 workers, that didn’t happen last year.


In a widely expected move, Microsoft and Nokia have announced they're joining forces on the smartphone front. Nokia has long been a leader in the cell phone industry, but has fallen behind Apple and Google in the smartphone arena. Microsoft has been playing catch-up with its Windows Phone 7. The new partnership melds Nokia hardware with Microsoft software in what the companies hope will be a winning combination. 


Final bids were submitted Thursday by Boeing and Airbus' parent company, EADS for the contract to build the Air Force's in-flight refueling tanker. The Air Force could announce the winner as early as next month, but the award is likely to be sidetracked by politics and protests.

Image courtesy of Boeing

It's been a big week for aerospace in the Puget Sound region. The Boeing company turned in its final bid for the air force refueling tanker on Thursday. CEO Jim McNerney took his strongest stance yet for building a 737 successor. And earlier this week, analysts and suppliers heard briefings on the state of the industry at an aerospace convention in Lynnwood