Issaquah retailers prepare for Black Friday rush

November 20, 2012

The day after Thanksgiving, long before the sun rises, open season for bargains starts at retailers throughout Issaquah and beyond.

Black Friday sends shoppers pinging from store to store like a pinball in search of deals — a 32-inch LCD television for $147 at Target, perhaps, or a Blu-ray player for $39.99 at Best Buy. Consumers brave predawn darkness, long lines and sharp elbows to score early-bird bargains.

The boost to retailers’ bottom lines could also offer a jolt to city coffers. Popular Black Friday destinations — including Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Fred Meyer, Target and, of course, Issaquah-based Costco — lure consumers from throughout the region.

Issaquah is a retail hub on the Eastside, and city officials hope the holiday rush resuscitates a flat year for spending. Overall, sales tax revenue forms a key piece in the city budget — a larger share than property tax revenue and permit fees, other main sources of dollars.

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Costco CEO tells president not to raise middle-class taxes as ‘fiscal cliff’ nears

November 20, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 20, 2012

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told President Barack Obama not to raise taxes on the middle class, after the president called Jelinek to discuss the looming “fiscal cliff” — tax hikes and spending cuts poised to go into effect Jan. 1.

Jelinek, Issaquah-based Costco’s CEO since January and a longtime company executive, offered support for a compromise between Obama and Congress to avoid a tax increase for middle-class taxpayers. The president called Jelinek on Nov. 17, in a broad effort to reach out to the business community.

Costco employs more than 115,000 workers in the United States, including about 2,700 people in Issaquah. Jelinek told the president the company’s middle-class employees and customers — particularly small business owners — “have borne the brunt of the recession.”

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Chef Tom Douglas cooks up Issaquah stop

November 13, 2012

Renowned Seattle chef Tom Douglas is due in Issaquah just before Thanksgiving, to promote a cookbook packed with recipes for treats, including a famed coconut cream pie.

Douglas is scheduled to sign copies of “The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle” at Costco, 1801 10th Ave. N.W., from 5-6:30 p.m. Nov. 19.

The cookbook contains 125 recipes for cakes, cookies, ice creams, pastries, pies, sandwiches, tarts and more. Food Network star — and recent Issaquah Costco visitor — Giada de Laurentiis called the doughnuts in the book the “best thing I ever ate.”

Douglas, proprietor of a dozen Seattle restaurants and with more on the way, is the 2012 James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur Award winner — the top honor in the United States for a restaurateur.

Timothy Eagan to sign books in Issaquah

November 13, 2012

In the late 19th century, Seattle photographer Edward Curtis captured enduring photos of American Indians — and then the once-celebrated photographer faded into history.

Author Timothy Egan, a correspondent for The New York Times, chronicles the colorful Curtis in the biography “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher.” Eagan is scheduled to sign copies at Costco, 1801 10th Ave. N.W., from 1-3 p.m. Nov. 17.

Eagan received the National Book Award for Nonfiction for “The Worst Hard Time,” a 2006 account about people surviving the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. “The Worst Hard Time” also received a Washington State Book Award.

Costco looms large in race between Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

October 30, 2012

Pundits claim the presidential contest could hinge on so-called Walmart moms, but another discount chain is often mentioned on the campaign trail, too.

Jim Sinegal

Both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney embraced Issaquah-based Costco on the stump, albeit for different reasons.

Support from Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal allows Obama to highlight a business success in a feeble economy. The affluent Romney’s affinity for Costco allows the former Massachusetts governor to project a more down-to-earth image.

“Costco’s story is the American story,” Sinegal proclaimed to delegates and dignitaries in a September speech at the Democratic National Convention focused on job creation and the economy.

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Liberty student details differences between Sweden, United States

October 23, 2012

Veronica Austin
Liberty High School

Helena Frestadius Liberty High School

When asked what she misses most about Sweden, exchange student Helena Frestadius lists a deluge of delicacies — “my mom’s food,” she said, elaborating. “She makes meatballs, and she used to make these cinnamon rolls.”

Another longing? “Chocolate!”

Despite our comparatively bland food offerings, Helena has enjoyed her time in the United States thus far.

“You have everything in Target and Costco,” she said, surprised. “Everything is big here.”

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Pet owners ask retailers to pull dog treats

October 23, 2012

Pacific Northwest dog owners joined a petition on Change.org to call on Issaquah-based Costco, Target, Safeway and other retailers to remove jerky-style dog treats from shelves as the federal Food and Drug Administration investigates the treats.

The petition is available at www.change.org/dangerousdogtreats.

Petitioners said the FDA has received reports of more than 2,200 cases of pet illness, including 361 deaths, linked to chicken jerky dog treats made in China.

Issaquah mayor eyes property tax hike

October 9, 2012

Issaquah homeowners can expect to pay about $5 more in property taxes next year, if City Council members adopt a 1 percent rate hike to fund long-term projects.

The property tax increase, proposed Oct. 1 by Mayor Ava Frisinger, is not expected to generate much next year. If enacted, city officials expect to raise only $69,707 — a drop in a proposed $35 million general fund budget.

The decision to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, 1 percent, is projected to cost the average homeowner $4.75 per year.

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Recall includes nut butters at Costco, Trader Joe’s

October 9, 2012

Costco, Target and Trader Joe’s recalled nut butters in recent days due to potential salmonella contamination in the products.

Between June 11 and Sept. 2, health officials reported 35 people sickened by salmonella to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The people sickened due to suspected contamination include a Spokane boy and a Thurston County boy.

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Salmon Days Festival spawns road closures

October 2, 2012

Motorists should prepare for road closures throughout the Salmon Days Festival.

Expect closures on the following streets from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 6-7:

  • Front Street from Newport Way Southwest to Northwest Gilman Boulevard
  • East Sunset Way from Second Avenue Southeast to Newport Way Northwest
  • Rainier Boulevard South and First Avenue Southeast from East Sunset Way to the Issaquah Community Center
  • Southeast Bush Street and Southeast Andrews Street from Second Avenue Southeast to Front Street South
  • First Place Northeast and First Avenue Northwest from West Sunset Way to Northwest Dogwood Street

Expect closures on the following streets from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 to accommodate the Salmon Days Grande Parade:

  • 12th Avenue Northwest from Northwest Maple Street to Northwest Gilman Boulevard
  • Northeast Gilman Boulevard and Northeast Dogwood Street from Third Avenue Northwest to Front Street North
  • Rainier Boulevard North from Northwest Dogwood Street to Northwest Juniper Street.

Parking near downtown Issaquah is also a challenge during the festival, and Salmon Days visitors should consider the event shuttle.

Shuttles depart from the Issaquah Transit Center, 1050 17th Ave. N.W., Costco corporate headquarters parking lot, 11th Avenue Northwest and Lake Drive, and Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

The cost for a shuttle is $2 round trip for adults; children 12 and younger ride for free. Parking is free at the shuttle departure points.

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