The Week in Business: Government Shutdown Pounds Washington State

Governor's office releases list of threatened services
 
 

Almost 13,000 Washington state residents didn’t receive a paycheck Jan. 11 as the partial federal government shutdown continues.

“These workers, many of them veterans, will once again try to sleep tonight with the insecurity of not knowing when their next paycheck is coming or how they will be able to pay their mortgages or rent,” Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement.

Inslee’s office said everything from basic food assistance to state fisheries to the Washington State Ferry Service could be affected.

A report by WalletHub found that Washington ranked No. 18 of states and the District of Columbia most affected by the shutdown. The District of Columbia is most affected, followed by New Mexico and Maryland. Nationwide, about 800,000 workers didn’t receive paychecks.

As of January 11, the shutdown has lasted 20 days. If it stretches into January 12, it will become the longest in U.S. History.

Microsoft-Kroger deal targets Amazon
Microsoft Corp.’s deal with grocer The Kroger Co. to create an enhanced digital shopping experience is an attempt to nip away at Amazon’s grocery ambitions.

The deal, announced earlier this week, involves two pilot stores in Redmond and Monroe, Ohio – 30 miles north of Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters – where shoppers can scan and find items based on their shopping lists and purchase history. The effort is similar to personalization technology used at Amazon.com and increasingly in Whole Foods stores, which Amazon purchased for $13.7 billion in 2017.

The stores’ digital shelving system will use digital displays instead of paper tags to “indicate everything from prices and promotions to nutritional and dietary information,” according to a press release issued by the companies.

While the concept could be rolled out nationwide to Kroger’s network of approximately 2,800 stores, the companies said they also plan to market the product to the entire grocery industry.

“Together, we will redefine the shopping experience for millions of customers at both Kroger and other retailers around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement.

The product, known as EDGE Shelf, will be unveiled at the National Retail Federation’s 2019 Retail Big Show January 13 in New York City.

Services for Blake Nordstrom
A community celebration in honor of the late Blake Nordstrom is set for 2 p.m. January 12 at Alaska Airlines Arena on the University of Washington campus. It is open to the public, but space is limited.

Nordstrom, co-president of the iconic, Seattle-based fashion retailer along with brothers Erik and Pete, died suddenly of complications from lymphoma January 2. Nordstrom, 58, had been diagnosed just a month earlier.

The company was co-founded by Nordstrom’s great-grandfather, John, in 1901. Nordstrom was the fourth-generation of the family to lead the retailer. The company operates 116 full-line stores and 244 Nordstrom Rack locations in the U.S. and Canada.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that remembrances in Blake Nordstrom’s name go to United Way of King County or University of Washington rowing. Nordstrom graduated from the University of Washington in 1982.

The arena is at 3870 Montlake Boulevard N.E. Doors open at 1 p.m.

New life for Old Spaghetti Factory
The iconic Old Spaghetti Factory building on Seattle’s waterfront will soon be home to a co-working space.

The company, called Spaces, will move into the building – now called the A&D – in the fourth quarter of 2019, reports the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The Old Spaghetti Factory, which is based in Portland, Oregon, opened at the north waterfront location, 2801 Elliott Avenue -- in 1970 and operated there for 46 years before closing in December 2016 after the building was sold. It was the chain’s second restaurant.

The casual dining chain still operates three restaurants in the Puget Sound region – in Lynnwood, Tukwila and Tacoma – as well as locations in Vancouver and Spokane.

Female entrepreneurs thrive in Washington state
Washington state ranks No. 4 in the country as the best state for female entrepreneurs, according to a study from FitSmallBusiness.com, a resource for small businesses.

The company measured the general business climate, the number of female-owned businesses, economic and financial health for women and safety and well-being for women. Washington state has almost 210,000 female-owned businesses, according to a recent American Express report.

“The tech attraction in the Pacific Northwest has produced some incredible startups, and (there is) no corporate tax rate and a higher overall ranking for female economic and well-being,” the report said.

Texas ranked No. 1, followed by Ohio and Minnesota. Hawaii ranked last.

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