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Newspaper Archive of
The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
January 28, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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January 28, 2009
 

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41. A6 WEDNESDAY~ JANUARY 28~ ~OO9 THE ISSAQUAH PRESS BUSINESS 41. AtWork! is feeling recession bite BY JEFF RICHARDS With market prices for recycla- ble goods dropping along with everything else, local recycling centers have struggled to maintain the status quo. Hardest hit has been AtWork!, which saw its revenue drop by about 75 percent in the first quar- ter of the fiscal year. Still, both AtWork! and Waste Management are accepting all recyclahle goods, though AtWork! is holding onto shredded office paper until the markets improve and it becomes profitable to sell it. Waste Management, which han- dles the recycling for all of the city of Issaquah except for South Cove/Greenwood Point, has seen the cost of recycling inch close to the cost of disposing garbage and waste, but that hasn't and should- n't affect its recycling practices in the future, Community Education Director Rita Smith said. Formed in 1998, AtWork! employs people with disabilities for work in three commercial enter- prises: landscaping, packaging and assembly, and recycling. The AtWork! Recycle Center in Issaquah provides free recycling and pays for turned-in aluminum. The recycling center employs 16 people with disabilities. Normally, their combined wages are $4,000 to $5,000, but in December, with $903 in sales, their combined wages were $1,100. "This is a big reduction in pay and very hard on the people with developmental disabilities who work in recycling," said Christine Brandt, chief executive officer of AtWork!. "They get paid when there's work to do, but there hasn't been as much work to do." Brandt said the reason for the sharp drop in revenue is not due to a decrease in how much recycled goods they receive, which remained constant or increased during the first quarter of the fiscal year, but solely due to the crash in market prices. Smith said officials at Waste Management are concerned about BY GREG FARRAR Berkeley Smith, an eight-year veteran employee of AtWork!, stands next to a mountain of recycled cardboard while throwing pieces onto a conveyor belt to a compactor, which compresses the pieces into 1800-pound bales. the prices for recycling, but they have still managed to find markets for their commodities. "We experienced a honeymoon the last several years with excep- tionally high markets," she said. "That's just what the market does, though. It goes up and down." What may help offset the loss in revenue for AtWork! is the inclu- sion of electronic recyclables to its list of accepted items. Beginning this month, AtWork! became the local drop-off location for the state's Covered Electronic Products Program, which pays companies like AtWork! for recy- cling electronic goods. Brandt said she expects the corn- pany to make $18,000 on electron- ics this fiscal year, which ends in September. "This came at the perfect time," she said. "It's one of our goals to expand in the future, so we're really trying to stay strong through thi~." Ultimately, the goal of recycling is to keep the commodities out of the landfills, and that is still hap- pening, Smith said. "Recycling, in the long term, still makes a lot of economic sense," she said. "People shouldn't assume that material has no value when it has little value." Reach intern Jeff Richards at 392-6434, ext. 236, or isspress@isspress.com. Rood still causing struggles BY CHANTEI, I,E T,USEBRINK Owners of Gilman Square shops are asking for you to help keep them from closing and aid them in their recovery. "Speaking for all of the tenants at Gilman Square, we need to let the entire community know who we are, what we are going through and that we are open for business," said Patty Green, owner of Sisters Antiques. "We are all cash-flow businesses and without our wonder- ful customers, we cannot survive." The six businesses are Lombardi's Neighborhood Italian Restaurant, Casual Dining Counterstools and Dinettes, West Coast Armory, Sisters Antiques, Leathers Home Furnishings & Accessories and Graybeard's Gilman Antique Gallery. All are open except Lombardi's. The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with city officials and the business own- ers, hosted a tour of the property to view damage Jan. 20. City and chamber officials also unveiled plans to aid the businesses and asked for community support. "We need to coalesce around these local vendors and help them in any way we can," said Larry Ishmael, interim president of the chamber. "We want to make sure these businesses are able to con- tinue, because they bring revenue into the city, tax dollars into the city and add to the vibrant econo- my that we have." Chamber officials have set up a donation account with Issaquah Community Bank to help cover immediate needs, such as employee salaries. The accounts will hopefully ward off immediate closures and help the businesses get by in already-trying economic times, Ishmael said. City officials are helping busi- ness owners access flood damage assessment information, and nav- igate state and federal aid. During the tour, business own- ers estimated Oat t~er#was more than $600,000 in damage done to the six shops from flooding earlier this month. In some businesses, water rose to nearly two feet. Damages could easily exceed early estimates once insurance appraisers and the property own- ers finally arrive and take an offi- cial accounting. All of the busi- nesses experienced some product loss and damage. But this isn't the first time the property has flooded; the proper- ty last severely flooded in 1995, business owners said. "This is the second major flood event we ve had and nothing has changed," said Mitch Setlow, owner of Leathers. "There has been no mitigation, no resolution to the problem." Correcting flooding on Issaquah Creek isn t as hard as building the Alaska Pipeline or solving flood- ing near the Gulf, he said. "This is a stream that overflows every few years for a few minutes, but it destroys businesses and costs millions of dollars," he said. At the most recent City Council meeting, Mayor Ava Frisinger said she has directOi city officials to look into possible solutions. In areas where severe flooding occurs, the city has purchased property or settled on terms to mitigate the creek. Since 1994, city officials have purchased or dedicated nearly 100 acres of streamside property to preserve open space and prevent new development in the floodplain, according to information from the city's Public Works Department. Nineteen flood improvement projects along Issaquah Creek, Tibbetts Creek and the east fork of Issaquah Creek have been com- pleted since 1995, Public Works records show. Those projects have cost city and other state agencies about $10 million. The most recent project was complet- ed in 2007 and provided food mit- igation for commercial buildings near Swedish Medical Center and Lake Sammamish State Park. In addition to businessos in Gilman Square, Schuck's Auto Supply and Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell also experi- enced varying degrees of damage. Schuck's is currently closed while the fast food restaurant is open. Schuck's has been closed since the flood and several semi-trucks with inventory and supplies were in the parking lot Jan. 26. However, a team is at the store making repairs and stocking store shelves, an employee said. The store was expected to re-open Jan. 28. Lombardi's closed its doors for the month to make repairs. The closure will cost roughly $100,000 in revenue. "This is the fourth flood in 20 years," said owner Diane Symms. "They've mitigated the creek north of here, but here we sit." Symms said she expects to open her doors to the public Jan. 31, with a new seasonal menu and a new section on its menu -- Italian steaks and chops. However, three of the business- es -- Sisters Antiques, Casual Dining Counterstools and Dinettes, and Graybeard's Gilman Antique Gallery -- don't have flood insur- ance policies to help them make repairs as quickly as Lombardi's. Instead, those businesses are counting on support from govern- ment aid and agencies, like Federal Emergency Management Agency. "I have probably an $80,000 to $90,000 hole in my world," said Lee Huffaker, owner of Casual Dining Counterstools and Dinettes. "We need people to support their local businesses. If any local busi- nesses needed it, we need it now, especially with no flood insurance. We're not looking for a handout. We just want to stay in business." City and chamber officials are also asking residents and other local businesses to donate what- ever time or money they can to help aid with cleanup. "We are moving forward," Setlow said. "No one here is in victim mode. We're open and we want to do business." fi i I l m i m i i i II IIIIII l i m i I % I Buy any entr6e and get one FREE! i With the purchase of two beverages. I ... I IOn your next visit, save on any I Ibreakfast, lunch or dinnerii I ientr6e and enjoy. I I I Real Breakfast2,4/7.' I I . Valid only at Issaquah location. Not valid with any other coupon or offers. Coupon has no cash value. No change returned. One . | coupon per visit. One coupon per check per visit. Taxes and gratuity not included. No substitutions. Alcoholic beverages not II included. Valid at participating restaurants only. Selection and prices may vary. 0nly original coupon accepted. Photocopied __ J WALK ABOUT SHOES Comfort Shoes for Men and Women G O I N G OUT OF BUSINESS! FINAL THREE DAYS 0% OF EVERYTHING GOES SHOES, ACCESSORIES & DISPLAY FIXTURES GILMAN VILLAGE 317 NW GILMAN BLVD. #25 Lack of Confidence No Motivation WINTER CLOSEOUT SALE I I I 25% off- Members , I 20% off- Non Members , IBest School Year Ever! I a d/agnosbc" " evaluabon ~~ I [_a diagnostic evaluation] | ~. LEARNI~GI~CENI~TERm- 1450 N'WGilm~ N~LOCATION ! I ....... Issaquah, WA 1915 140th Ave NE, D3 I i ~ tour cnua can warn. ___ ~ (QFC Shopping Center) Bellevue, WA 98005 ! L__ Imdepndenlyined pelated" msm m ~& (222)292-...38...3_ ...] $100 off a diagnostic evaluation Mek; , I ON ALL, , I HORSE TACK,' , Issaquah's Quality Meats Since 1910 ] THROUGH FEB, 28 , Home of the Cowboy Rib Steak & Baseball Top Sirloin I I Rib Roast Fresh Turkeys * Ducks Geese Roasts Crown Pork Roast Leg of Lamb Rack of Lamb Steaks I 20+ Varieties of Fresh Sausages Our own Beef Jerky, Turkey Jerky, Pepperoni & Chicken Pepperoni I FDI: 1-Pound Lean 1I I~lmim Ground Beef [I No purchase necessary. Fresh ground here daily. I With coupon. Limit one per customer, I I Open Mon - Sat 9-6 I 85 Front St. N Issaquah 425.392,3131.