Retail and Labor & Employment

Remodeling is underway for the Tri-Cities’ second Bath & Body Works store. The store at Richland’s Vintner Square off Queensgate Drive will be in the western corner unit of the building that also houses Starbucks, Jamba Juice, GameStop and Fiesta Mexican Restaurant.

Bath & Body Works store to open in Richland next year

Construction is underway on the Tri-Cities’ second Bath & Body Works store, planned for the Queensgate area of Richland. The company’s corporate office said the store is scheduled to open in early 2019 at 2471 Queensgate Drive, Suite A7. The developer of the Vintner Square property, Bowman Development Co., narrowed the store’s opening date to…

As the lone regional, indoor shopping center, the Columbia Center mall in Kennewick fills with shoppers each holiday season. The National Retail Federation’s predicts a 4.1 percent increase in consumer spending for the 2018 holiday shopping season compared to last year.

Retail outlook strong for holiday season

Tri-City retailers are optimistic about the upcoming holiday shopping season. “Our market usually outperforms the national trend due to our strong local economy,” said Barbara Johnson, general manager of Columbia Center mall in Kennewick. “It’s always kind of like looking into a crystal ball. I’m expecting consumer spending locally to be up 4.5 percent over…

Q&A with Barbara Johnson

Brief background of your business: Columbia Center is the largest regional shopping center in Eastern Washington and Oregon, with more than 125 stores and restaurants. Columbia Center was built in the Tri-Cities in 1969 and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the shopping center in 2019.   Number of employees you oversee: 55   How…

After 100 years as a family business, Kennewick’s True Value Washington Furniture and Hardware owner and general manager John Gravenslund has decided to pare back the store’s inventory and hours.

Kennewick hardware store changing gears after 100 years

The owner of a 100-year-old retail mainstay in downtown Kennewick is winding down operations. “Age and time and generations running out; the business is healthy, happy and doing great, but it’s just time for us to change course,” said John Gravenslund, owner and general manager of True Value Washington Furniture and Hardware. After three generations…

NOV_Jones retail

Tri-City retailers may rejoice this holiday shopping season

By D. Patrick Jones It’s November and ’tis the season. Holiday decorations, a parade of ads, the Hallmark channel showing lots of Christmas trees and, of course, the ever-present music reminds us that it is time to shop. For most retailers, as this quarter goes, so go the results for the year. So, a look…

Rosa Reyna, an employment specialist at Goodwill Industries of the Columbia, shows off the job board in the Employment Connection Center in Pasco during a recent open house. The local nonprofit has placed 571 people in jobs and assisted 3,439 people from January to September.

Local unemployment rate hits lowest point in 28 years

By Jennifer L. Drey It’s a good time to be a job seeker in the Tri-Cities. The unemployment rate for Benton and Franklin counties hit a record low in September, dropping to 4.1 percent and marking its lowest point in the 28 years kept on record by the state’s Employment Security Department. The figure was…

Silvia Lugo, communications and outreach consultant with the state Employment Security Department spoke at a recent Ask The Experts panel about the state’s paid family and medical leave insurance program. The panel was hosted by the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce .

Employers preparing for state’s new paid family, medical leave program

In January, employers will begin collecting premiums for the state’s paid family and medical leave insurance program passed into law last year. Although benefits won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2020, this statewide benefits program will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of guaranteed paid time off — 18 weeks in limited special…

Report shows income inequality widespread across state, U.S.

The top 1 percent of earners take home 19.7 percent of all the income in Washington. That top 1 percent also make 24.2 times more than the bottom 99 percent in the state. That’s according to a recent Economic Policy Institute report on income inequality. The institute, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based think tank, reports that income inequality has…

Second chance hiring may expand talent pool for Tri-City employers

By Jerry Goodstein Washington became the 11th state to adopt the Fair Chance Act on June 2, extending “ban the box” job seeker protections to cover the state’s public and private employers. The bill delays criminal background checks until an applicant meets the basic criteria for the job and prohibits employers from automatically or categorically…

Steve Simmons, owner of CG Public House in Kennewick, said the proposed Labor and Industries rules for salaried employees could negatively affect service businesses like his restaurant, especially if tied to the minimum wage.

Washington L&I considers salary revision for exempt employees

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries could soon be proposing new wage requirements for salaried executive, administrative and professional employees. The wage requirements would be tied to the state’s minimum wage, which is set to go up $1.50 every year through 2020 with the passage of Initiative 1433. The current proposal would increase…

Latest News

Gesa announces merger plans with Seattle-based credit union

West Richland library moves into temporary home during remodeling project

2 Kennewick companies named finalists for statewide awards

Report lists Kennewick as best place in state to buy home

Holiday Bazaars 2018

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Tri-Cities Prep Candlelight Christmas Concert

December 16 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Free Movie – The Polar Express

December 21 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Free Movie – The Polar Express

December 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm