People’s Bank made more than it though in 2013

When companies restate earnings reports it’s often to reveal bad news losses.
That wasn’t the case, however, when People’s Bank of Commerce sent out updated figures today.
The Medford-based financial institution restated final 2013 earnings of $1.012 million, up 14 percent, or 68 cents per share, from $886,000. Updated first quarter 2014 results, pushed earnings to $204,000 or 11 cents per share, instead of the previously reported $168,000, or 9 cents per share..
“We try to be conservative in all our practices, but we were a little too conservative on our treatment of some recoveries we made on real estate (sales),” Chief Financial Officer Russ Milburn said. “This will be good for the stockholders as capital increases through earnings.”
Separately, People’s Bank declared a 5 percent stock dividend to shareholders of record May 15, payable on June 15.

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We reported Lithia Motors had another strong quarter, earning more than $24 million for the first three months of 2014. United Airlines is another story. The mammoth airline, recently combined with Continental, lost $489 million.

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Geezer power. More than half of Americans 55 and older — and I’m one of ‘em — are now armed with smartphones.

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After Sterling Financial, what’s next for Umpqua?

Now that Umpqua Holdings Corp., the parent company of Umpqua Bank has completed its acquisition of Sterling Financial Corp., and its chain of Sterling branches, where does the West Coast’s largest community bank go from here?
Standing still has never been Umpqua CEO Ray Davis’ style and no doubt more growth is around the corner. Among Umpqua’s past targets were struggling banks and metropolitan markets where the Great Recession is a distant memory.
Umpqua is now $22 billion institution with $15 billion in loans and $16 billion in deposits, with 5,000 employees and 394 offices in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and Nevada. There is still plenty of financial services gold to be panned in California and the mountain states beckon as well.

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Sportsman’s shares not so attractive as hoped

Turns out investors weren’t as thrilled over Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings shares as the company hoped. Shares were priced at $9.50 Wednesday, well below the $11-$13 per share market the Midvale, Utah-based outdoor supply retailer was eyeing.
Sportsman’s is expected to raise about $70.3 million and plans to pay down loans.

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A Chicago Business Journal writer pans the Maxwell House rebranding effort by Portland’s Wieden+Kennedy. My thought, why spend millions on marketing undesirable stuff when the money could be better used to improve the product?

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And of course, we’re nearing college graduation time. Here’s one evaluation of what college majors work and which ones don’t when it comes to finding a job.

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Container traffic through Southern California ports rises in March and is expected to follow suit in April.

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Retail Federation urges quick port contract deal

Here in the Rogue Valley freight transportation centers on trucking with sparse amounts carried by air and rail.
In the bigger picture, when it comes to transportation of goods, coastal shipping ports have the best of all worlds, and the worst.
Billions of dollars in goods, some of which find their way to Southern Oregon, are delivered by ocean-going ships to ports from Southern California to the Puget Sound. The National Retail Foundation reports 11.2 million cargo containers, or 69 percent of the total at U.S. retail container activity, passed through those ports in 2013.
When labor strife hits those ports, the ripple effect has the potential to jar the economic well-being of  inland consumers and retailers.
The NRF, casting a weary eye toward the Pacific Coast, is urging maritime management and unions representing dockworkers to reach a new deal before current contracts end this summer. Expedited negotiations, said the NRF, will protect supply chain and provide shippers and retailers the certainty they need to utilize the West Coast ports during the holiday shipping period, which begins in July.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote the longshore and warehouse union this week to urge movement toward a new contract, covering nearly 14,000 ILWU jobs at 29 containerized ports in California, Oregon and Washington.
“Any kind of disruption at the ports would add costly delays to our members’ supply chains and other industries relying on U.S. West Coast ports, and it likely further threatens the fragile economic recovery,” Shay wrote.

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AAA reports pump prices continue advancing, ahead of the May 1 deadline for refineries to switch to summer-blend gasoline production. The national average for regular unleaded climbed 6 cents this week to $3.64 a gallon, while the Oregon average grew a nickel to $3.75.

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If you’re looking for rock-bottom-priced sandwich, Togos is serving up hot pastrami sandwiches  April 21 through April 25.

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Pear Blossom weekend activities run the gamut

Fred Meyer employees start bright and early on the second Saturday of every April.

Running, parading, watching, eating, shopping.

Those are among the many usual Pear Blossom Festival activities Rogue Valley residents participate in during the second weekend of April.

One that I’ve gotten more and more attune to is the Fred Meyer plant sale, where hundreds of people bring their own pots and containers and then hand them over to the good folks at the garden center, who pack in the potting soil. There is also an annual barbecue in the parking lot, a big draw for families after the parade.

A Fred Meyer employee working with the soil.

 

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Home Depot clinics show ways to save water

Home Depot will host water conservation workshops at all 1,977 of its U.S. stores, on Saturday, April 26, including the North Phoenix Road location..
The Atlanta-based retailer said the workshops are especially useful for Western homeowners, where many face water restrictions.
Workshop leaders will cover 10 home improvement projects, such as converting to a dual-flush toilet, switching showerheads and faucets, installing drip irrigation and sprinklers with rotary nozzles.
The retailer boasts its customers used 42.5 billion gallons of water less during 2013 by switching to more efficient components.
The water conservation workshops begin at 10 a.m.

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Oregon reaches Tax Freedom Day, April 20.
The folks at the Tax Foundation report Oregon is the 35th state this year when residents collectively earn enough income to pay off their overall federal, state, and local tax bill. The national Tax Freedom Day is April, three days later than last year.
Louisiana had the earliest tax freedom day on March 30, followed by Mississippi, April 2, and South Dakota, April 4. Connecticut and New Jersey share the latest date of May 9.
A study by the foundation this week shows Americans will spend more on taxes in 2014 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined. It takes 42 days to work-off income taxes, 15 days for excise taxes, and 11 days for property taxes.

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Bella Vista Heights beginning to take hold

Looking north toward Coker Butte from Veneto Circle. Lots in the development have a variety of views, including the Table Rocks, Mount Ashland, Pilot Rock, Wagner Butte, Hillcrest Orchards and RoxyAnn Vineyards.

For nearly a year the first batch of model Bella Vista Heights homes near East McAndrews Road sat empty. They may have been among the nicest looking houses with expansive views of the Rogue Valley, but they couldn’t find their match.

In recent months, however, that has changed and most of the original eight residences on Camina Drive and Veneto Circle are now occupied with several more sprouting up.

It will be interesting to see how many more housing starts occur in the Pahlisch Homes project between now and Labor Day.

 

 

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Sportsman’s Warehouse ready to go public

Sportsman’s Warehouse, which battled back from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, has is now making the jump to public ownership.
The Midvale, Utah-based firm today operates 49 stores in 18 states, including a 46,000-square-foot operation in Medford’s Delta Center, which opened in 2007.
The outdoor chain, founded in 1986, grew to nearly 70 stores under founder Stu Utgaard before recessionary pressures and led to selling off 15 stores, shuttering 23 more and seeking court protection.
Sportsman’s is offering more than 8.3 million share and private equity firm Seidler Equity Partners III is offering an additional 4.2 shares.
The shares, which will be traded on the Nasdaq under SPWH, will be priced between $11 and $13

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Here’s a report on e-commerce from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Check out the last question concerning bankruptcy for entrepreneurs in Brazil. Not quite like filing Chapter 11 in the U.S.

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Business networking groups hosts gathering

Rogue Valley Professionals, one of five Business Networking International chapters in Southern Oregon is hosting visitors day on April 22 at Rogue Valley Country Club.
The networking group, which allows one member per profession in each group, seeks to enhance members’ understanding of work structure, education and accountability in the workplace.
BNI regional representative Robin Shuckmann from the Oregon/Southwest Washington office will be on hand to talk about the organization.
The breakfast buffet gathering run 7-9 a.m. The cost is $10.
For information, contact Mike Neilitz, chapter president, at 541-773-3460 or mikeneilitz@allstate.com

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Washington State University Extension and the Agriculture Department are staging a Northwest Wood-Based Biofuels/Co-Products Conference, April 28-30, in Seattle.
Researchers, business leaders, government agencies, and economic developers will exchange findings, ideas, and strategies to sustain development of wood-based bio-refineries for production of biofuels in the Northwest.

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Oregon sees construction employment growth

Oregon added the third-most construction jobs by percentage between January and Feburary in a report issued by the Associated General Contractors of America.
We saw 7,000 additional construction jobs, a 9.8 percent gain.
Nationwide, construction firms added jobs in 37 states during the past 12 months and in 30 states between January and February.
Association officials said the jobs gains came even as many parts of the country experienced unusually severe winter weather, include cold and snowy conditions in the Northeast and Midwest, and warm and unusually dry conditions in much of the Southwest.
Florida led all states in both percentage and total construction gains with an 11 percent rise and 39,200 new jobs between February 2013 and February 2014. Nevada’s 5,800 new jobs translated to a 10.4 percent gain. California was No. 2 numerically 38,800 new construction jobs.

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If you haven’t been to a Southern Oregon Angel Investors’ Conference, this might be the year to check out the intriguing activity at Bigham Knoll Event Center in Jacksonville.
Organizers suggest it’s the right venue entrepreneurs to meet with  inventors and researchers to learn about start up the development and funding process. It’s a good place, as well, for venture capitalists to identify top quality early-stage businesses in Oregon.  Service providers have an opportunity to introduce their business to early-stage companies seeking investment capital. Finally, elected officials can support emerging-growth businesses, recognizing their efforts as a key to stimulating the local, regional, and state economies.

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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