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Brad's Business Highlights

Monday: 2/17/2014

More people are making the switch from cars to SUVs. Analysts predict in four years, one in five vehicles sold around the world will be a sport utility vehicle or crossover. Some automakers, like Ford, say they're ahead of the trend. Sales of Ford's SUVs and crossovers surged 37 percent last year, compared to an industry average of 17 percent.

Tuesday: 2/18/2014
Starbucks is expanding its reach. The coffee giant opened its first store in the Southeast Asian country of Brunei. The store opened Sunday, February 16th, at a mall in the nation's capitol. Brunei marks the 64th country with a Starbucks. Also over the weekend, Starbucks opened its 100th location in Singapore.

Wednesday: 2/19/2014
The price of milk could skyrocket by as much as 60 cents per gallon in March. That would mark the highest prices ever for the dairy product. Analysts blame California's historic drought, and the subsequent high cost of feeding cattle, for the upswing. There's also been an increase in demand for dairy products from overseas markets, such as China.

Columbia Bank's Business Insight: Meet with your banker on a quarterly basis.
Your banker is a partner you can trust. It's important to treat the relationship with a banker as just that--a relationship. Just like in a personal relationship there has to be trust, openness, communication, honesty and integrity on both parties. We can collaborate, confide in one another and bounce ideas around. A good banker should be involved with all the movements of a company's finances, which understandably requires a very significant level of trust. Ideally, you should meet with your banker on a quarterly basis. Once you find the right partner, sit down with them and lay the groundwork for a strong relationship. Make this a priority for your business.

Thursday: 2/20/2014
Facebook is attempting to reach more mobile users with its latest purchase. Facebook snapped up the mobile messaging service "WhatsApp" for 19 billion dollars in cash and stock. "WhatsApp" is an alternative to the traditional text messaging service and already has 450 million monthly users. Fun fact; one of the founders was rejected by Facebook four years ago. He's now on the board.

Friday: 2/21/2014
Washington state's apprenticeship program is creating plenty of opportunities for young workers. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports for every taxpayer dollar the state spend on apprenticeships, there is a 91-dollar return. That compared to a 13-dollar return for a community or technical college education. Apprentice workers have an 84 percent employment rate, yet the state government is shrinking the apprentice programs.

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