Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gaining Customers & Profit in Trade

The Washington Export Outreach Team - Export 101: From Your Door to the World Seminar event is unique as it walks companies through the exporting process.

It introduces the Local, State and Federal resources to assist them with this process.  These resources can help companies in all stages of the export business continuum including New to Business (NTBs), New-To Export (NTEs), New-To-Market (NTMs), and Expanding Market (EMs) companies.  The companies will also have the opportunity for one-on-one networking with the Local, State and Federal resources at the end of the event.     

What: Export 101: From Your Door to the World Seminar

When: Thursday, August 7, 2014 – From: 8:30 am – To: 5:00 pm
Where: The Rainier Room at the Truitt Building, 102 West Main St. Auburn, WA 98001

Cost: $75.00 per person

Materials and lunch will be provided

Register here as Space is limited.

Individual counseling sessions are available. Contact Zara Castillo for more details

Did you know 95% of potential customers live outside of the U.S.? It’s time to learn how to connect with them.

Attend the Export 101: From Your Door to the World, to access local resources to help your small business expand globally at this full day seminar covering:

Presented by the Washington Export Outreach Team (WEOT): Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington (EFACW), Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Export Readiness Center, U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Washington State Department of Commerce.

Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. will be providing a logistics presentation.

The workshop will feature presentations on the following topics:

•  Developing an export business plan

•  Determining appropriate international markets

•  Finding qualified buyers, agents, and distributors

•  Determining pricing and methods of payment

•  Mitigating non-payment risks and financing export transactions

•  Shipping your product overseas

(Click on Image for a Larger & Complete View): 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Marine Tourism Bill Levels Play Field

The Marine Tourism Bill will keep visitors' boats in our marinas longer rather than cross-border stays here being limited to 60 days, meaning more customers for our local economy.

The economic impact would be gigantic for our community. It will stabilize our recreational waterfront and help our local marinas, boatyards, electricians, welders, painters, carpenters benefit when boats are kept in our state’s waters.  Additionally, retailers, restaurants and hotels would see a more sustained market and avoid spiking.

Washington’s limit on cross-border stays contrasts sharply with the extended opportunities in Canada. Let’s finally level the playing field here in Washington State.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

167 Coalition Hosts Leg Forum

Washington State
Legislative Candidate Forum on Transportation

Hosted by:
The SR-167 Completion Coalition

Please join us:

When:  6:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Where: University of Washington Tacoma
Carwein Auditorium
1st floor of Keystone Building (KEY 102)
1754 Commerce Street
UPDATE: (7-25-14)
William W. Philip Hall
1918 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98402

For questions or to RSVP, please contact Mike Welch

Utility Customers Targeted By Scammers

Scam calls to Tacoma Public Utilities customers have increased in the past couple of weeks, and the utility wants to help ensure no one loses money.

Scammers have mainly targeted commercial customers, demanding they make an immediate payment with a prepaid card or risk having their service disconnected. Customers are often directed to purchase a Green Dot or Money Pak card.

“We sometimes make courtesy calls to remind customers that they have a payment due,” said Customer Services Manager Steve Hatcher. “We may offer customers the option of paying with a credit card, but we never say they must make an immediate payment with a prepaid card or we will disconnect their services.”

Tacoma Public Utilities has received reports from at least a half-dozen customers today alone who received scam calls. Customers have been asked to call (800) 791-0206 – a number not associated with the utility – to provide prepaid card information. If a customer falls for the scam, it is likely he or she will never get their money back.

What customers can do if they receive a scam call
• If you think someone is trying to scam you, check your account status at MyTPU.org/MyAccount or contact Tacoma Public Utilities.

• Remember TPU accepts traditional payment methods of cash, check, credit and debit cards. It is never necessary to buy a separate prepaid card to avoid disconnection.

• Never give your credit or debit card number or any other personal information to anyone without knowing their true identity.

• Remember that scammers can make it look like they’re calling or emailing from the utility when they are calling from somewhere else.

• Report prepaid card scammers to the utility and to the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. You should also report scammers to MoneyPak at www.moneypak.com.
Click on MoneyPak Help on the home page and then on the “What if I’m aware of a possible scam?” link.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Tacoma Loan Program for Commercial Property Owners

The City has announced a new loan program to help commercial and retail property owners invest in historic properties. The Historic Rehabilitation and Repair Loan Program (HRRLP) encourages rehabilitation, preservation and adaptive reuse.

“Tacoma’s historic properties give our community character and provide a lot of appeal. We want them occupied, looking good and open for business,” said Reuben McKnight, the City’s Historic Preservation Officer.

People with properties listed on Tacoma Register of Historic Places who are approved and meet underwriting criteria can use the loans to make envelope improvements, building systems and restoration or repair of exterior historic elements, so long as the projects meet historic preservation guidelines.

Interest rates will be low - based on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury Note, plus 1 percent. The loans, which can paid back over ten years, will range from $20,000 to $100,000 and provide up to 50 percent in gap financing in combination with the borrower's other financial resources. The City’s program protects the public’s investment by placing a temporary lien on the property that’s removed once the load is repaid.

According to McKnight, “This tool will provide a non-conventional option which can make the difference in tipping the scale towards investment.”

Exclusively residential properties, additions and routine maintenance are excluded from the program. For more details or an application, contact Jacinda Howard, in the City’s Community and Economic Development Department, or (253) 591-5221.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Tacoma 2025" Visioning Workshop

The community is invited to Help Shape Tacoma’s Future Over the Next Decade at ‘Tacoma 2025’ Visioning Workshop on July 30.

Public input has been pivotal to the “Tacoma 2025” strategic planning process, and anyone who is interested in sharing their ideas for how Tacoma could evolve over the next decade is invited to a community visioning workshop at:
  • the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (1500 Broadway in Tacoma) 
  • on Wednesday, July 30, from 6 – 8:30 p.m. (with doors opening at 5 p.m. 
  • for an open house reception). 

Event parking will be available at no charge in any of the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center’s garages.

The information gathered throughout the “Tacoma 2025” strategic planning process will result in a citywide strategic plan which will outline steps to achieve a shared community vision for Tacoma’s future. It will also help inform decision making regarding the City’s resource allocations to ensure that funding is available to actualize community priorities identified in the plan.

The “Tacoma 2025” Plan will focus on seven key areas:
•    Public health and safety
•    Quality of life and livability
•    Economic vibrancy
•    Culture, arts, and recreation
•    Educational opportunity and attainment
•    Government performance
•    Infrastructure, mobility, and environmental sustainability

In addition to the upcoming visioning workshop, the City has also provided other opportunities for the community to get involved in the “Tacoma 2025” strategic planning process:

•    An online community forum at tacoma2025.com where visitors can comment on key topics and respond to other community members’ ideas.
•    Informational booths at a variety of community events this summer, including the South Tacoma and Proctor Farmer’s Markets and Ethnic Fest.

For more information, visit tacoma2025.com, email or call 311 within Tacoma city limits.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tacoma Citizens Asked How to Balance Budget

As the City of Tacoma develops its 2015-2016 Biennial Budget, members of the community are invited to participate in the following upcoming budget input meetings:

Revenues are projected to grow at 2 percent, but expenses are projected to grow at a faster rate.  In order to maintain the levels of service provided by the City’s General Fund today, the difference between revenues and expenses is projected to be approximately $6 million in 2015-2016. This shortfall increases substantially if the City were to address deferred maintenance issues that have been delayed and provide funding for other capital and services.

The City is looking for ways to close the gap between revenues and expenditures by balancing the need for savings with the effective delivery of core services. Additionally, the City is working to prioritize funding between existing services, deferred maintenance, and new and expanded services.

A second series of Budget Input Meetings is anticipated to begin in mid-October, shortly after a Proposed 2015 – 2016 Biennial Budget has been transmitted to the City Council.

Tacoma Opens Survey to Citizens

The City of Tacoma wants to hear from residents.

Recently, 3,000 randomly selected households were asked to report how they feel about the quality of life and services in Tacoma when they receive a comprehensive questionnaire in the mail from the City of Tacoma. An online version of the citizen survey is now available here.

The citizen survey is meant to assess the City’s performance in major service areas, and will help the City better understand residents’ perceptions of service areas. The survey findings will help define the community’s current priorities and will aid the City’s ongoing operational planning and improvement processes.

For more information about the citizen survey, call the Customer Support Center by dialing 311 within Tacoma city limits.