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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: business

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April 3, 2014 at 6:42 AM

$15 makes Seattle outlier compared with other cities that raised minimum wage

Nine city or county governments across the country have increased their minimum wage. A University of California, Berkeley study commissioned by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s income inequality committee concludes that a higher wage floor can increase productivity and reduce turnover, cushioning the macro-economic cost. Based on studies, it suggested companies could “adjust to higher…

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0 Comments | Topics: business, economy, minimum wage

March 27, 2014 at 6:12 AM

A lifetime philanthropic award for Naveen Jain from Bellevue LifeSpring?

Naveen Jain, co-founder and chief executive officer of Intelius Inc., speaks during an Executives Club of Chicago luncheon in Chicago  in 2010. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

Naveen Jain, co-founder and chief executive officer of Intelius Inc., speaks during an Executives Club of Chicago luncheon in Chicago in 2010. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

Bellevue LifeSpring, which will hold its annual luncheon on Thursday at Meydenbauer Center, is a nonprofit that works to feed, clothe and educate children and their families. The people it serves sound a lot like the investors who lost their life savings in InfoSpace, a Bellevue company founded by Naveen Jain.

At the Thursday lunch, LifeSpring will give its Lifetime Philanthropy Award to Naveen and his wife Anu Jain. Anu Jain serves on LifeSpring’s board of directors. The award goes to people “working toward the betterment of the community,” according to Trish Carpenter, president and chairwoman of LifeSpring’s board.

The shareholders of InfoSpace may choke over that description of Naveen Jain. He is the founder and former chief executive officer of that Bellevue company, which has since been renamed Blucora.

Jain became a billionaire after he took InfoSpace public and the stock price skyrocketed. The only problem was that the company’s revenues were an illusion — a product of accounting tricks and dubious deals woven together by Jain’s masterful storytelling. He claimed in 2000 that InfoSpace would become the world’s first trillion-dollar company.

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0 Comments | Topics: bellevue, business, nonprofit

September 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Reader memories of Sherman Clay piano store

STEINWAY PIANO

A Steinway piano (PHOTO BY DANIEL ACKER / BLOOMBERG)

The Sherman Clay piano store in downtown Seattle is expected to close when the last piano is sold or at the end of September, whichever comes first. Earlier in August, I wrote an editorial notebook mourning the loss of the city’s only Steinway dealer and about the downtown Seattle store, which has been selling pianos at 4th and Pine since the 1920s.

You also shared your memories. Here are edited excerpts from the stories you shared with us.

From Zach Hyder:

“Back in college I befriended one of the sales associates during a UW student reception. We kept in touch for a few years, and when I was back in Seattle visiting one summer I dropped by the store to say hi right as it was closing. As they locked up I’ll never forget he said to me, ‘So go for it. Store is yours.’ I asked him which one he thought I should try. He pointed to this one particular Steinway concert grand. ‘That one,’ he said with a big smile on his face. It was incredible. It was like driving a Ferrari for someone who’d only ever been behind the wheel of a Volkswagen. Bach, Grieg, Chopin, Beethoven. I played for close to an hour while we chatted and told stories about our favorite composers and concerts we’d seen. We talked about what made Steinway’s so unique. For a moment, it felt like Carnegie Hall. It was an amazing experience — and I’ve never forgotten his kindness for letting a young kid have that momentary access to one of the world’s finest instruments.”

From William “Bruno” Santo, store manager from 1974 to 1982: 

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0 Comments | Topics: business, downtown seattle, music

April 9, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Ron Johnson ousted after failing to turn J.C. Penney into Apple stores

Ron Johnson announces the new jcpenney strategy at the jcpenney launch event at Pier 57 on January 25, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images for J.C. Penney)

Ron Johnson at the J.C. Penney launch event on January 25, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images for J.C. Penney)

Ron Johnson, the wonder boy who led Apple’s retail business and became chief executive of J.C. Penney, has been ousted by the retailer’s board after he failed to turn a pasty Red Delicious into a shiny Honeycrisp.

Here is the an Associated Press story. Penny’s has rehired it’s previous chief executive, Mike Uhllman, to resume his old position.

The past 16 months of Johnson’s leadership was the most fascinating business story. Johnson tried to turn a discount department store into a Genius Bar. It ditched coupons and markdowns and began a store-by-store makeover. Here is what happened to sales:

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0 Comments | Topics: business, technology