While some areas of the nation are experiencing an economic slowdown, that doesn’t appear to be the case for most cities and counties in North Central Washington, according to a series of reports released this month by the Washington Department of Revenue.
Among area communities, taxable retail sales increased from $8.6 million to nearly $11 million for a 27.9 percent increase in Brewster; from $1.26 million to $1.36 million for a 7.9 percent increase in Bridgeport; from $48.6 million to $49.5 million for a 1.8 percent increase in Chelan; from $1.53 million to $2.7 million for a whopping 77.6 percent increase in Entiat; from $31 million to $34.2 million for a 10.2 percent increase in Leavenworth; from $13 million to nearly $16 million for a 22.4 percent increase in Okanogan; from $37.3 million to $48.9 million for a 31.1 percent increase in Omak; and from $7.4 million to $9 million for a 22.8 percent increase in Oroville, according to figures for the third quarter of 2007 reported by the WDR.
Among North Central Washington communities included in the report, the only towns showing declines in taxable retail sales were Cashmere, where taxable sales fell 7.1 percent from $13 million to $12.1 million; and Pateros, where taxable sales fell 13.1 percent from about $1.9 million in the third quarter of 2006 to $1.64 million in the third quarter of 2007, according to reports available on the WDR Web site..
Taxable sales figures also show other areas of North Central Washington are doing well, according to reports WDR reports.
Okanogan County posted the largest taxable sales increase in North Central Washington of $156 million, up 21.2 percent over $128.8 million reported in the third quarter of 2006.
Among cities in Okanogan County, Omak reported a whopping 31.1 percent increase in overall taxable sales of nearly $48.9 million in the third quarter of 2007, up from $37.3 million during the same period in 2006, for the largest percentage increase in the region and the second largest percentage increase statewide, behind the 33.2 percent surge reported by Mercer Island.
The revenue reports show that the increase in Omak’s taxable sales coincides with the opening of a Home Depot building supply store, as well as a surge in construction of new homes, motels and other commercial buildings in Omak, Okanogan and Oroville. In the retail trade sales category, Okanogan County had nearly $13 million in sales of building materials and garden equipment and supplies.
In overall taxable sales Okanogan County had $42.8 million in the construction building category, which includes new homes, motels and other commercial buildings, as well as highway projects and heavy construction.
Chris Woods, owner of Oroville Building Supply in Oroville and Midway Building Supply in Tonasket, has seen 10 percent growth in his business in each of the last two years.
“It has been real busy, all of the sudden we are doing more… the gross is up 10 percent over last year,” said Woods.
The last two year’s growth and the prospect that the building supply business will remain strong influenced him to build a new store to replace the old one in Oroville. The new Oroville Building Supply is located across the highway from their present location.
“We look for the valley to continue to grow in the next five to ten years,” predicts Woods.
Retail Trade Sales in Okanogan County totaled more than $62.6 million in the third quarter of 2007 with sales in general merchandise stores at $16 million, followed by building materials, garden equipment and supplies at $13 million, new and used motor vehicles and parts at $9.9 million and wholesale trade at $10.9 million.
Construction was next with taxable retail sales of $42.8 million, including $25.6 million from construction of new buildings; $11.5 in special trade contractors and $5.6 in heavy construction and highways. Taxable retail sales for accommodations and food services (restaurants, food services and drinking places) totaled $16.9 million according to the WDR.
Chelan County continued its trend of increasing taxable sales of more than $425 million in the third quarter of 2007, up 3.6 percent over $410 million in the third quarter of 2006, according to the WDR.
Retail trade sales in Chelan County totaled more than $183.4 million in the third quarter of 2007, led by $48 million in motor vehicles and parts sales, including $36.6 million in new and used sales reported by auto dealers $6.9 million in sales reported by RV, boat and motorcycle dealers, and $4.6 million reported by automotive parts and tire dealers.
General merchandise stores ranked second in Chelan County retail trade sales at $33.1 million, followed by building materials, garden equipment and supplies ranked third in retail trade sales at $31 million, including $30.5 million in building materials and $533,357 in lawn and garden supplies.
Douglas County reported $123.7 million in taxable sales, up 8.5 percent from $114 million reported during the same period in 2006.
Taxable retail trade sales reported for Douglas County in the third quarter of 2007 remained strong in most categories, including general merchandise at $26.5 million; motor vehicle sales and parts at $14.9 million; furniture and home furnishings at $2.3 million; apparel and accessories at $2.1. million; gas stations and convenience stores at $2 million; and building materials and garden supplies at $1.67 million.
In taxable sales other than retail trade listed for Douglas County, construction building of homes, commercial buildings and highway projects led the way at $25.8 million, followed by wholesale trade at $12.8 million; restaurants, food service and drinking places at $6.7 million; information at $3.3 million; management, education and health services at $1.8 million; real estate rental at $1.7 million; arts, entertainment and recreation at $1.7 million and repair and maintenance at $1.5 million.
The total taxable sales reported in Douglas County for all categories (including retail trade) reached nearly $123.7 million, according to reports posted on the WDR Web site.
Statewide, overall taxable salesincreased 5.9 percent to $31.1 billion during the third quarter of 2007 compared to year-earlier results, including a 2.7 percent rise in retail trade sales to $13.2 billion reported or the third quarter of 2007, according to the report.
Among the most populous counties, taxable sales in King County rose 7.8 percent to $12.3 billion; Pierce increased 1.8 percent to $3.2 billion; Snohomish increased 5.1 percent to $3 billion; and Spokane climbed 5 percent to $2 billion.
Among large cities with the most sales, Seattle was up 8.9 percent to $4.4 billion; Bellevue rose 14.7 percent to $1.5 billion; Tacoma increased 1 percent to $1.2 billion; Spokane grew 2.7 percent to $1 billion; and Everett climbed 4 percent to $740 million, according to the WDR report.
Gary DeVon, G-T Managing Editor, contributed to this article