Business Blog

A roundup of Whatcom County business happenings

I’m still getting plenty of news about Whatcom County business activity, so here’s another roundup:

•  Whatcom County’s housing affordability index remained steady in the second quarter, according to new data from the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies

This area's housing affordability index was 132.2 in the third quarter of 2014, down from 132.6 in the second quarter, according to a report released by the center, which is based at the University of Washington.

In recent years Whatcom's peak was 159.5, set in the first quarter of 2013.

The affordability index measures the ability of a typical family to make payments on a median-price home. With Whatcom’s latest index number, a family earning the median income has 32.2 percent more income than the bare minimum required to qualify to buy a median-price home with a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year mortgage. Along with home sales price and income, interest rates are factored into the index.

The statewide index number last quarter was 143.

•  Carolyn Saletto, owner of Gym Star Sports Center in Ferndale, was named 2014 Professional Woman of the Year by Whatcom Women in Business.

Saletto recently opened a new 10,000-square-foot gymnastics facility. She also regularly awards scholarships to deserving families for her Shooting Stars Preschool, according to a news release.

The finalists for this year’s award included Christine Jenkins, Mary Kay Robinson, Marisa Papetti, Paula McCandlis and Kelli Linville.

•  The Bellingham Ace Hardware store in the Sehome Shopping Center is hosting another Hardware Science Day.

The science day is geared toward students, with this month’s project giving them a chance to build a thermometer. The event takes place at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22.

For details, call 360-933-4686.

•  An upcoming shopping event will help women in Haiti.

The first-ever Shop for the Cause: Women’s Market Fall & Expo will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Best Western Lakeway Inn and Conference Center.

The event will feature more than 25 local exhibitors representing a variety of national brands. All funds raised through even vendor fees, admission and raffles will go directly to Espwa Berlancia, an organization that supports Haitian women and children. Rhyan Buettner, founder of the organization, is the daughter of Bellingham residents John and Jana Buettner. Rhyan Buettner will be at the event with items by Haitian artisans.

For details, visit