gets fresh start, Port
adds to new funding
an absence of more than a year, the Walla Walla Area
Small Business Development Center is “back in
The SBDC was closed in April, 2010 after
17 years when state budget cutbacks took
money away from supporting agencies who were forced
to withdraw fi nancial aid.
Now, with pledges from Walla Walla area
businesses and fi nancial institutions and assistance
from Brett Rogers, director for Washington’s Small
Center network, in fi nding federal matching funds,
the new local offi ce will be in full operation by 2012.
Among supporters, initial funding includes
$5,000 from the Port of Walla Walla for 2011 and another
$10,000 for the next year.
Elio Agostini, Downtown Walla Walla
Foundation Executive Director, whose agency will serve
as fi scal agent for the business center, said that
as many as seven locations, including the WW Regional
Airport, have offered offi ce space as an “in
kind” contribution to the SBDC. “That counts,”
he said, “and will make the difference in meeting
local share funding needs.”
Agostini says decisions relating to
staffing and location for the SBDC office are pending,
but should be announced before 2011 ends.
Another small business
initiative is the Port’s special web site entitled
“Tools for Business Success.” This site
provides an array of information on loan and fi nancing
programs, operations manuals, business plans, employee
relations tips, marketing ideas, laws and regulations
and much more.
Visit www.portwallawalla.com and click
on Walla Walla Small Business Tools.
becomes air travel “myth-buster,” promotion helps build local boardings
Port Commissioner Paul Schneidmiller is enthused about
the response to the “cumulative effort” to
build passenger counts on Alaska Airlines flights between
Walla Walla and Seattle.
of the Walla Walla Regional Airport, the Port is taking
the lead with a newspaper/web site advertising campaign
based on a “fly Walla Walla...it works” theme
that addresses advantages of choosing to depart from Walla
Walla as opposed to Pasco.
things, the “mythbusters” message addresses
competitive fares and free services including parking,
wi-fi and coffee.
The goal, according to Airport Manager Jennifer Skoglund,
is to build Alaska emplanements at WW Regional Airport
to a 70% load factor. At mid-year, that meant an additional
six passengers per flight per day. Schneidmiller, who
owns World Wide Travel Service, says that counts have
increased to record highs every month this year.
“We still have a bit to grow to meet Alaska’s
objective,” said Schneidmiller, “but I’m
really optimistic about achieving that.”
He emphasized that Alaska isn’t suggesting plans
to change Walla Walla service. “They just want to
achieve a level of use that generates a necessary return
works great to catch the early morning flight out of
Walla Walla to zip over to Seattle for the meetings,”
Sharon Shaver wrote in her Facebook post. “It
only takes a few minutes to get to the airport, check-in
goes quickly, and the parking is free. The rates are
very reasonable too. In fact, it costs my school more
than twice as much to pay for my car mileage to drive
to Seattle than it does to fl y me to Seattle -- and
they also don’t have to pay for a hotel when I
fly!...” One of two ticket winners in WW
Airport Facebook contest.
and cars highlight
Wings & Wheels
The Port and its WW Regional Airport
hosted hundreds of participants during a mid-year
2011 celebration of aircraft history and ground transportation.
The June 25th and 26th event included
an appearance by “Maid in the Shade,”
a restored WWII B-25 Mitchell from the Commemorative
Air Force Arizona Wing Aviation Museum. In addition
rides were available in Captain Mac’s 1929 TravelAir
Biplane and the Mercedes Car and Mooney Aircraft Club
added fl ying and driving excitement for visitors.
In addition, the B-25 extended its
stay to give more people an opportunity to tour the
plane and, for some, to purchase rides.