Friday, January 25, 2008

Simtek gets inventive (again)

After not seeking any patents for nearly five years, Simtek Corp. announced this month it has filed 27 new patent applications in the last two years, including a record 15 applications last year.
Simtek said it has focused its research and development spending on solidifying its intellectual property in non-volatile static random access memory, which combines speed and the ability to retain information when power is cut, as well as other emerging types of non-volatile memory.
"Simtek has enjoyed both solid revenue growth and increasing product margins over the last several years," said Ron Sartore, the company's executive vice president for research and development investments and building its patent portfolio. "We have funneled much of those proceeds into developing new technologies we believe will drive rapid growth and profitability."

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Commercial real estate outlook

If local commercial real estate vacancy rates climb this year, the reason probably will be 1.4 million square feet of newly constructed space coming on the market and not necessarily because of a surge of businesses closing up shop.
That’s part of this year’s commercial real estate outlook as seen by Paul Turner, whose Turner Commercial Research tracks the Colorado Springs market. Turner’s comments are included in his look back at the fourth quarter of 2007 and his look ahead at 2008.
Unlike last year, when chip-maker Intel Corp. announced it would close its Springs plant, there are no “major rumors” of impending business shutdowns that might chill the commercial market, Turner said. But, he said, a national economic downturn — higher unemployment, reduced manufacturing and a slowdown in retail spending — could affect Springs commercial real estate.
Also, it’s too early to predict what will happen to commercial rents this year, Turner said.
Looking back, Turner said the combined commercial vacancy rate for offices, industrial buildings and shopping centers finished 2007 at 8.2 percent; at the end of 2006, the combined vacancy rate was 6.6 percent.
Outside investors spent about $600 million acquiring commercial real estate in the Springs in 2007 — a solid year, but still well below the $1 billion spent in 2006, Turner estimated.

Free business seminar on benefits Jan. 29

Benefit Services Group wil host a free employee benefit plan seminar Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., at 7350 Campus Drive, second floor.

Businesses of all sizes are invited to attend to hear current information on regulatory changes, employer-provided benefits programs, retirement plans and employee engagement.

A complimentary breakfast will be served.

Register online at by Jan. 25. To respond by phone, contact Lanice Miller, 386-3052.

The event is sponsored by Benefit Services Group, a local benefit consultant; The Principal Financial Group; and Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons LLP.

Hooters turns 25

Hooters is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a $25,000 giveaway on the 25th of every month. Each customer will receive a scratch card with the possibility of winning an instant $25,000 or be entered into a second chance drawing in which 25 customers will win $1,000.

Six businessmen in Clearwater, Fla., opened the first Hooters in 1983. Hooters has since grown to more than 440 locations in 43 states and 25 countries, including two locations in Colorado Springs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Whole Foods sacking its plastic bags

Whole Foods Market is ending the use of disposable plastic grocery bags at the checkouts in all of its 270 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. Its goal is to be plastic bag-free by April 22, Earth Day. Whole Foods has two Colorado Springs stores.

For years, Whole Foods Market has encouraged shoppers to bring their own bags by offering a refund of either five or 10 cents at the checkouts, depending on the store. The company sells different types of reusable bags and will continue to offer an “environmentally sensitive” option – 100 percent recycled paper grocery bags.

“Central to Whole Foods Market’s core values is caring for our communities and the environment, and this includes adopting wise environmental practices,” said A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MosquitoNix looks to the Springs

MosquitoNix, touted as the nation’s leading mosquito-control franchise, is looking to expand into Colorado — starting with Colorado Springs. Josh Johnston, franchise development director for the Dallas-based company, said MosquitoNix hopes to have a franchise here by summer at the latest. The company has 14 franchises in five states and has plans for 100 more locations by 2010. MosquitoNix sells an automated misting system that uses a botanical insecticide to eliminate mosquitoes and other flying insects, thus limiting the spread of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Citadel Old Navy closing

The Old Navy store at The Citadel mall will close Saturday. The store referred questions about the reason for the closing to the corporate office and a press contact did not return calls. Old Navy opened last year at Powers Boulevard and Barnes Road. There also is an Old Navy at Chapel Hills Mall.