Tacoma Urbanist

Jul. 30, 2010 at 7:34am

Today at 5: Mayor Strickland and Councilmember Boe To Cut Ribbon at Grand Opening Party for Amocat Cafe

Make sure and attend this event today fellow Tacomans:

The Official Grand Opening Gala of the Amocat Cafe!

Amocat Cafe
625 St Helens Ave
Tacoma, WA5 - 9 pm

NOW featuring:

- Ribbon Cutting with Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Councilman David Boe!
- Local Wine Tasting Taste-Off featuring Tacoma's 21 Cellars, Lake Tapp's Kalamar Winery, UP's Stina's Cellars, and Eatonville's Stringtown Cellars

- Live Music from singer/acoustic guitarist Gina Belliveau, jazz guitarist Andrew Sherbrooke, and more!

- Tasty Cold Beer!

- Fresh Amocat Blend espresso custom roasted in Tacoma by Valhalla!

Plus, starting in August by popular demand: OPEN EVENINGS!

Politicians usually reserve ribbon cutting ceremonies for the opening of new roads, bank branches or some other highly visible media event. That is why it is encouraging to see Mayor Strickland helping to celebrate the grand opening of Amocat Cafe 625 St. Helens at 5:00 p.m.

Amocat  Cafe is owned by Morgan Alexander:


The City of Tacoma has tried to revitalize itself by landing the "big fish" downtown with the development of the Tacoma Dome, Convention Center and trying to lure big companies downtown. Yet, it is the small businesses such as Amocat Cafe who make the biggest mark on adding life to downtown Tacoma and who take the most risk.

The redevelopment of Tacoma is most likely to succeed block by block and storefront by storefront.

It is great to see that Mayor Strickland and Tacoma City Council member David Boe can find time to celebrate the opening of a small coffee shop downtown. (Has a mayor in Tacoma ever cut the ribbon for the opening of a stand alone coffee shop?)

comments [40]  |  posted under Tacoma


by Erik on 7/30/2010 @ 7:52am
More information on the event here:


by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 8:03am
Best wishes to the Amocat! This is definitely a proud moment for downtown Tacoma.

You know, if Tacoma would eliminate it's antiquated B & O tax system we could celebrate many new business openings. Apparently Tacoma is OK with the status quo of occasional openings and large swaths of vacant storefronts.

by NineInchNachos on 7/30/2010 @ 8:47am
"occasional openings and large swaths of vacant storefronts."

Alot of homeless artists have an opportunity to display their art courtesy of SPACEWORKS! So please reserve your criticism!

(is that a belly casting?)

by Jesse on 7/30/2010 @ 8:59am
How can I watch my friend get married by Elvis in Las Vegas online at 4pm AND attend this opening... this may take some creativity!! Anyone have an iPhone?

by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 9:11am
Alot of homeless artists have an opportunity to display their art courtesy of SPACEWORKS! So please reserve your criticism! nachos

If spaceworks provides tacoma with the illusion of prosperity I guess that would have to be described as a good thing.

OTOH, wouldn't real prosperity be an acceptable substitute for virtual prosperity?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/30/2010 @ 9:39am
Real prosperity would be nice so long as that prosperity is not taken away from the working poor.

by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 9:54am
So the spaceworks program is bringing prosperity to the "working poor." how so?

by NineInchNachos on 7/30/2010 @ 9:56am
the belly casting looks like a 'war crime'

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/30/2010 @ 10:20am
no, spaceworks is bringing prosperity to Shunpike.

by Erik on 7/30/2010 @ 11:32am
The Spaceworks is pretty cool. Looks like the body castings pregnant type artistic thing is already causing controversy.

by Marty on 7/30/2010 @ 1:11pm
@ Fredo.. "If Tacoma would eliminate it's antiquated B & O tax system..."

OK.. With you on that, but I fear you are confusing the state with the
local B & O tax.

How much do you actually pay in City of Tacoma B&O taxes? I'm trying to get an understanding about the fiscal impact for someone like yourself or Morgan.

by Marty on 7/30/2010 @ 1:19pm
@ Morgan.
Congrats again on the opening. You are off to a great start. Already you have knocked two of your competitors out of business. Thats pretty impressive for the first couple of months.

While I know this may short term loss of jobs, I am excited to hear that you are expanding your hours and will soon be adding employees.

Thank you for choosing Downtown Tacoma.

by Altered Chords on 7/30/2010 @ 2:20pm
Walked down St. Helens today and saw Christopherson salon where Vanilla Bean used to be.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/30/2010 @ 2:41pm
Christorpher Salon has been in the back of the V-bean for several months. Sadly the V-bean is gone and the salon has taken over the space. It is too bad the V-bean is gone, grannies need a place to have coffee.

by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 2:43pm
" I fear you are confusing the state with the
local B & O tax." Marty

No confusion here. Since I've been in business I've paid thousands of dollars to the city. And every penny was based on gross revenues. My principle tax rate is .0040. The state adds another .00471. My combined rate is .00871.

I have no idea what Morgan pays, or if he's even aware that he's going to have to pay. This is a regressive tax which kills business. If it's not harmful to business then why did the city cut the B&O tax rate for the Frank Russell Co.? They're billionaires and only pay about a third the rate that I do. Welfare for rich and bend the poor people over.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/30/2010 @ 2:50pm
So if fredo enterprises takes in a million bucks he pays $8700 bucks to the state and the city of Tacoma in B&O tax? I can see how $8700 a year in tax will kill a million dollar business. Those poor sad millionaires, they suffer so.

by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 3:18pm
Crenshaw the b&o tax is based on gross revenue and not net revenue. If my business takes in $1M and it costs me $1M to run the business (thanks Barney Franks and Bill Clinton) then I make zero profit. Oh, and for the privilege of earning nothing, or even operating at a loss, I get to pay the city of Tacoma $4000 and the state of Washington another $4700.

You know Crenshaw, some people take the "city of destiny" thing a little to literally. As long as our Destiny is to be a great city, it's OK if it's just mediocre now and in the indefinite future.

Crenshaw maybe you could talk Marty into having the b&o tax rates increased, after all the people who pay them are all millionaires, eh?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/30/2010 @ 3:23pm
If your business takes in a million and costs a million to run I'd say you should be asking the school system for your money back. I'd recommend a course called Economics 101.

by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 3:28pm
Plenty of businesses are now running on a breakeven basis or at a loss. You might want to read the newspaper once in awhile. It's even covered in a course called Economics 101.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/30/2010 @ 3:36pm
I don't have time to read about losers and whiners.

by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 3:45pm
...it might cut into the time you put aside for spouting off about subjects you apparently have little or no experience with. Some of us actually have a stake in Tacoma's success, and then there are others.

by Altered Chords on 7/30/2010 @ 5:04pm
I regret that I will be unable to attend the ribbon cutting, the grand opening or the crenshaw/fredo economic debate. Buy each other a cup of coffee and hug for gosh sakes.

by Jesse on 7/30/2010 @ 5:05pm
I agree with Fredo.

Let's say you gross $1million in your first year as a business owner. Your wholesale products you sell, employee costs, insurance, rent, etc cost you $800k. You have netted $200k for the year right? But you are paying B and O tax on the GROSS income! That means the effective rate of tax isn't 0.00871, it's actually about 4.35% of your NET.

1. 0.00871 x $1m = $200k net profit x 4.35% = $8700
2. 0.00871 x $1m = $100k net profit x 8.7% = $8700
3. 0.00871 x $1m = $50k net profit x 17.4% = $8700

In all scenarios the owner of the business STILL owes $8700 in taxes because it's calculated off of GROSS income.

So, Tacoma's tax portion is 2% of the NET in the first situation (and the State has 2.35%) and even higher (as a percent) if you have a smaller margin of profit. And with times this tough, I'd assume businesses aren't achieving 20% NET and therefore are paying higher percentages of their net profits in B and O taxes.

Consider some neighboring towns have no B and O taxes and it's no wonder storefronts are empty downtown in this tight market as they either close or move to Fife.

by fredo on 7/30/2010 @ 11:13pm
better explanation than mine, thanks jesse.

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 9:07am
yesterday there was a comment that companies which could not report a profit should get a refund from the schools and take a course called Econ 101.

I found out there's a waiting list to get into this course. The seats are all filled with executives from Ford, Delta Airlines, GM, Coca Cola, Sanyo, Goodyear, Hitachi, and Tyson Foods. In the year 2006 none of these businesses was profitable.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/31/2010 @ 10:37am
None of them were profitable but all of those executives made millions of dollars in salary and bonuses.

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 11:55am
Our congress which is controlled in both houses by the Democrats has authority to look into executive pay and has declined to do so.

by Altered Chords on 7/31/2010 @ 12:13pm
Jesse - Thanks for the calculations. I did not realize how onerous this tax is. Not bad for the high margin business but really bad for a low margin, high volume business.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/31/2010 @ 2:26pm
This is why we need a state income tax. If you think the B&O is onerous to the business owners imagine how bad the sales tax is on the poor. We need to come up with a good tax scheme that is fair to the working people and gouges the wealthy.

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 2:50pm
Crenshaw, you'll be happy to learn that a state income tax initiative is on this November's ballot. However, IMO, thorax's kangaroo has better odds.

And why do you hate the wealthy? Don't they provide private sector employment? Last time I checked unemployed people and working people didn't.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/31/2010 @ 2:59pm
fredo, consumer consumption is like 75 percent of our economy. If you have no consumers you have no economy. People do need jobs but the private sector is consolidating and reducing the numbers of employees they carry along with the wages they pay. Can't count on the private sector during these times. We'll have to pry the money away from it and provide jobs through the government sector.

I don't hate the wealthy, some of my best friends are wealthy, but then they tend to think like I do.

by Jesse on 7/31/2010 @ 3:30pm
I think the problem with our current economy is that people are either wealthy (and getting wealthier) or they're just skatin' by. The middle class is disappearing -- the conclusion of Reagan-omins. You need demand for goods and services for a vibrant economy and if there's no middle class, that negates demand.

The rich need to be taxed more in an income tax situation.

One more Thorax-ian type calculation for ya:

Rich dude profits $200k in one of his businesses for which he has to pay taxes on. He needs to hire a new helper as the business is growing. Let's say his tax rate is 34% and he hires a new employee for $50k a year. Now he makes $150k... but did he really?

Since his tax rate is 34%, the employee cost him $50k minus 34% because you pay taxes on your net. Of the $50k he paid his new employee, it's lost net income but that is also money he would have had to pay taxes on before. So the employee really cost him $33k to hire... that being $50k - 34% = $33k.

If his tax rates are higher, new hires will cost him less as a percentage of each dollar spent to hire. As well, raises for existing employees will cost him less too. That's why before Reagan-omics, when taxes were sky-high for the top earners (business owners), they could pay more livable wages, there were more union jobs, and we had a robust middle class.

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 3:30pm
my best friends are wealthy, but then they tend to think like I do. crenshaw

They think that we need a tax scheme that "gouges the wealthy?" What's preventing them from disposing of their money right now?

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 4:07pm
The idea that rich people in a post-state income tax era will hire more employees in order to reduce their taxable income seems a bit counter intuitive to me. But anything's possible in the feedtacoma land of unicorns and magic pixie dust.

But regardless of what happens in the private sector we can be assured that the following will happen in the public sector: Government labor unions will ask the democratic legislators they campaigned for to increase their paychecks and benefits. The public will receive no tangible benefit from the income tax on the wealthy. And when the income tax threshold is periodically lowered more and more people will pay increased taxes for no benefit.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 7/31/2010 @ 4:29pm
Buffett says the super-rich should be taxed more, not less.
In particular Buffett urged the Senate Finance Committee not to repeal the estate tax. It is scheduled to come up for a vote, perhaps as soon as this week.
He told the committee that he recently compared how much he pays in taxes in terms of a percentage of his salary to what his employees pay.
The results? Buffett says he pays 18 percent of his salary to the IRS while the rest of his staff pays nearly twice that, 33 percent, a lopsided equation that put Buffett in a Robin Hood frame of mind.
"Frankly, an economy where my receptionist pays a lot higher tax rate than, than I do does not strike me as a just economy," he told lawmakers.
Buffet has challenged the elite members of the Forbes 400 list to do their own calculations and compare their tax rate with their receptionists, and then consider his challenge that the rich should pay more.
"I see nothing wrong with those who have been blessed by this society to give a larger portion of their income to the society than somebody that's working very, very hard to make ends meet," Buffett said.

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 4:42pm
...and Mr. Buffett is entitled to his opinion just as each of is. It's worth noting that Buffett is wealthy beyond comparison. Certainly the Washington Income Tax initiative which has an initial $250K threshold is not designed to shakedown the uber-wealthy like Buffett, but merely people who are just a little bit more fortunate than the average Joe. It 's also possible that Mr. Buffett is beginning to show signs of senior demensia. Lot's of old people start to feel especially philanthropic as their day of reckoning begins to approach.

by Jesse on 7/31/2010 @ 4:45pm
"The idea that rich people in a post-state income tax era will hire more employees in order to reduce their taxable income seems a bit counter intuitive to me." --Fredo

I never implied that. I implied that if the tax rate went up to say 50%, it costs less to hire and give raises. Nobody ever hired anybody because they got a tax cut. They hire because they NEED to.

Paying higher wages WOULD be less economically painful for the rich as well.

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 4:57pm
"Frankly, an economy where my receptionist pays a lot higher tax rate than, than I do does not strike me as a just economy," he told lawmakers.

Ironically, while he was appalled at the tax rate that his receptionist is required to pay, he didn't say it was too high. If we are concerned with the disparity in tax rates then all we have to do is reduce the rates which are judged to be too high. This would be called a "no-brainer."

by Ann on 7/31/2010 @ 5:11pm
So...nice get together last night at Amocat. Had a lot of fun!

by fredo on 7/31/2010 @ 5:13pm
I apologize for hi-jacking the thread. I hope someone will post some pictures from last nights festivities.