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Blooms, data, trade, tourism

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A few stray notes on local business that are worth mentioning:

• Bloomin' businesses — All those gorgeous flowers adorning Leavenworth's streets and buildings don't just magically appear because begonias love beer and brats. Somebody's got to design, plant and tend the displays, all tasks that the local Chamber of Commerce recognizes as hard work. Thus the annual MaiFest Spring Flower Awards. Announced last week, this year's winners: Munchen Haus for Most Spectacular Display, Innsbrucker Building for the Oodles of Blooms award, Pension Anna Hotel for Most Bountiful Balcony and Heidelburger for the Great Flowers award.

• Sabey in the city — You think Sabey's data center in Quincy is big? The 520,000-square-foot operation, which broke ground in April, will be dwarfed next year when the company opens its new Intergate.Manhattan in New York City with 1 million square feet of vertical space and, we're guessing, lots and lots of wire. Seattle-based Sabey chose the site (not far from the Brooklyn Bridge) because it sits "at the confluence of the world's transatlantic cable and fiber routes," says a press release. It also puts Sabey's sushi-eating Seattle execs within grabbing distance of a Texas Dog (bacon, mushrooms, cheese, barbecue sauce) from Nathan's Famous Hotdogs, NYC's iconic restaurant chain. Sabey also owns and operates Intergate.Columbia in East Wenatchee, a data center not too far east of Larry's Drive-in and its famous chicken strips. (Computer talk makes us hungry.)

• No passport needed — Speaking of Quincy, pretty much the whole town (including the Port of Quincy, in photo) was declared a Foreign Trade Zone earlier this month by some high mucky-muck board back in Washington, D.C. This designation allows international companies to ship all kinds of stuff in and out of town without paying the sometimes way-too-high customs duties. There are lots of the FTZs around the country, according to a Port press release, that relax such tariffs to spur the import-export trade.

• Door closes, door opens — The end is near (June 30) for the state tourism office, a victim of budget cuts. But that doesn't mean promotion of Washington's sights and attractions will come to an end. The spankin' new Washington Tourism Alliance — an industry-financed, nonprofit consortium — is taking shape as you read this. They've set up a website (watourismalliance.com), banged out a set of by-laws, begun the search for an interim director and named a team to get the rest of this operation up and running. By the way, the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce is a founding partner of this new group.

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