Nimitz brings more money home to Everett

EVERETT — When the USS Nimitz arrived in port Monday, a couple of salesmen from a Dwayne Lane car dealership were waiting pier-side along with U.S. Navy personnel, community representatives, news media, and friends and family of the sailors returning after nine months at sea.

Dwayne Lane owner Tom Lane doesn’t really expect the sales reps to sell any cars, merely to make contact with some of the more than 3,000 sailors coming off the ship.

The sales reps also schedule maintenance inspections, which Dwayne Lane offers for free to active duty service members.

“We get a lot of leads,” Lane said. “They’ve been on the ship a long time, so they’ve had a lot of time to think about what car they want.”

With the carrier’s return, Lane expects to sell a couple of dozen vehicles to returning sailors. The dealership typically sells about 200 cars a month.

“It’s a fantastic boost for us,” he said.

Scott Klein, owner of Klein Honda, said his dealership sees a similar boost.

Car dealerships, restaurants, even florists see a boost in business when an aircraft carrier returns home, said Pat McClain, executive director for government affairs for the city of Everett.

Naval Station Everett is the second-largest employer in the city, and it puts money into the economy year-round and even when ships are deployed, he said.

Service members’ families “are really woven into the overall structure of this community,” McClain said.

More than an estimated 24,500 family members and military retirees live and work in Snohomish County, said Kristin Ching, public affairs officer for Naval Station Everett.

The base also spends about $72 million each year on goods, services and contracts, she said.

It supports about 90 to 120 contracts, many with local companies, mostly for facilities maintenance and construction, she said.

The payroll for the facility’s 6,510 personnel — approximately 5,000 active duty and 1,500 civilians and contractors — is about $245 million, Ching said.

A 2010 study by the Puget Sound Regional Council put the annual payroll at $205 million.

Those numbers are less impressive when broken down to an individual’s average annual salary, which is $33,636 for military members and $30,769 for contractors, according to the 2010 study.

That is lower than the average annual earnings for workers in Everett, which was $48,096 for all workers — $52,800 for men and $41,631 for women — in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com.

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