Grapevine: Charleston airport opens 2 more boarding gates

Two refurbished gates opened this week on Concourse A at Charleston International Airport. Three more remain to be finished on the wing.

Two more gates are now open at Charleston International Airport as construction nears an end on the nearly $200 million makeover of the terminal building.

The two refurbished boarding gates are on Concourse A, which is the wing used by Delta Air Lines, the airport’s highest-volume carrier.

Three others on that side of the terminal are undergoing renovation and are expected to be completed before the March 31 overhaul finish date, says the Charleston County Aviation Authority, which oversees the airport.

The renovation at Concourse A is “a mirror image of Concourse B with a boarding area that is open and bright,” the airport says on its website. The renovation includes new seating with charging stations for mobile devices and five new jet bridges. When completed, the boarding area will include a Charleston Beer Works shop and retail space.

The airport is adding or refurbishing 15 gates as part of the nearly four-year expansion and renovation project.

In economics, the saying goes, there’s no free lunch.

At Chipotle Mexican Grill there’s no early lunch. At least on Monday there won’t be.

The fast-casual dining chain, which has a location in downtown Charleston and two in North Charleston, will open four hours later than normal so it can hold a meeting following a series of food scares that have cut into business.

The Denver-based restaurant has said all of its 1,900 eateries will open at 3 p.m. local time Feb. 8. They typically open at 11 a.m

Last week, Chipotle reported that its sales sank 36 percent at established locations in January. That follows a previously reported drop of 14.6 percent for the October-to-December period, which marked the first quarterly decline since the company went public a decade ago.

According to The Associated Press, Chipotle is about to launch a campaign to win back customers by stepping up advertising and rolling out deals to revive its sales and restore its reputation.

A North Charleston-based government contracting business is expanding its footprint in the Pacific Northwest, courtesy of a newly awarded shipyard deal.

Life Cycle Engineering is adding about 50 employees to its office in Bremerton, Wash., across Puget Sound from Seattle, to work on the $53.3 million three-year job with the Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center, according to a media report.

The expanding location will provide plans and designs for repairs and other services for a naval shipyard in Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan, to keep “the ships out to sea where they belong,” said Peter Thomas, a program manager for the firm.

“We’re excited to be here,” Thomas told the Kitsap Sun. “And we’re still hiring.”

Life Cycle is increasing its 900-square-foot Bremerton outpost to about 6,800 square feet within the same building, according to the newspaper.

Based on Corporate Road, the firm is marking its 40th anniversary this year. Jim Fei, who is now chairman, and George Thornley launched the business in 1976 as “a project to extend the asset life cycle of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet,” according to its website.

The military remains a big customer, but Life Cycle has branched out to work with numerous private-sector industries. It has about 620 employees in about 10 offices and field detachments around the country.

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, Town & Country magazine is offering its take on the most romantic restaurants in every state. And its Feb. 14 top dining choice for South Carolina lovebirds is Circa 1886, which occupies a carriage house on the grounds of the posh Wentworth Mansion.

The upmarket lifetyle publication said the downtown fine-dining establishment “has respect for architecture” and “still features many original construction details, such as the wood-burning kitchen fireplace, stable doors, and heart-of-pine floors.”

Circa 1886 also made Open-Table’s list of 100 most romantic dining spots, along with Middleton Place Restaurant in West Ashley and The Studio on Hilton Head Island. The online reservation website said the rankings were generated from more than 5 million restaurant reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between Dec. 7, 2014, and Dec. 6, 2015.

The Federal Reserve’s tabs on the Carolinas’ economy shows tepid expansion in the first month of the year, but a better outlook for the first half of the year.

In its monthly economic summary on North Carolina and South Carolina, based on a respondents’ survey, the Fed said, “Expectations for business spending six months out remained solidly positive.”

That said, the Fed reported “respondents were seemingly downbeat about sales growth so far in 2016. Yet, despite the relatively slow growth currently, the indicators reflecting respondents’ expectations for the economy six months from now were, on balance, stronger in January than in December.”