Local automotive dealers have a reputation as being tough clients, but even the crankiest dealer should be smiling these days. Automotive News says that as the year passed the half-way mark, we’re on a pace to see 16.22 million new vehicle sales, the best since 2006. Put that together with fewer dealerships in the country than 2006 and an average transaction price above $30,000 for the first time, and the chief analyst at Cars.com projects the average dealership’s revenue is about 20% higher than it was in 2006 and 77% higher than the recession-impacted numbers of 2009……Advertising Age reports there’s a price war raging among casual-dining chains such as TGI Friday’s, Chili’s, and Applebee’s as that sector needs to fight off competition from fast-casual chains like Chipotle that offer faster service and lower prices. Friday’s latest salvo in the price war is $10 per person for unlimited appetizers in a promotion slated to run through late August……Also in the restaurant business, Nation’s Restaurant News reports Darden’s new prototype for Olive Garden is meant to display a more contemporary look with elements like atmospheric lighting, marble countertops, overhead wood beams and a more prominent bar. Darden expects to remodel about 75 units over the next year at an average investment of better than a half-million dollars per location……We’ve only just passed the July 4 weekend, but chain drug stores that offer inoculations are already starting to get their supplies of flu vaccines for the 2014-2015 season. According to Drug Store News, Novartis started shipping vaccines just before the long holiday weekend……Home improvement retailers and some service businesses should continue to enjoy strong demand for a while—the latest study from the Home Improvement Research Institute found that 74.5% of homeowners were planning at least one home improvement project when the study was taken during the spring. Home owners on the East Coast and West Coast were a little stronger than the national average, with 77% of homeowners looking to do work. The Upper Midwest showed about three-quarters of homeowners planning projects, while the South, perhaps because outdoor projects could be done at other times of the year, trailed slightly at 72%……Craft breweries (smaller than 6 million barrels a year) as a group only command a 7.8 share of the beer market, but their numbers are expanding rapidly. The Census Bureau announced last week that the number of breweries in the country has doubled in the last five years—and over the last two years an average of 1.2 breweries have opened each day……Farmers Insurance says it is looking to add 85 Agency Owners in the State of Washington. It is offering special incentives to qualified military veterans and reservists to help tap the state’s growing consumer market.