Friday, June 5, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

-John McDonagh can be reached at


When is the right time to jump back into (fill in the blank)? This seems to be the question on the minds of many developers, manufacturers, retailers and small business owners when it comes to investing, expanding or upgrading their businesses.

If just a few of these folks who are waiting would just do it, to borrow a phrase from Nike, their collective decision could conceivably create the floor everyone is looking for and kick start the local recovery. I’m beginning to think it might be that simple.

Local examples of a few businesses that are tired of waiting for the bottom and are choosing to move forward include:
• Vancouver Sign Company, which recently filed for permits to proceed with building a new facility at Union Ridge in Ridgefield. This is a move the sign company has been weighing for some time and owner Dick Miller has decided this is the right time to go.
• Brickhouse Bar and Grill - Stephen and Angela Deans, along with Stephen’s parents, are moving ahead with the build-out of the new bar and grill at Main and 15th streets in Vancouver.
• Well more than 30 construction and development projects submitted for the VBJ’s 2009 Top Projects. Business is continuing and these projects, which will be celebrated at the July 24 event are a clear indication some won’t be controlled by the ‘too early, too late’ conundrum.

Bart Phillips, CEO of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, reports that through the CREDC’s 2009 initiative to offer support to the top 100 traded-sector businesses in the county has turned up a number of local firms – primarily manufacturers – with significant expansions taking shape.

For those frozen by the ‘too early, too late’ dilemma, it begins to feel as if the speed of the recovery is going to be determined by ego. After all, who wants to tell their friends and associates, “Yeah, I was impatient and left a few thousand dollars on the table because I couldn’t wait.”? Rather let’s all follow the lead of those who have already decided to get on with business and are doing just that.

Have we seen the bottom? Are you now moving forward with a project that has been on hold? Let us know by commenting on the blog.