Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

Proof of life in the local economy

Slowly but surely, signs of an economic turnaround have begun to surface in some corners of Southwest Washington.

On the national jobs front, a survey released today by employment search engine CareerBuilder and staffing giant Robert Half International found that 53 percent of employers expect to hire full-time employees in the next 12 months.

Close to home, small businesses, especially in the long-struggling retail sector, are sprouting up from Battle Ground to Vancouver to Camas. That’s good news for thousands of unemployed Southwest Washingtonians since it is small shops like these that account for more than 50 percent of the private work force, according to the American Small Business League.

Yesterday, former Erik Runyan Jewelers employee Rand Schiltz told the VBJ he planned to open his own retail showroom in downtown Vancouver this November. That same day, we spoke to Lulu Suchinda, co-owner of Lulu’s Boutique, a clothing store set to join soon-to-be-opened Bones Steak and Chop House in Battle Ground Village – itself a model of what the region’s business future might look like.

To be certain, the growth in the number of new businesses seems hardly a flood and more like a trickle after a long, dry spell. But we’ll take the good news, albeit with the expectation that there will be much more to come.

Here’s to good shopping and eating in the meantime.