Wednesday, November 24, 2010

► On the Record

“Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them.”

--National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay

Meet Your Neighbors

Chuck’s Produce & Street Market

We sat down with Hector Jimenez, grocery manager at the newly-opened Chuck’s Produce & Street Market on Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard in Vancouver, to talk about the store’s business model and some of the challenges the locally-owned business is dealing with.

Editor’s note:

Due to the holiday, our Just Business email will resume on Wednesday, November 29th.

Happy Thanksgiving! –The Vancouver Business Journal Staff

Business From Around the Northwest

Searching for solutions in Washington budget crisis, The Seattle Times

Swelling budget deficit looms over lawmakers,

Owner transforms mill into retail center, The Register Guard

Friday, November 19, 2010

► On the Record

“Downtown Vancouver is having a renaissance of creativity and opportunity. [With] property owners investing significant dollars in building improvements to attract new tenants, it’s clear that downtown is on the move and open for business.”

--Lee Rafferty, executive director of Vancouver’s downtown association, on a new photography studio and consignment shop opening their doors on Main Street in Vancouver.

Reporter's Notebook

Nicholas Shannon Kulmac can be reached at

Washington State: The New Economy?

Charles Darwin once wrote, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent – but the ones most responsive to change” – that’s the idea behind a report released this week from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) entitled “The 2010 State New Economy Index.”

Like many economic indexes, this is a report that pits the 50 states against one another by weighing a variety of economic indicators. However, due to the nature of the 26 indicators authors of the report used, this index stands out.

The report, which has the state of Washington ranked number two overall, was released to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week – a worldwide initiative aimed at inspiring young people to embrace imagination, innovation and creativity.

Authors of the study said it “measures the extent to which state economies are knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, IT-driven and innovation-based. In other words, to what degree state economies’ structures and operations match the ideal structure of the new economy.”

So how exactly did Washington end up second only to Massachusetts?

The authors of the report said, “Washington scores high due not only to its strength in software (in no small part due to Microsoft) and aviation (Boeing), but also because of the entrepreneurial hotbed of activity that has developed in the Puget Sound region, and very strong use of digital technologies by all sectors.”

The state of Washington appeared in the top five in a number of indicators including but not limited to:

- The value of exports per manufacturing and service worker (3)

- Internet users as a share of population (3)

- Percentage of farmers using the Internet for business (1)

- Scientists and engineers as a percentage of the workforce (2)

- Movement toward a green economy (3)

Robert Litan, vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation had this to say about the results of the study:

“The United States is lagging, and that lack of innovation-based vitality has contributed to our continuing recession,” said Litan. ”States need to concentrate on achieving new economy success factors and providing the entrepreneurial resources and access that are critical to boosting competitiveness within the global marketplace.”

Go to to read the report in full.

Business From Around the Northwest

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

► On the Record

“This is exceptional news for the city of Vancouver and our citizens. The difficult budget decisions made during the past two years were the right financial steps at the right time. This independent assessment by the rating agencies validates our extensive efforts to refocus and prioritize city services, based on what the community values most, within the resources we have.”

-- Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes on the Standard & Poor's recently announced credit rating upgrade for the city of Vancouver. Upgraded credit ratings generally translate into lower bond rates, providing savings to the city as a whole.

Meet Your Neighbors

Peter Gallin, executive chef/owner of Applewood Restaurant & Bar

The Vancouver Business Journal gets a behind-the-scenes look at the new Applewood Restaurant in Southeast Vancouver; Owner Peter Gallin talks about some of the challenges of relocating a business in today’s economy.

Business From Around the Northwest

Housing market sheds jobs, The Register Guard

Coal Industry Seeks to Export Through Wash. State, Associated Press (Via ABC News)

Friday, November 12, 2010

► On the Record

"We will continue our relentless efforts to innovate and improve efficiency. However, the need for changes to legislation, regulations and labor contracts has never been more obvious,"

– United States Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett on mail service budget problems.

Meet Your Neighbors: Cano Real Estate

The Vancouver Business Journal sits down with Nathan Cano of Cano Real Estate for a discussion about the local housing market and where it's headed.

The Revenue Game on

As the economy continues on the road to recovery and stabilization, businesses everywhere are looking to bring their revenues back to a sustainable level through organization and optimization.

The Revenue Game, a new feature online at explores the reality of today’s economy and the best practices of businesses committed to serving their customers and increasing revenues. Log on today and learn how your company can win at The Revenue Game.

Business From Around the Northwest

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

► On the Record

“Our effort is to free up the free market. Tell us how we can make things better for you. After you’ve told us, tell others in Olympia and here in Southwest Washington.”

-- Washington State Representative Ed Orcutt, speaking at a Washington Policy Center small business forum in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Reporter's Notebook

Nicholas Shannon Kulmac can be reached at

A lesson learned

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on this year’s recipient of the Kyle W. Corwin Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Stan Freidberg graciously accepted the prestigious award yesterday afternoon during the Vancouver Business Journal’s Accomplished & Under 40 award ceremony. In his 37-year practice at The Vancouver Clinic, the cardiologist saved countless lives by helping patients with their heart health. In retirement, Stan has been a regular at the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington and at Project Access Clark County.

If you weren’t one of the 230 or so in the audience, you missed an acceptance speech full of humility. In fact, the Dr. talked more about those who have helped him along the way than his own accomplishments. Stan spoke of individuals in the community that served him as mentors and sources of inspiration. And the remarkable part – one that I believe we should all take note of – is that the individuals the doctor spoke of were not solely from his youth. Some, he explained, had not come into his life until recently.

Even in retirement, this accomplished, wise and experienced medical pioneer seeks the advice and expertise of others. Does it matter that he’s already considered an expert in his field? No. Does it matter that he has greatly surpassed the vast majority of his colleagues in experience? Not at all.

Given his stature, no one would question Dr. Freidberg if he simply stopped listening to the council of others and relied on his personal pool of knowledge alone. But Stan is clearly not that way. He has no plateau. His cup is never full.

Dr. Freidberg should be an example to us all for a number of reasons. His career accomplishments are vast and his commitment to giving back to the community is commendable. But what should not go overlooked is his never-ending willingness to listen, learn and to be taught by people from all walks of life, young and old.

I believe Henry David Thoreau summed it up right when he said, “To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.”

Business From Around the Northwest

Friday, November 5, 2010

► On the Record

“The growth of Clark County remains very strong and this type of investment provides a new look, new energy and new opportunity to keep up with retailer demand as well as benefit our loyal customers who rely on us for a quality shopping experience”

-- Paige Allen, Westfield Vancouver General Manager, on plans to improve and expand the city’s largest shopping center.

Meet Your Neighbors

Today we sit down with Dustin Klinger, partner at Miller Nash LLP Attorneys at Law, for an informational discussion about making investments in foreclosed property.

Business From Around the Northwest

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

► On the Record

“Nationally, we need a new path created for [Internet] startups to go public. Locally, we need small pools of money to aid startups. This is the cycle that makes it possible for small business to create jobs.”

--William Kallman, CEO of (Woodland, WA), in response to a question during Wednesday’s Vancouver Rotary meeting about how we can pull ourselves out of this economic malaise.

Reporter's Notebook

John McDonagh can be reached at

The quiet before the storm

For the most part, the election is over. A few races still hang in the balance, but the majority have been decided. The next few days will likely be pretty quiet, and then the real work begins.

Oh, what an interesting set of results we have.

On the partisan list we have Democrats and Republicans each winning six positions (two races were too close to call at deadline). Even with the “change is needed” mantra being repeated across the country, eight of nine local incumbents were re-elected with just one race undetermined.

Let’s not forget about the “no tolls” bunch. By our count, eight candidates ran on an anti-tolling platform regarding the yet to be finalized Columbia River Crossing. Of those candidates, just one was victorious, six fell to defeat and one race is still too close to call.

Looking at how the initiatives faired, a two-thirds majority result should serve as a sign for the state legislature to use that same percentage when deciding to raise taxes without a vote of the people. Tax and spend measures all went down in defeat, including a crushing rejection for the proposed income tax on high-wage earners.

Voters were also convinced the state should stay in the liquor and insurance business. A measure that would have opened liquor sales to private retailers failed to pass, as did legislation to give employers the chance to purchase workers compensation policies from private insurers.

So what does all this mean?

For one, voters know we’re in a fight and feel it’s better to continue with the folks we know, rather than risk it to a newcomer. It also means taxes don’t play well in a recessionary economy – a message we hope the returning legislators remember. Finally, Tuesday’s election shows we’ll need more creative solutions to deliver the services voters want from government, as resources continue to shrink.

Business From Around the Northwest

Make it work, voters tell government, The Seattle Times

Lt. Governor Owen to promote Washington state in China, India, The Office of Lt. Governor Brad Owen

Reaching the World, Mail Tribune