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Each week, The Columbian offers a brief snapshot of an interesting Clark County business. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: mary.ricks@columb...; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.
Business name: USA River Cruises.
Owners: Don and Cindy Anderson.
Address: The Academy, 400 E. Evergreen Blvd., Suite 318.
What the business does: USA River Cruises is a cruise agency, offering small-ship river cruises in the USA, Europe and Asia and beyond. The company specializes in Columbia River and Mississippi River cruises.
How has the economy affected your business: Cindy Anderson said she was so worried about the economy back in 2008 that she held off hiring people even as her business grew. River cruises have been very popular in the last few years, which she believes is because people are staying in the United States and wanting to spend their money closer to home.
Greatest challenge: Watching finances. The company has had tremendous growth and Anderson wanted to give clients excellent service. In a normal economy, that would mean adding more employees and using lines of credit for growth. Because of the economy, she was unsure that she could count on the continued availability of funds, so she stayed a cash-only operation with little or no debt. River Cruises grew between 2010 and 2011 and recently she added more employees and opened an office in downtown Vancouver.
What’s ahead: By all indications, Anderson said, her business is on track for continuing growth. Sales are double what they were at this time last year, so she will continue to hire agents. She is increasing group sales and adding a department for group travel.
What is your favorite part of your job: Anderson loves her customers. She said she likes the fact they are making memories and seeing new things.
Year established in Clark County: 1999.
Telephone: 360-546-5151 or 800-578-1479.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; by appointment Saturday.