By Courtney Sherwood March 2, 2014 6 a.m.
Conrad Cluff had big dreams for his general contracting firm. But as he spent 12 years trying to grow his Clark County business, he kept coming back to the same basic truth: His strengths were as a contractor, not a marketing guru or a business development expert.
By Courtney Sherwood December 4, 2013 6 a.m.
Has the Internet killed the video rental business? One Hazel Dell company hopes the answer to that question is "no." When Video Connections opened 32 years ago, it was one of the first stores to see viewing movies at home as a moneymaker. And now, after the bankruptcies of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, it's one of the last storefronts in Clark County where people can head inside to browse the shelves before taking a movie home.
By Courtney Sherwood September 22, 2013 6 a.m.
Vancouver-based Northwest Pipe Co. is continuing a long battle to boost profits and strengthen its market share, but CEO Scott Montrose is telling investors that they'll have to wait until next year before the company's recovery efforts begin to fully pay off.
By Courtney Sherwood August 4, 2013 6 a.m.
Vancouver-based Nautilus has been through more ups and downs over the past decade than the fitness fans who use its TreadClimber exercise machine. But Bruce Cazenave -- Nautilus' fourth CEO since 2003 -- believes the era of cost-cutting and layoffs is finally over.
By Courtney Sherwood April 28, 2012 6 a.m.
The ways we buy and use electricity are in the midst of a dramatic shake-up, according to the Camas-based head of Underwriters Laboratories’ global wind energy efforts. And despite efforts to build this region’s eco-credentials, the Pacific Northwest is lagging behind a number of California and Midwest communities, Jason Hopkins said in a keynote address at Friday’s Clean Energy Industry Buyers & Sellers Forum in Portland.
By Courtney Sherwood January 29, 2012 6 a.m.
Today’s paper includes a stand-alone Business section, but for the rest of the past week The Columbian’s business pages were a little harder to find. Monday through Saturday, our stocks page, local reporting, and coverage of national and global financial news now begin inside the Clark County section, as of last week.
By Courtney Sherwood January 12, 2012 6 a.m.
Clark County foreclosures dropped by 25 percent in 2011, though homeowners continued to run into trouble at far greater rates than before housing prices began to slide in 2006, according to a report issued Wednesday.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John C. Williams was the keynote speaker at Tuesday's 2012 Economic Forecast Breakfast, presented by The Columbian.
By Courtney Sherwood January 4, 2012 6 a.m.
Portland-Vancouver area small business owners hired more people in 2011 than the year before, but paid them less, according to data released Tuesday, and hiring should continue to climb in 2012, with half of all small business owners planning to add jobs in the year ahead.
By Courtney Sherwood December 19, 2011 4:19 p.m.
If "Portlandia" was a TV spoof about life in Portland, what do you call a Web-based spoof about life in Vancouver?
By Courtney Sherwood December 9, 2011 6 a.m.
When I first started working in downtown Vancouver, I was excited by all the lunch options within walking distance of the office. It doesn’t take long, however, for the lower-priced restaurants to start seeming stale and for the cost of the others to add up. Sandwich Box is a new addition to the affordable downtown lunch scene.
By Courtney Sherwood November 27, 2011 6 a.m.
Have Clark County restaurant owners finally found a recipe for financial success? The allure of Portland’s well-developed food scene has long drawn Southwest Washington residents across the river for dinner. Add a prolonged era of high unemployment, and local dining establishments have been dealt a double blow in recent years.
By Courtney Sherwood November 15, 2011 6 a.m.
Close to 40 employers looking to hire a few good veterans will be in Vancouver on Thursday. And former armed forces personnel also will be able to tap into the state WorkSource program’s database, which lists more than 500 openings across Clark County. The veteran’s job fair, sponsored by Vancouver WorkSource and hosted by the Washington Army National Guard, is one of dozens of similar events scheduled this month across the U.S. after a number of governors — including Washington’s — declared November “Hire-a-Vet Month.”
By Courtney Sherwood November 13, 2011 6 a.m.
‘Shop local” is a rallying cry small stores usually direct at shoppers, regardless of where those stores buy their own supplies. But more and more often, businesses that want their customers to stay close to home are practicing what they preach.
By Courtney Sherwood November 6, 2011 6 a.m.
All the recent headlines about what isn’t getting done in our nation’s capital left me wondering what overlooked legislation local business people should know about. Here’s a roundup of business-related congressional actions taken since summer — and why they matter to Clark County’s economy:
By Courtney Sherwood November 1, 2011 6 a.m.
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco will be the keynote speaker for The Columbian’s 2012 Economic Forecast Breakfast in January. The annual event at the Hilton Vancouver Washington is scheduled for Jan. 10 and will feature John Williams, who was named president and chief executive officer of the body in March.
By Courtney Sherwood October 30, 2011 6 a.m.
Is the sun setting on Clark County solar opportunities? Or does the sector offer bright opportunities for job creation here? Already, the greater Portland-Vancouver metro area has a foothold in solar, thanks to SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Ore., which claims to be America’s largest, most advanced photovoltaic production site. Japanese corporation Sharp this year chose to base its U.S. solar operations in Camas. Vancouver silicon manufacturer SEH America has hinted that it might venture into the field.
By Courtney Sherwood October 23, 2011 6 a.m.
Clark County’s economy managed to tread water in the third quarter of 2011, but struggling businesses and unemployed workers were still at sea in the July to September period. And even normally optimistic economists don’t expect the county — or the state or nation — to come ashore in the foreseeable future. Staying afloat at least beats drowning, which the pessimists fear.
By Courtney Sherwood October 4, 2011 6 a.m.
There’s no budget, no timeline and no big businesses yet interested in locating to West Hayden Island. But sometime in the next ten to 20 years, city of Portland and Port of Portland officials hope to build a 300-acre marine terminal on the Oregon island that includes Jantzen Beach.
By Courtney Sherwood September 2, 2011 6 a.m.
You could drive across town to Mon Ami for its Stumptown coffee and crepes, and you’d come away with a satisfied palate. But that’s really not the whole point of this funky Uptown Village eatery. Mon Ami is the kind of neighborhood hangout that it feels good to live near.
By Courtney Sherwood September 1, 2011 6 a.m.
Clark County bankruptcy filings have dropped by more than 11 percent this year, mirroring a trend that’s been observed across the nation. American Bankruptcy Institute Executive Director Samuel Gerdano told news agency Reuters that he expects overall U.S. bankruptcy filings to total about 1.4 million this year, down from a five-year high of 1.53 million in 2010. But it’s a puzzling local and national decline, coming at a time when foreclosure rates and unemployment remain high.
By Courtney Sherwood August 14, 2011 6 a.m.
When Keith Scott read the comments other small-business owners delivered to U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, on Aug. 8, he was puzzled. The statements seemed to imply that small businesses have special tax disadvantages, and that proposed increases to personal income tax would make things even worse.
By Courtney Sherwood August 12, 2011 6 a.m.
When a for-profit business that travels the nation buying coins, precious metals and paper currency made a stop in Vancouver this week, Ed and Mary Ann Statler decided to check it out. “There were old coins that we had been carrying around for years,” said Mary Ann Statler, 67. “I went on the Internet to see what they were worth.”
By Courtney Sherwood August 9, 2011 6 a.m.
When federal policies create winners and losers, more often than not, small businesses end up losing out, leaders from a dozen Southwest Washington companies told U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, on Monday. At an invitation-only Vancouver gathering that included contractors, a dentist, a hotel owner, and the head of several hobby shops, Herrera Beutler asked for insight into how taxes and regulations affect job creation in the region. “The goal here is for me to learn from you,” she said. “What would you like me to know, as I’m wading through these issues?”
By Courtney Sherwood August 6, 2011 6 a.m.
Children as young as 6 were picking strawberries for no pay at three Southwest Washington farms, in violation of federal law, officials with the U.S. Labor Department alleged Friday. Labor officials said they found nine children between the ages of 6 and 11 at work on the farms on June 25. George Hoffman Farms and Berry Good Farms, both of Ridgefield, and Woodland’s Columbia Fruit LLC were collectively fined $73,050 for allegedly violating provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
By Courtney Sherwood July 25, 2011 6 a.m.
When Felicia Hill started shopping for a birthday cake for her son three years ago, she had no idea that she was embarking on a journey that would take her to Olympia and end with a change to state laws. The Hazel Dell stay-at-home mom just wanted to find a safe cake for her son to eat. As of Friday, the state’s “cottage foods” law officially went into effect, in large part because of her efforts.
By Courtney Sherwood July 24, 2011 6 a.m.
Home sales faltered, home values fell, unemployment stagnated, retail sales growth slowed. The second quarter of 2011 was anything but pretty in Clark County. Sure, there was some good news — Sapa Extrusions said it would bring 100 jobs to the Port of Vancouver, Sharp’s Solar Energy Solutions Group announced it would relocate from California to Camas, bringing up to 35 jobs. Those announcements add to other commitments made over the past year by PeaceHealth, FarWest, BHP Billiton and others. But it will take months or years before all the promised jobs arrive. Meanwhile, local leaders are examining policies and looking for ways to strengthen Southwest Washington’s economy for the long run.
By Courtney Sherwood July 22, 2011 6 a.m.
Why: Tucked into a storefront next to the Salmon Creek Fred Meyer, Bamboo Hut offers healthy Asian-inspired food that’s easy for diners to customize. Sauces come on the side, so you can choose whether to drench your chicken in teriyaki sauce or take it light. Though chicken, salmon and prawns play center stage in more than half the entrees, Bamboo Hut also has a robust vegetarian menu that makes abundant use of tofu and soy chicken. It’s one of the few places around where vegetarians can order pho, a hearty Vietnamese stew usually made with beef broth.
By Courtney Sherwood July 17, 2011 6 a.m.
Forget alternative energy or high-tech health care. Clark County’s developing a niche with no help from the economic development experts: vice. Just look at the evidence. Booze, gambling and drugs are all growing sectors in our economy, bringing in millions of dollars and likely employing hundreds of local people. The booze is the least controversial. As reporter Sue Vorenberg writes in today’s Life section, Vancouver’s got a burgeoning beer scene, with a handful of established microbrew pubs and tasting rooms already here and more on the way. Clark County also has a small but growing wine scene, with Three Brothers Winery, East Fork Cellars and Gouger Cellars Winery all earning awards in recent years. Beyond locally made drinks, Clark County liquor sales are up 35 percent to $38.2 million over the past decade, when adjusted for inflation, according to the state Liquor Control Board.
By Courtney Sherwood July 10, 2011 6 a.m.
Executive pay is climbing again at Clark County’s four publicly traded companies. Corporate presidents, finance chiefs and other company leaders saw their compensation climb by 4.1 percent, on average, in 2010, according to a Columbian review of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These business leaders earned an average of $361,302 in salaries, bonuses and other compensation, including stock options and perks.