Supply chain woes, barren shelves, inflation steadily creeping upwards and unemployment still hovering around 4 percent might make you think 2021 wasn’t the best year to start a new business. But don’t tell that to the hundreds of individuals receiving new business licenses last year in Clark County.
It’s not just Vancouver where enterprising entrepreneurs decided to set up shop. Clark County’s smaller cities saw their fair share of growth, with a sizable portion of that growth happening in Battle Ground. According to city records, 137 new business licenses were issued last year in Battle Ground.
While many of the new licenses went to home-based businesses, there were also traditional brick-and-mortar businesses opening.
Perhaps the newest business in Battle Ground is Wave Vancouver Ketamine Clinic (www.waveanesthesia.com) on Main Street.
“We kind of quietly opened the first week of December and started seeing patients,” said owner Matthew Bolsoy. “We’re ramping up slowly to make sure we do it right.”
Although approved for use as an anesthetic by the Federal Drug Administration in 1970, ketamine’s use as a treatment in those with a major depressive disorder was approved in 2019 after researchers and physicians linked the two.
Battle Ground’s “restaurant row,” as some locals call it, south of retail giant Walmart saw the addition of Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Scotton Way restaurant officially opened in early December and brings the number of eateries along the half-mile stretch of Southwest 10th Avenue to nearly a dozen.
Another welcome addition to Battle Ground is Sweetly Bakery and Café (www.sweetlybg.com), also on Scotton Way, which opened on Oct. 22. Owner Irina Sirotkina moved to Battle Ground nearly five years ago. She said she decided to open the bakery to bring the selection and varieties typically found in big cities to her small town.
“We brought in a lot of French variations … we have a variety of croissants, we have macaroons, a lot of variation that no one else in town had,” Sirotkina said. “You would have to travel wide and far to find all of them.”
In addition to more traditional fares like cakes, pies and cupcakes, Sweetly Bakery also does custom orders for weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, parties and bars.
“We’ve done over 100 custom orders in just the two months since we opened,” she said.
Food and drinks on the go were a big hit last year. Battle Ground’s ThreeSixty Coffee Company (threesixtycoffee.com), a high-end espresso catering service for weddings, parties and corporate events, has been spotted around Portland and Southwest Washington at companies like Louis Vuitton, Staybridge Suites, KG Graphics and Black Pearl on the Columbia event center.
“We go all over the place. Wherever there’s a gathering, or party or wedding, we’ll go there,” co-owner A.Z. Suarez said.
What started out as a home-based business four years ago has steadily grown and now has five employees. Last year, the company moved to and incorporated in Battle Ground. Suarez said he and his wife, who is the majority owner, would like to open a retail site this year if they can find the right location for the right price.
“That’s been our five-year goal, and that’s 2022 for us. We’re just looking for the right opportunity for us to expand,” Suarez said.
Vendors at Ridgefield’s popular Carts by the Park food court welcomed a new addition last year, Drinks by the Park. Intended to complement Carts in the Park’s food offerings, Drinks by the Park was launched by Michael Dynes and Mark Wooten, who co-own Little Conejo eateries in Vancouver and Ridgefield. An application with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to get a license to sell alcoholic beverages is still pending.
Another home-based business to expand in 2021 was Ridgefield’s Wig Studio 1 (www.wigstudio1.com). After suffering with her own hair loss, Andrea Carlson founded the company in 2012 to provide alternative solutions to others. Last year, the company moved into its new offices on Pioneer Street.
“We just recently became an LLC (limited liability company), and because we’ve been experiencing so much growth, we purchased our first commercial property earlier this year,” Carlson said in December.
The new office provides employees with space to process, fill and ship orders to its online customers, Carlson added.
While the location doesn’t have a retail space yet, Carlson said she would eventually like to see clients by appointment at the site. For now, though, she said the online business is keeping her very busy.
Ridgefield also welcomed Meadow Run Stables last year.
“We acquired the property that was previously Alicorn Stables, which had been around for 16, 17 years,” said co-owner Benjamin Fairbanks.
Fairbanks said many of Alicorn’s clients stayed at Meadow Run, which offers a large outdoor arena for training as well as boarding.
“We’re not really changing anything,” he said, although they are in the process of reworking some of the facility’s pastures to allow for more boarders.
Creativity got a boost in Battle Ground when mother and daughter Tanya Johnson and Megan Northrup opened Elizabeth Marie Collective on Northwest First Way (www.facebook.com/elizabethmariecollective). The 1,500-square-foot space serves as a photo studio and event space.
The idea for it came to them as Northrup was preparing to host a party for her daughter’s birthday and struggled to find the right space.
“I’m a photographer and had rented out space here and in Portland. But it was something I really wanted to do … and add to the photography community,” Northrup said.
“It’s for events that are bigger than what your house can provide, and it’s a happy place for things to happen,” Johnson added.
The event space can seat between 50 to 70 people and has a kitchenette with a full-sized refrigerator and commercial sink, microwave and coffee maker. The photo studio has backgrounds provided as well as three sets — a bedroom with bassinet, a living room and a space with seamless backdrops.
Northrup said artificial lighting is not provided, although photographers can bring their own, because the space has abundant natural light.
“We have two full walls with floor to ceiling windows, the south wall and the west wall, so we get a lot of light,” she said.