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Business Connection Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties Brooke Fisher Executive Director

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Campaign champions community care

March 2020

Volume 12 • Issue 3 Business Connection is published monthly by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 105 N. Minor Road • Kelso, WA 98626

STAFF

Bill Marcum, CEO Amy Hallock, Project Manager Pam Fierst, Office Manager Joelle Wilson, Social Media Service

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nited Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties has established community value as a cornerstone resource for funding essential human service programs steered by data and vetting processes, recruitment and deployment of volunteers and advocacy and collaborative efforts to improve systems and reduce inefficiencies and barriers to health equity for all. United Way has its priorities and sights set to reach its horizon goals: that all adults and youth are healthy, all students will graduate high school prepared for diverse post-secondary opportunities and beyond, and all families are financially stable. United Way provides an opportunity for growth and sustainability for specific programs that aid in achieving progress toward the big goals. Many of these programs would struggle without United Way support. Several partner agencies are small but mighty, offering essential services to community members, but are resource constrained or they miss out on other funding opportunities due to eligibility requirements or criteria.

k CONTACT US

360-423-8400 kelsolongviewchamber.org To advertise, call Bill Marcum 360-423-8400 or bmarcum@kelsolongviewchamber.org Ad Deadline 20th of Each Month

READY for Kindergarten is one such “small but mighty” program that United Way funds with Community Caring Project (Parent’s Place). “This program offers a series of 15 classes to parents/caregivers of children ages zero to five, with tools and strategies to assist them in teaching and assessing skill levels in cognition, literacy and social and emotional development,” stated Kathie Griffin, Community Caring Project executive director. “The need in Cowlitz County is critical with 75 percent of local children entering kindergarten performing below grade level standards. Program data indicates that of the children who start behind, 71 percent are still behind by fifth grade. This exponentially lessens the prospect that these kids will graduate high school. United Way funding is critical to the READY for Kindergarten program, and United Way’s long-term community impact goal of improving local graduation rates.” Your support is encouraged. Help United Way continue bringing the value of impact to our community. Donations can be made through March 31 at www.cowlitzunitedway.org to support the current United Way campaign.


Kelso Longview Chamber Bill Marcum CEO

Sitting on a board, a duty and commitment

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ur Small Business Boot Camp ramps up again for the 2020 season with our popular Boardsmanship series starting this week. If you are on a nonprofit board for the first time, the new president or chair of the organization or you are the incoming president for 2021 this sixclass series is for you. I remember the first time I was asked to serve on a nonprofit board. I asked, “What is the time commitment?” The person recruiting me said, “An hour board meeting a month.” I thought that is nothing, I can do that, okay, I’m in. The first year I was asked to assist with the “major fundraiser” for the organization. “What does that include?” I asked. “An hour planning meeting monthly until the month prior and then one-hour weekly meetings,” was the answer. Again, I thought okay, I can do this. But, wait, months down the road we need to secure $100,000 worth of items for the auction, find 30 volunteers, a banking

institution to assist with the funds, an auctioneer, aquire licenses and permits and the list went on and on. It was overwhelming at times. In reality, my one hour a month turned into more than 20 with accountability for $100,000 and the legal steps to secure those funds through an auction. In no way was I ready to take this step, lucky I had a mentor who worked with me almost daily...yes, I had a full-time job also. This is why Boot Camp was created. To help you better understand the obligations you have when you join a board. It is NOT a one-hour a month commitment, no matter what your best friend (recruiter) is telling you. Plus, there are huge financial issues that you need to be aware. And, last but certainly not least, is working with the diverse set of personalities on the board for the betterment of the nonprofit organization and learning how to work together to accomplish its mission. Think it sounds easy? It’s not...the Chamber’s Boardsmanship is here to help you understand your commitment to the organization when you said yes. Starting this week... don’t miss this opportunity. The entire board, the president and/or the CEO can attend the series, or they can select certain board members to attend specific classes. The main thing is you need to attend. Be board ready. March 6 – Mike Claxton – Role of the Board vs. the CEO

Consistent Courteous Complete Title and Escrow Services

March 13 – Frank McShane – Working as a Team March 20 – Jennifer Leach – Handling Conflict (Colors of the Board) March 27 – Scott Davis – Financial Accountability April 3 – Chris Bailey, LCC – (Heritage Room) Succession Planning – Board and Staff April 10 – Jennifer Leach – Facilitating and Leading Meetings (Robert’s Rules) Fridays, 7:30-9 a.m. in the Lower Columbia College Admin Building, Student Center conference room. The cost is $100 (members) for all six classes, $160 (nonmembers) and you can bring as many board members as you would like and your executive director for that price. Call the Chamber to register; only 30 spots available, 360-423-8400

1425 Maple Street • Longview, WA 98632

360.425.2950

www.cascade-title.com 2 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020

We’ve moved our business and tourism expo Building Bridges to October 7 at the Cowlitz County Event Center. Too many events in March and April have forced us to move the date from the spring to the fall. This event has been a very successful for the Chamber and the more than 75 businesses that attend. We will be in contact in August to secure your spot at this event.


Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Frank Panarra, President Foster Farms Chris Roewe, President Elect Woodford Commercial Real Estate Lisa Straughan, Vice President Express Employment Professionals Neil Zick, Treasurer Twin City Bank Michael Claxton, Legal Counsel Walstead Mertsching

Cowlitz Economic Development Council Ted Sprague President

Annual meeting planners seek step up in sponsorship

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he Cowlitz Economic Development Council (CEDC) Annual Meeting will take place March 10 at the Cowlitz County Event Center featuring keynote presentations from the dynamic duo of Suzi and Eric Levine. Doors will open

at 11:30 a.m. and the event will begin at noon. Suzi LeVine’s position with Employment Security is a cabinet level position in Governor Inslee’s cabinet. It is crucial to current and future companies in Cowlitz

Nick Lemiere, At Large Edward Jones

County that we show her the overwhelming support the CEDC has at the local

MaryAlice Wallis Mayor of Longview

organizations and businesses supporting the meeting and we would be pleased to add

John Paul KUKN-KLOG-101.5 The WAVE

sponsorship.

Rich Gushman Gibbs & Olson

that we may have your business included on all available marketing opportunities

Marlene Johanson Heritage Bank

our website – cowlitzedc.com. Last year the CEDC Annual Meeting hosted well over

Wendy Kosloski Teague's Interiors

level through sponsorship of this event. We currently have 17 proud community your name to the list. This is the CEDC’s only major event of the year where we seek

Please let us know which level you are interested in at your earliest convenience so before and at the event for that level. Sponsorship benefits and costs can be found on 250 attendees and garnered attention from industry, government and the media. This year, we are pleased to bring Suzi and Eric LeVine in as our keynote speakers.

Nancy Malone Mayor of Kelso

Suzi oversees all of the regional economists in the state of Washington and will

Cherelle Montanye St. John/PeaceHealth

trends. She also served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein and

Bruce Pollock Bicoastal Media

She recognizes that not everyone in our economy needs a four-year degree and has

Tom Rozwod NORPAC

future.

Ted Sprague Cowlitz Economic Development Council Michael Vorse Minuteman Press Dennis Weber Cowlitz County Commissioner

be speaking on topics including, but not limited to, current and future economic has some innovative ideas around apprenticeships and the workforce of the future. innovative ideas on how we match the workforce of the future with the jobs of the

Eric is a former senior vice president at Microsoft and an entrepreneur. We anticipate he will be sharing his expansive knowledge as a former employee of a Fortune 500 corporation and his experiences as a cutting-edge small business owner. We greatly appreciate your support of the CEDC as we strive to build up Cowlitz County through leadership and action. Please let me know if you need any additional information. You do not need to be a CEDC member to attend or to sponsor. For more information, please give us a call at 360-423-9921. Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 3


2020 Small Business

BOOT CAMP Spring Series starts Friday, March 6 Friday Mornings ★ Lower Columbia College

7:30 am - 9 am ★ Student Center Conference Room

BOARDMANSHIP sERIES

March 6 Role of the Board vs. the CEO Mike Claxton Walstead Mertsching

March 13 Working as a Team Frank McShane Square Peg Consulting

March 20 Handling Conflict Jennifer Leach Past President Longview School Board

March 27 Financial Accountability Scott Davis Davis and Associates, CPAs

April 3 Succession Planning Chris Bailey LCC President (meets in Heritage Room)

April 10 Facilitating and Leading Meetings Jennifer Leach Past President Longview School Board

$

No pricing change since 2013!

100 Members

★ $160 Non-Members

leadership 2.0 series Starts in May

Sponsored by:

360-423-8400

www.kelsolongviewchamber.org


Lower Columbia College

Calendar Monday March 2 – 7am Legislative Briefing Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge Wednesday March 4 – 8am Education Foundation Goodwill Thursday March 5 – 7:30am Ambassadors Meeting Columbia Bank Friday March 6 – 7:30am Small Business Boot Camp Begins Continues every Friday through April Topic: Boardmanship Lower Columbia College Monday March 9 – 7am Legislative Briefing Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge Tuesday March 10 – 5-7pm Business After Hours Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge Monday March 16 – 7am Legislative Briefing Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge Tuesday March 17 – Noon Chamber Executive Board Mill City Grill Monday March 23 – 7am Legislative Briefing Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge

Chris Bailey President

Next step for LCC: A world class skills center

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ower Columbia College (LCC) is proud of the remarkable facilities we currently enjoy on our Longview campus. We have a state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot Health and Science Building that rivals any such building in the United States.

With the help of a federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant, LCC obtained nearly $2 million worth of new equipment in that building. We not only have a human cadaver; we now have a simulated cadaver. We have a nurse simulation lab that is world class including one “sim” that gives birth. And we became only the second college in the state, after the University of Washington, to have an electron scanning microscope. Our chemistry labs are as complete as anything at Harvard or Stanford. Our Rose Center is one of the finest collegiate performing arts buildings in the entire state. With two working theaters, an art gallery, and a music and arts endowment that matches any four-year school, this facility is one of the true cultural focal points of our community. The Stoller Athletic Complex is the envy of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). Story Field hosts the NWAC baseball tournament every year. And our overall athletic program is currently the premiere program in the three-state conference. What if we did something similar on the vocational side of education? There have been several attempts locally to bring a vocational skills center to our community. What if that skills center was LCC? The community could leverage and enhance what it already has rather than duplicate with a new campus that splits funding among our

Tuesday March 24 – Noon Chamber Board Meeting Mill City Grill

already existing educational entities. LCC currently sits number eight on the Washington

Friday March 27 – 11:45am-1:15pm Quarter Luncheon Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge

machining, welding, manufacturing and information technology. Our intent is to obtain

Monday March 30 – 7am Legislative Briefing Kelso-Longview Elks Lodge Every Wednesday Your Chamber Connection KEDO/1400 AM or 99.1 FM 3-4pm Stream live at www.kedoam.com

State Community and Technical College capital budget list. LCC’s proposal is to build a new 55,000 square foot, state-of-the-art vocational building to house programs like grant money and donations for equipment to make it a world class skill center for the entire community. It will be a place for vocationally-minded high school students to get the skills to get a high paying career instead of just a job, and it will help provide skilled workers for our local industries and unions. Coupled with our Lower Columbia Regional University Center, and the potential expansion of LCC’s own Bachelor of Applied Sciences Programs, what kind of amazing public institution is LCC destined to become? Only time, and our collective effort, will tell. Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 5


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Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments Bill Fashing CEO

Census count just around the corner

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he Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) is continuing efforts to educate and inform area residents on the upcoming 2020 Census scheduled

for April 1. The Census is mandated in the U.S. Constitution and has been conducted every 10 years since 1790 when Thomas Jefferson directed the first Census of the country. Major uses of information gathered in the Census: •

Determine congressional representation for each state

Communities rely on census statistics to plan for a variety of resident needs including new roads, schools and emergency services

Funds for a variety of federal and state programs are distributed based on census counts

Business use census data to understand markets and make decisions

Census day is actually April 1, but you can expect to receive your census form in March. About 95 percent of the population will receive the census notification in the mail. The notice will provide details on how to respond electronically for the first time in the history of the Census. Your original correspondence will include a letter invitation asking you to complete the Census online. Census staff will be persistent and provide a number of reminders – so act

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large federal spending programs in federal funds was guided by data derived from the 2010 Census. With a population of about 7.5 million in the state, that equates to about $2,200 per person. In Cowlitz County that amounts to the possibility of about $240 million in benefit to county government, city government, schools, nonprofits and others that are providing services to area residents. If we miss 1 percent of the population that results in loss of eligibility for as much as $2.4 million based on estimates from the state allocations each year. The CWCOG’s Complete Count Committee is interested in meeting with employee groups, clubs, organizations and others as interested to share the message of the 2020 Census. Please let us at the CWCOG know if are interested in sponsoring a presentation on the Census to help inform the public on the importance of a

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complete count in Cowlitz County. As always, please feel free to call 360-577-3041 with questions, thoughts or to engage in the CWCOG’s programs. Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 7


Buiness Toolbox Jerry D. Petrick Certified Business Adviser

7 strategies to retain your best customers

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o you direct all your marketing and advertising energies and resources toward attracting new customers? If so, you are not alone. Most businesses are focused almost exclusively on chasing and capturing as many new customers as they can – often at the expense of ignoring their existing customers. (Think wireless phone companies – to get THE best deal you often must switch to a new carrier. So much for rewarding customer loyalty.)

4. Make it difficult for your customers to switch to the competition – price matching; subscription sales discounts; bundled after sales service; and provide impeccable customer service

Just for curiosity, you may want to take a close look at the source of your sales and profits – which customers generate the most profits for your business? It is very common that 80 percent or more of your sales and profits come from repeat business from existing customers.

7. Actively engage in cross selling and up selling to increase the sales and profits per transaction/per customer

If you find that 80 percent of your business is coming from 20 percent of your customers, you may want to consider some strategies for staying in touch with those customers. Retaining customers and serving them over their lifetime can mean $1,000s for your business. Here is an excerpt from Forbes.com to consider: “Never Underestimate the Value of Retention For those who feel that customer retention plays a relatively minor role in helping a company grow a healthy bottom line, here are a few statistics you might be interested in. According to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. And if those numbers don’t impress you, Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. Still not sold on customer retention? One final statistic provided by Lee Resource Inc. should give you plenty to think about: Attracting new customers will cost your company 5 times more than keeping an existing customer.” Here are some practical ways to generate energy around your customer retention strategies: 1. Communicate with your existing customers on a regular basis – this could be a great way to use your social media tools 2. Show your appreciation for their business and nurture customer loyalty – using a customer loyalty/referral program appropriate for your business 3. Look for ways to build trust between your business and your customers – establish ways to reward loyalty with non-advertised sales/services/bundles/discounts 8 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020

5. Expand product lines based on customer input/feedback 6. Anticipate the changing needs of your customers – pay attention to industry trends and supplier insights

If you have lost customers, you may want to work to learn why they abandoned you (competitor/substitute offering/stopped buying etc.) and react accordingly to win them back or otherwise cultivate the relationship. In order to implement a strategy, you will need to develop a database to know who your customers are and what they mean to your business – in other words, what they contribute to your sales and profits. Who is REALLY your best customer? How do you define what a ‘good’ customer is? Do you know which customers are your most profitable? Hint…the customer who comes in everyday to buy and item or two and catch up on gossip may be costing your business money based on the low level of profit their purchases contribute and high level of service they require. You have already invested a lot of money in the customers you have and those you’ve lost. So, making a special effort to retain or win back your current/past customers makes cost effective sense for your business. Find out who your BEST customers truly are: •

take great care of them

make it easy for them to promote your business

learn from them how to attract more customers like them

provide them with enhanced value and show them the love!

This article is based, in part, on the book E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and was prepared by Jerry Petrick, MBA, certified business adviser with the Washington State University (WSU) Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Jerry provides no-cost, confidential business advisory services by appointment. Contact him via email: jerry.petrick@wsbdc.org


QUARTERLY LUNCHEON

Friday • March 27 • 11:45am - 1:15pm Elk’s Lodge • 900 Ash St. Kelso

$25 in Advance $35 at the Door

HOW TO FISH FOR Lobsters WITHOUT CATCHING CRABS

Did you know lobsters are immortal? They never stop growing. But, in order to grow, they must first experience immense pressure and discomfort in order to make room for their new shell. Your best employees are like lobsters; striving for growth and embracing challenges to do great work. Crabs, on the other hand, are the cancer within the culture of your organization. When one tries to climb ahead, the rest of them will pull him down as if to say, “If I can’t have it, neither can you.” Learn how to create and deliver a talent strategy to attract the best producers and eliminate the negative disengagement from your teams.

Register at

www.kelsolongviewchamber.org ELISA GARN, SHRM-SCP EVANGELIST FOR A BETTER HR

Elisa’s experience includes more than 15 years in HR, recruiting and business development primarily with small to mid-sized businesses. Her passion for HR is obvious: She has served as the President for Salt Lake SHRM, co-founded DisruptHR SLC, currently serves as the Executive Director for Utah SHRM and acts as an advisor and member of several business-focused groups. Sponsored by:


Cowlitz County Commissioners Arne Mortensen County Commissioner, District 1

Blurred lines between County and City require focus and eye for detail

T

he relationship between Cowlitz County administration (County) and the administrations of the cities (Cities or City) in the county is complex. Throwing in the various

ports and other districts in the County leads to greater complexity. Within the County itself, there are many functions that operate nearly autonomously under their own elected official. The Board of County Commissioners is the fabric that holds all of these entities under one umbrella, the County. So, it is not surprising that there are frequent misunderstandings, not only between the governmental entities, but also between the people and the County. A common belief is that the Commissioners can do what they please, with no consideration

When a request by another governmental entity for, say a new ordinance or agreement, comes before me, this is one question I will ask, “Is the County actively preventing you from doing what you want to do?” If the County is not, then we should not need yet another agreement. Of course, that is a bit simplistic in some cases, but it is applicable to many cases. In the case of funds that are prescribed by law to be handled by the County, the distribution of these funds is challenging. It is quite common for those requesting funds to feel that they have not been treated equitably. Sometimes, the specific legal constraints on the money are not understood, and sometimes there is limited appreciation for the big picture that governs the proper allocation

of the other elected officials or governmental entities. We see this

of a scarce resource (money) between contending groups. County

outlook when Commissioners are asked to fix a problem that

Commissioners are looking at all 108,000 residents of Cowlitz

is governed by many considerations that cross “jurisdictional”

County, not just those who live in one jurisdiction. I am happy to

boundaries.

report that your current BoCC does not play district territorial

Some amount of bureaucracy is inevitable and constructive, but when we work to satisfy bureaucracy, we have a problem.

games; when it comes to allocating funds we look at the big picture. The homeless issues driving discussion today is a good example

Complexity creates bureaucracy so I can safely say, we have a

that illustrates the concept of necessary cooperation that transcends

problem.

territorial boundaries. At a recent Longview City Council meeting,

Complexity arises over time as agreements pile on agreements and as we try to codify solutions. No engineering solutions are perfect; that is why we go, say, from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Continuing with the analogy, Windows 7 is no longer supported; MS no longer has to work to that “bureaucracy.” But in government we just keep adding regulations and agreements, so we work to a plethora of bureaucratic mandates, and we never retool, like we did discarding DOS and going to Windows. I focus on reducing complexity, which produces many benefits, clarity and transparency being two. A key part of reducing complexity is to have well defined lines of interaction. We have

some council people said this is a county problem, and asked the city manager to tell the County to fix the problem. That statement, of course, flies in the face of two key points: 1) the homeless are in the city, not the county, and 2) the County has no control over city policies. My view is that the entire county itself is harmed by the homeless situation, and that Longview city residents are part of the county; therefore, I am happy to help the City of Longview to find accommodations to the problems. I (and I think the BoCC) is ready to help. The stumbling block: no one really knows what to do because some are not willing to accept the reality that the same methods continued will lead to the same failed results. To close, cooperation always is in style. Results are in realizing

jurisdictional boundaries for a purpose, and we must be careful

that we are all citizens of Cowlitz County, and what hurts one hurts

when we blur these lines.

all.

10 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020


More in Store at The Columbia! CELTIC ILLUSION

Wednesday, March 4th 7:30 p.m. Two incredible art forms in one unforgettable

theatrical experience the whole family will enjoy. Impossible illusions and spine-tingling orchestral music. Showcasing a stellar cast of internationally-acclaimed dancers, including performers from both Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, this show offers amazingly fast taps! Tickets $40-$50, Students $20. FIBRE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION Rainy Months Series for Kids!

MISS NELSON HAS A FIELD DAY A Dallas Children’s Theater’s National Touring Production Sunday, March 8th 2:00 p.m. • FREE Fibre Family Fun activities at 12:30 p.m.

Return to Horace B. Smedley School where they have never won a football game. Miss Nelson comes to the rescue when her alter ego, Miss Viola Swam whips the team into shape. THIS IS A $2 FOR THE SCHOOLS show benefitting Castle Rock Elementary, Castle Rock. Tickets: $7 each or 6 for $30.

CATAPULT DANCE AN AMERICA’S GOT TALENT SEASON 8 FINALIST!

Friday, March 20th 7:30 p.m. Catapult is, technically, a shadow dance company.

What it really is: a theatrical art form that is an amazingly imaginative combination of dance, story-telling, and sculpture. Catapult is a magical production that features incredible dancers who work behind a screen to create shadow silhouettes of shapes from the world around us. Audiences of all ages love the effortless transformations. THIS IS A $2 FOR THE SCHOOLS show benefitting St. Rose School, Longview. Tickets $35-$45, Students $20.

CLASSIC FILM SERIES:

HOW THE WEST WAS WON

Thursday, March 26th 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.

A 1962 epic western starring Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, and John Wayne. Tickets $8. FIBRE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION Rainy Months Series for Kids!

YAO YAO Presented by Brush Theatre of Seoul, South Korea

Sunday, March 29th 2:00 p.m. • FREE Fibre Family Fun activities at 12:30 p.m.

YAO YAO is a playful blend of reality and imagination, using interactive screen art technology and live music. Best for Grades: Pre K -2nd. THIS IS A $2 FOR THE SCHOOLS show benefitting Barnes Elementary, Kelso. Tickets: $7 each or 6 for $30.

You

e Invit'r ed

2020 SOUP-OFF!

NA & C ARL FORSBE O L A THE MainStageSeason RG

FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020 • 6 - 9 PM COWLITZ COUNTY CONFERENCE CENTER • A FUNDRAISER FOR THE COLUMBIA THEATRE

GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY! www.columbiatheatre.com • 360.575.8499


City of Kelso

City of Longview

Andrew Hamilton

MaryAlice Wallis

City Manager

Mayor

Electing a mayor puts teamwork in jeopardy

T

here are a number of factors one considers in deciding to run for public office as a city councilmember.

Most candidates are quickly thrust into the uncomfortable process of running for public office: within two weeks of filing, the candidate must file personal financial affairs statements and a candidate registration with the Public Disclosure Commission of Washington. These statements become public records, which are open for all to see. Candidates must go through months of campaigning where at times they are in debates and have to fight issues which often divide their communities. The candidate’s views may pit them between friends and family, and those “fights” may have a lingering effect over the rest of their candidacy and how they are perceived within their own communities and by their constituents. After election night, there is a collective sigh of relief for those candidates who have been successfully elected: they can now turn to their responsibilities as a team to do the collective good for their cities and constituents. However, their relief may be shortlived. As new councilmembers begin to prepare themselves to serve at their first council meeting, they are thrust once again into the political fray: the election of a city mayor. In Longview and Kelso our city council’s first responsibility, at their first meeting, places them in an immediate adversarial process to elect a mayor. This process may have the effect of polarizing the city council team concept when individual councilmembers are now vying against other elected councilmembers for the coveted title. In both Longview and Kelso this year the mayor was selected by a tie-breaking vote, a single vote made the difference. This obvious divide sets the tone for not only the rest of the meeting, but the makeup of the council and their future actions and coalitions. Thereafter, the balance of the first meeting requires the city councilmembers to work as a “team.” Many people question the potential negative impact that the “election” of a mayor has upon the rest of the hard teamwork that a council is charged to carry out. Would a different method of selecting a mayor, which does not involve an election within the council, have a different impact upon the council and their future success? Utilizing the “team” concept, perhaps we can change our form of mayor selection to come up with a better solution to ensure that division is not established in the first meeting agenda item. 12 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020

Happiness is a choice everyone can make

H

aving recently taken on the role of mayor while continuing to oversee the care of my aging father, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my life and the person I have become. From early childhood, I remember learning by example from my father the great value of choosing happiness. I recall Dad singing and whistling to me while he was getting ready for work in the mornings. He would smile and put a splash of Old Spice on my cheeks before he left the house. There’s no doubt those early life experiences put a spring in my step and sparked my interest in choosing “happy” as a way of life. I consider myself a glass-half-full person and I rarely let off steam or get flustered when challenging things come along. Even though life has not always been 100 percent amazing 100 percent of the time, I have chosen to see things in a positive light, to take things as they come and to deal with the outcomes with hope and optimism. I am grateful for the lesson of choosing happiness. Kate Bratskeir is a happiness researcher who took more than 40 years of data from multiple happiness studies and created a list called “The Habits of Supremely Happy People”. I share this adapted list below in the hope you will consider this new path of choosing happiness if you haven’t been on it before; and if it is already a welltraveled path for you, that you will find comfort knowing others really do notice and will be blessed by the happiness you share. 1. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people. Joy is contagious. People are four times more likely to be happy in the future with happy people around them. 2. Happy people try to be happy. When happy people don’t feel happy, they cultivate a happy thought and smile about it. 3. Happy people spend money more on others than they spend on themselves. Givers experience what scientists call the “helper’s high.” 4. Happy people have deep in-person conversations. Sitting down to talk about what makes a person tick is a good practice for feeling good about life. 5. Happy people use laughter as a medicine. A good chuckle releases lots of good neurotransmitters. A study showed children on average laugh 300 times a day versus adults who laugh 15 times. 6. Happy people use the power of music. Researchers found that music can match the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy. 7. Happy people exercise and eat a healthful diet. Eating a poor diet can contribute to depression. 8. Happy people take the time to unplug and go outside. Uninterrupted screen time brings on depression and anxiety. 9. Happy people get enough sleep. When people run low on sleep, they are prone to feel a lack of clarity, bad moods, and poor judgment. 10. Happy people are spiritual.


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Our Services • Build Site Analysis • Design Build • Site Research

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Our builders come to work smiling and ready to build your dream. They have a passion for their work and are qualified to build your design.

Dan Frazier Owner

Licensed & Bonded

360-749-3107 mtvcontracting.com 199 Rocky Point Road, Kelso WA 98626 MOUNTVC853D6


Mind Your Own Business (At The Library) Chris Skaugset Director – Longview Public Library

Planting the seeds for a great garden and a bumper crop of spring reading

S

pring seems to be here already this year, at least according to my lawn and the daffodils. That means it is a time for gardening. Whether you are growing food crops to feed your family (or in the case of zucchini, everyone you know) or ornamental plants and flowers, it is time for plants to begin or begin anew. A new exciting program that will be starting at your Longview library in March is a Seed Library. We are very excited about the project and there already seems to be a lot of interest and excitement in the community. Below is some more information about the Seed Library and a few gardening books to get you started this year. Longview Public Library is excited to announce the opening of a seed lending library. Starting March 2, Longview Public Library cardholders will be able to check out up to six packets (three of crop seed and three of flower or PNW native seed) per season (spring, summer, and fall), to take home and grow. The seed collection will be located in one of our old card catalog cabinets on the main floor. Participants are encouraged to save and return seeds of plants marked “easy.” Unsure about saving seed or even growing things? We will have a wealth of relevant books and handouts available, as well as monthly workshops on topics like seed saving, rock gardening, soil composition, and more. Call or come in to register. Are you an experienced grower and/or seed saver? Consider volunteering with us to grow out more complicated crops, give a presentation, or help beginners troubleshoot challenges. If interested, email austinb@mylongview.com with a description of your interests and background. For more information, visit http://www.longviewlibrary.org/ seedlibrary.php Find LPL Seed Library on Facebook and Instagram and help us spread the word. Upcoming Events: March 2 – Checkouts Open March 7 – 2-4 p.m., Seed Saving: Beginning the Journey March 25 – 5:30-7:30 p.m., Spring Plant Exchange May 2 – 2-4 p.m., Intro to Soil June 6 – 2-4 p.m., Restoring the Prairies with Native Seed All classes are free and require registration. Ask at the main desk or call 360-442-5300 to register. 14 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020

With this program we hope to provide seed as an accessible and affordable public resource, promote biodiversity and local adaptation, increase botanical literacy, and help build a more generous, selfreliant community. We hope this program can be a hub for learning and connection around the many ways our lives intersect with plants and we hope you'll join us, whatever your level of experience. The first book I would like to mention is “Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest” by Arthur Kruckeberg and Linda Chalker-Scott. This fully updated third edition of “Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest” includes revised designations for species, genus, and family names for numerous native plants, and more than 900 beautiful and informative color photos of native trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, and annuals. Each species has been carefully selected as garden-worthy, setting this book apart from encyclopedic tomes containing comprehensive lists of native plants. Building on the classic text by the late botanist Kruckeberg, horticulturist Chalker-Scott has contributed several new chapters on garden ecology and the latest in garden science. Thorough, practical, and easy to use, this updated edition of the book Sunset magazine called a “standard guidebook for anyone who gardens with Northwest Natives” will be invaluable to all Northwest gardeners. The next book is “How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in your Home and Heart” by Summer Rayne Oakes. For those of you who are interested in growing your plants indoors, this might be the book for you. The author, an urban houseplant expert and environmental scientist, is the icon of wellness-minded millennials who want to bring nature indoors, according to a New York Times profile. Oakes has managed to grow 1,000 houseplants in her Brooklyn apartment (and they are thriving.) Her secret is that she approaches her relationships with plants as intentionally as if they were people. Finally, I have for you, “Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History” by William Woys Weaver. Weaver’s classic work has always been a book for gardeners and cooks interested in unique flavors, colors, and history in their produce. This updated edition has been improved throughout with growing zones, advice, and new plant entries. Line art has been replaced with lush, full-color photography. Yet at the core, this book delivers on the same promise it made two decades ago: It’s a comprehensive guide based on meticulous first-person research to these 300-plus plants, making it a book to come back to season after season.


Connect with Legislators Legislative Briefing Breakfast Begins Monday, January 27, 7am, Elks Lodge And continue each Monday throughout the Legislative Session

John Braun

Senator 20th Legislative District

Each week, contact is made with our local legislators, either in person or by conference call, for an update on the bills and issues currently under consideration. Gary Chandler from the AWB is our main source of information as to what is going on in Olympia from a business perspective.

Dean Takko th Senator 19 Legislative District

As a business, you often feel the impact from some of the decisions made by our State Legislators on your ability to do business in Washington State. These breakfast briefings give you an opportunity to discuss personally with your elected officials issues that impact your business and seek options that provide for better business operations in Washington. Ed Orcutt

Representative, 20th Legislative District

Gary Chandler, VP with the Association of Washington Business leads a very lively discussion about proposed bills that can affect your businesses bottom line.

January, 27- (60 day session) Legislative Update Breakfast Monday’s During the Session Elks Lodge — 900 Ash St. Kelso 7:00 a.m. Richard Debolt

Representative 20th Legislative District

Jim Walsh

Representative, 19th Legislative District

May - December Legislative Committee Meetings First Monday of each month Location for 2020 —TBD Brian Blake

Representative 19th Legislative District


Business Connection Advertising Rates Effective January 1, 2020 Kelso-Longview Business Connection monthly newsletter is published the first of each month, posted electronically on our website and over 7,000 emailed to local business professionals, city and county officials. To be included in this monthly email, simply call the Chamber office at 360-423-8400. Size

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All ads include full color and any design work. Deadline is the 21st of the month prior to publication. Digital files: PDF, Tiff and JPEG. Non-Members of the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce please add 30% to above rates. See back for size examples. To advertise or request additional information please contact Amy Hallock at 360-423-8400 or ahallock@kelsolongviewchamber.org or CEO Bill Marcum at 360-423-8400 or bmarcum@kelsolongviewchamber.org.

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rve e s e R rly! Ea

2020 VISITOR & MEMBERSHIP GUIDE

Let visitors and businesses know about you! 12,000 visitors will come into the Visitor Center… and they are looking for YOU!

✔ Used year round by hundreds of local and out-of-area companies. ✔ A resource guide for the community.

Space is limited – Call today! 360-423-8400

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Electronic Files • Should be emailed to bmarcum@kelsolongviewchamber.org • Please include your company name and publication in the subject line. Logos, Images, Photos • Formats: High resolution JPG, EPS, TIFF, PDF • Resolution must be 300 dpi. Images from the internet cannot be used. Full Files • PDF format, high quality print setting (300 dpi with fonts embedded) Images for Scanning • Photographs (up to 8.5” x 11”), stationery, menus, business cards, etc. • Artwork for scanning must be clear and unmarked. • Digital artwork is preferred as this will give a higher quality result. If you have any questions regarding acceptable artwork, please call 360-423-8400 or email bmarcum@kelsolongviewchamber.org

105 Minor Road Kelso, WA 98626

360-423-8400 www.kelsolongviewchamber.org

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E DEAARLY D Mar LINE Save ch 2


Kelso Public Schools

Longview Public Schools

Mary Beth Tack

Dan Zorn

Superintendent

Superintendent

Thank you, thank you, Kelso community

L

ast month, Kelso School District citizens approved the replacement levy for Kelso School District that will restore, sustain, and enhance essential educational programs,

maintenance, and general district operations not completely funded by the state or federal government. We couldn’t be more grateful. Voters have passed every levy and bond measure for the last several decades, and it has made a significant difference in the quality of education for Kelso’s kids! Because of our community’s continual support, kids attending Kelso schools have: • 100 essential staff members contributing to their education • 139 clubs and activities to choose from that will help them explore their interests • 40 extra-curricular sports they can join • Robust fine arts and music programs – one of the best in the lower Columbia area and state • Nurses and health specialists to care for students • School resource officer (SRO) for safety and security to our students and staff Passing this levy directly impacts student learning. Our district can continue a tradition of doing great things for the students and community of Kelso. Thank you, thank you.

Grateful for citizens' levy support

T

he Longview Schools replacement levy passed with more than 58 percent support from the community – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for the steadfast support of the Kelso/Longview Chamber of Commerce. School districts need the trust and backing of the public to be successful and we so appreciate your commitment to our kids and schools. We are also thankful for our dedicated and professional employees. The genuine care the Longview Schools team has for the students we serve assures that we will continue to provide our kids a quality education and a bright future. We are happy to report student achievement has improved dramatically. About 10 years ago the high school graduation rate stood at 67 percent and the district was struggling. Now, the high school graduation rate is 86 percent, and above the state average. Reading achievement gains are also quite promising, with an average 15 percentage point gain of students testing at or above the state standards compared to their first year tested on the state mandated assessment. That translates into approximately 420 more kids reading at the standard level than the first year this data was collected. The reading gains we’re experiencing far exceed the average gains across the state. Though not as striking as our reading gains, our math gains also exceed the state’s average gains. The district is on the right path. While the district is on the rise, we have much work to do to assure that we continue to improve the education we provide our students. Your support of the replacement levy assures that we will continue to have the resources available to make this happen. Recently, the district pre-apprenticeship program earned state certification. We are one of just a few certified programs in the state’s high schools. This gives our students a unique advantage in pursuing careers in the trades.

Residential & Commercial gro.n.control@gmail.com

Our high schools have partnered with local businesses to help students gain actual work experience. We look forward to continuing to grow these partnerships. Companies within the Chamber of Commerce provide opportunities for students to learn job skills in a business environment. The goal is to make For more Longview Schools, see page 19

18 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020


Longview Schools from page 18

sure each student is prepared for life after high school, which means being “work ready”, if they don’t go to college, into the military, or into additional training opportunities. District employees are also doing outstanding work to meet the academic and social/emotional needs of our students. Creating a positive school climate where kids want to come to school leads to higher student achievement and brighter futures for our kids.

“First Class Service at Fibre Federal.” “Fibre Federal has assisted us with several of our business needs. They are knowledgeable, friendly, and go out of their way in assisting us with our stringent business needs. We appreciate all they do for us.”

Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on providing students a quality education. The passage of the replacement levy means our schools will have the staffing necessary to be successful and assures educators will have the materials and training to build upon the student achievement gains we are experiencing. You will also see a continued spotlight on literacy and graduation rates. Research consistently shows that kids with strong literacy skills and a high school diploma have an incredible opportunity for success in life. Because of your support, the Longview Public Schools are providing kids a quality education and on the right path. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Chamber and the community to help lift Longview.

Donna Marko, Owner of Great Escapes Travel Shoppe

Great Escapes Travel Bring your business to Fibre Federal for Business Plus Checking, Business Online Banking, Remote Deposit, low-cost loans, and incredible member service.

360.423.8750 1.800.205.7872 www.fibrecu.com

Federally insured by NCUA

Banking made easy

Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 19


Discover

100

1920-2020 portofkalama.com

Port of Kalama’s Spencer Creek Business Park is now available for development The 70-acre mixed-use commercial property is located just off I-5 in Kalama and is ready for lease to commercial businesses

The Port of Kalama this week announces that the Spencer Creek Business Park is now available for development and lease. Located north of Kalama River Road right off of Interstate 5, the much-anticipated Business Park offers 70 acres of developable commercial property that will support a mix of light industrial and commercial ventures including: · · · · · · ·

Lodging/Hospitality Services Retail Food/Beverage Convenience Gas Station More

Since 2014, the Port has invested in the preliminary infrastructure and construction of the site including filling and grading, installation of storm water treatment systems, and road improvements to make way for new commercial development. While East Port will be built out over 20 years, business park construction and operational activities are projected to support more than 1,000 jobs and millions of dollars in new local economic activity. “Maybe one of the region’s best kept secrets, this Port of Kalama commercial property, offers some of the best value and opportunity for businesses interested in affordability, accessibility and infrastructure-rich land on which to grow,” says Ted Sprague, president, Cowlitz Economic Development Council. “Spencer Creek Business Park offers an A+ location right off of I-5 with infrastructure in place for businesses looking to serve a well-trafficked stretch of the corridor. And best of all, developers get a long-term, committed, visionary and innovative partner in the Port of Kalama.” Interested developers and businesses should contact Liz Newman, marketing manager, Port of Kalama, 360-673-2379. https://portofkalama.com/port-of-kalamas-spencer-creekbusiness-park-is-now-available-for-development/


Longview Downtowners Lindsey Cope President

Shop Shamrock Saturday March 14

T

he Longview Downtowners invite everyone to our third annual Shop Downtown Shamrock Saturday.

Shamrock Saturday is like Small Business Saturday but in March the Saturday nearest to St. Patrick’s Day. More than 45 downtown businesses and at least one pop-up market within J Squared Barrel House Pets, Pawns & Imports Broadway Gallery Wood Furnishings Commerce Corner Collectables Elam’s Home Furnishings Sugar Pearl Dessert Company Jade Ann Boutique NW Sunshine Let’s Be Holistic Beauti Lounge HopScotch Toys Storyboard Delights Niche Siam Spice Longview Pawn Posh on Commerce Kait & Stella Teague’s Interiors Red Hat CAPtured Treasures All You Want & More

1157 3rd Avenue, Suite 218

1157 Longview, 3rd Avenue, WA Suite 98632 218 1157 3rd360.952.3100 Avenue, Suite 218 Longview, WA 98632 Longview, WA 98632 www.amadaseniorcare.com 360.952.3100 360.952.3100 www.amadaseniorcare.com www.amadaseniorcare.com 22 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020

The Merk will feature a variety of sales, prizes, raffles, vendors, promotional items, gifts and more. Commerce Avenue and the businesses will be decorated in green, gold, and all things St. Patrick’s Day. Come eat, drink, shop and get lucky this Shamrock Saturday. Participating businesses include, but are not limited to: Lynn’s Ice Cream Treasure’s & More Guse’s Coffee McThread’s Art Works The Soap Factory Tibbett’s Mercantile Children’s Discovery Museum Appliance Store The Raven Trendeavor Freddy’s Just for the Halibut Eye Clothing Halo Salon & Boutique Vintage Alley on Broadway Grant’s Restaurant Roland Wines Younique Boutique Mary Jane’s House of Glass Offbeat Antiques and Oddities Rivers Edge Makers Market inside the Merk Golden Ladder Interiors County Village Nutrition Shoppe


New Members Add your business to our growing membership. Call 360-423-8400 Today!

Business Association with opportunities to promote trade through Chamber socials, special events and committee participation. • Annual Meeting and Banquet • Networking Events • Committee Participation • Business Contacts • Quarterly Membership Meetings • Civic Representation

Look Who Joined in February Keys Plus Locksmiths

Contact: Tabitha Beneke 2025 9th Avenue, Suite 110 Longview, WA 98632 360-423-4443 tb@keyspluslocksmiths.com

Body and Spa Esthetics LLC Contact: Renee Callis 1339 Commerce Avenue No. 202 Longview, WA 98632 425-614-8557 facialrenee@gmail.com

• Monthly Business After Hours

JD Seal Coating & Paving Contractor Business Services include marketing for your business, referrals and access to Chamber publications and research data. • Mailing Labels

Contact: JD Maan 526 21st Avenue Longview, WA 98632 360-998-9220 jdsealcoatingco@gmail.com

• Membership Window Decals • Member Referrals • Ribbon Cutting • Website Links • Member to Member Discounts • Membership Directory • Tax Deduction • Newsletter • Business Card Display • Use of Chamber Logo

Representation through action committees, candidate forums and up-to-date action alerts. • Legislative Representation • Issues Tracking and Information • Task Forces • Candidate Forums • Legislative Update Breakfast

Body and Spa Esthetics LLC Ultrasound Body and Face Sculpting Treatments

• Demographics Publication

Membership Packages Basic • $275 or $26 per month

Licensed Esthetician Renee Callis

Bronze • $500 or $46.66 per month

1339 Commerce • #202 Longview, WA 98632

Silver • $1,000 or $86.33 per month

425-614-8557

Gold • $2,500 or $211.33 per month

Located in the Split ENZ Salon at the Merk Building

Platinum • $5,000 or $416.66 per month Diamond Club • $10,000 or $834 per month Nonprofit • $180 or $18 per month

bodyandspaestheticsllc.vpweb.com

Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 23


Are you feeling Lucky? Join us for some LCP St. Patrick’s Bingo!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Doors Open at 5 pm

First Game is at 6 pm $20 for 10 Games and Food Raffles

American Legion Post 155 1250 12th Ave, Longview

Cash No Host bar 21 and over

100% Of proceeds go to local high school seniors to further their education #itsforthekids Register online: www.kelsolongviewchamber.org


Ambassador of the Month Marc Silva Columbia Bank

Volunteering keeps bank branch manager busy

M

arc Silva with Columbia Bank was selected as February’s Chamber Ambassador of the Month. As part of the honor, we asked Marc to take some time out of his busy schedule and answer a few questions for us. Family? Wife: Kristin, Daughter: Lauren How long have you been an Ambassador? I have been an Ambassador for 2.5 years What prompted you to be an Ambassador? I enjoy being able to promote and sponsor our local businesses and community activities. What do you like most about volunteering with the Ambassadors? What I like most about being an Ambassador is the interaction with lots of people from our community. What is your favorite Ambassador story? My favorite story is when I was able to volunteer at sQuatch Fest.

Do you volunteer with any other organizations? Sandbaggers, Rotary, Knights of Columbus and Lower Columbia Professionals. What are you most proud of? I am most proud of the work and volunteering I get to do in my community What do you like to do for fun? I like to spend time with my wife and daughter at the beach or Disneyland and brewing beer. Chamber Ambassadors, known as the Red Coats, are an integral part of the Chamber of Commerce. The Ambassador team is made up of active Chamber volunteers whose responsibilities include meeting and greeting at Chamber events, welcoming new members and assisting at ribbon cuttings and community events. Ambassadors juggle busy professional careers while making time to assist the Chamber at a variety of events year long. If you would be interested in wearing a red coat and representing the Chamber, contact CEO Bill Marcum at the Chamber office.

Longview is home to one of the safest hospitals in America.

PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center has earned an “A” from the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. Thanks to the caregivers and providers who made this possible through their meaningful contributions to the delivery of safe, compassionate care every day.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is an elite designation from The Leapfrog Group, a national, independent watchdog that sets the highest standards for patient safety in the United States.

Learn more about PeaceHealth’s commitment to safety at peacehealth.org/patient-safety-and-quality

Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 25


a

Business After Hours Wheelin' in for Service

Wheeler's Collision and Paint, now with a second location at Columbia Ford, hosted February's Business After Hours. We didn't just learn about what they do, we were able to check out a number of other vendors too. In addition, the food was great and the giveaways were spectacular. Thank you.

a About 130 Chamber members attended the event. b We were able to check out one of the paint bays. c Joe Wheeler and winner Shawn Green of ServPro

b

See more photos on the Chamber’s Facebook page or click here.

c

Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 27


The Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce would like to THANK the following loyal members for renewing their partnership with us this February. AAll Out Sewer & Drain Service, Inc. Baker Lumber Company, Inc.

a

Brusco Tug and Barge, Inc. Carl's Towing Service & Repair, Inc. Carlson's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Cascade Natural Gas Corporation Coldwell Banker Bain Cole's Appliance Repair Comfort Inn Community Home Health & Hospice DBA Interiors Plus J H Kelly, LLC Life Works

Your Chamber Connection EVERY Wednesday on KEDO 1400AM

Join our hosts Carey Mackey, Red Canoe Credit Union; Karen Sisson, Stewart Title; Shawn Green, ServPro Longview/Kelso and Marc Silva, Columbia Bank for local guests and current events. Would you like an opportunity to be on Your Chamber Connection? Contact Bill or Amy at the Chamber 360-423-8400.

a Johnny and Shelley from Stageworks Northwest performed live for our radio show b Krista Lindenthal with Up to Par Cleaning c Frank Morrison and Julie Rinard with Core Health

Longview Orthopedic Associates, PLLC Longview Public Schools McDonald's of Longview-38th Avenue

Stream Your Chamber Connection live at www.kedoam.com

Ocean Beach Animal Hospital Pacific Fibre Products, Inc. Paperbacks Galore, Inc. Real Living The Real Estate Group Somerset Retirement Home and Assisted Living Viking Automatic Sprinkler Company Wasser & Winters Company William (BJ) R. Boatsman 28 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020

c

b


News & Events

News and events come from our website and press releases To see more visit kelsolongviewchamber.org

State economist foresees continued strong consumer confidence

Hourly earnings are continuing to increase but growth has slowed over the past year. The retail trade industry wages are much higher in Washington State due to headquartered retailers who are driving online sales and have successfully navigated both digital and physical channels.

I recently heard Steve Lerch, Executive Director and Chief Economist for the Washington State Economic and Revenue Council speak at a weekly Lobby Lunch hosted by AWB. He offered an update on the nation’s economy and what we can expect for the remainder of 2020.

Although much of the forecast was quite positive, international trade policy still remains uncertain. The U.S. and China have now signed a phase 1 agreement that has kept tariffs from going into effect, however future trade with China is still uncertain. In 2019, Washington exports to most countries declined and were hit pretty hard due to uncertainties with trade-wars.

From the Washington Retail Association's Inside Washington Retail Renée Sunde, President & CEO

The previous forecast was rolled out in November and according to Lerch does not reflect much change. Revenue collections are $169 million above expectations since last November and December real state excise tax collections were $74 million ahead of the forecast. This is likely due to a rush of sales ahead of January 1, due to the expected increase in tax rates on sales of more than $1.56 million. Lerch explained that consumer confidence continues to remain strong and small business confidence remains historically high– stronger than 2006, prior to the economic recession. Even as he reviewed confidence charts, he alluded to the possibility that outlooks could be even stronger than we think. U.S. and Washington labor markets did show some slowing in 2019 but still remain strong and healthy with no signs of recession expected in the forecast. Unemployment rates are the lowest in decades and many of the jobs include people who for years had been sitting on the sidelines.

The U.S. economy has been growing for a really long time, but long-term growth in itself does not automatically lead to recession. The expansion has been moderate but has continued since 2009 and currently does not show signs of slowing. A recent Wall Street Journal economist survey shows a decline in near-term recession probability. So, what does all this mean for retailers? Although the industry didn’t appear to add much to the economy in January, retail sales and consumer spending more broadly are expected to rise fast enough in 2020 to keep the economy expanding at a steady pace. Higher incomes and the lowest jobless rate in 50 years have given Washingtonians a lot of confidence. With heightened confidence, retailers who navigate changing consumer demands are likely to benefit in 2020.

Your Locally Owned and Operated Community Bank • Checking, Savings and CDs • Business Loans • Construction Loans • SBA Loans 729 Vandercook Way, Longview

(360) 414-4101 www.twincitybank.com

There’s a Difference. Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020 | 29


News & Events Rising state revenue gives lawmakers more money to work with From the Association of Washington Business By Andrew Lenderman

State government continues to collect more tax revenue than expected, thanks to a strong economy. Washington’s projected tax collections will increase by $606 million for the current budget cycle and $536 million for the next, officials announced. That means revenues for the current 2019-21 state budget will come in at more than $52.3 billion. It’s an increase of 13.6% compared to the revenue for the 2017-19 state budget. The major tax sources “still saw very good growth in the fourth quarter,” said Steve Lerch, executive director of the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. The growth was slightly slower compared to last year, he noted, but overall the state is “still seeing good strong collections from the Revenue Act.” That growth is expected to continue for the next two budgets, a council report shows. Revenue collections for the 2021-23 budget are projected at $55.7 billion, and revenues for the 2023-25 budget are projected to be $59.2 billion. This represents growth of 6.4 and 6.3% over the prior two year budget cycle, respectively.

Making Spirits Bright We are successful because of our customers. Their trust and continued business allows us to give back to our communities. In 2019, we donated $1.5 million to local nonprofits and volunteered 4,714 hours to help our neighbors in need. Thank you for your support so we can continue to improve the lives of those around us.

News and events come from our website and press releases To see more visit kelsolongviewchamber.org

The strong revenue report gives state budget writers more money to work with, and bolsters the argument they can manage the budget without raising new taxes. “We have a very robust budget,” said state Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, noting the Legislature has about $1.5 billion more in revenue compared to when lawmakers adjourned in April 2019. Lawmakers welcomed the positive report, noting it will help them address some of the challenges facing the state and – possibly – cut taxes. Rep. Timm Ormsby, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, mentioned homelessness, housing, early learning and behavioral health as challenges. “All of the areas that we’ve been making improvements in, we’re going to be able to maintain them certainly with this, and then strategic investments to improve our position,” said Ormsby, D-Spokane. “This gives us a specific opportunity to affect key problems in our state,” Braun said. He highlighted transportation, homelessness and childcare as issues where the Legislature could make an impact. Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, saw the revenue boost through a different lens: Tax relief. Orcutt highlighted the state’s property tax formula, which was changed in 2017 and 2018 when lawmakers overhauled the public school budget as a result of the McLeary lawsuit. “Because some of this additional revenue is being generated by property taxes, we should be looking at some property tax relief,” Orcutt said.

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Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC

30 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | March 2020

computer. tablet. phone. sign up today at 360.423.2210 or https://www.cowlitzpud.org/ebill


2020

January 14: Specialty Rents February 11: Wheeler & Columbia Ford March 10: Kelso/LV Elks April 14: Teri’s May 19: Cowlitz Title June 9: Port of Longview July 14: American Workforce Group August 11: Mint Valley Golf Course September 15: Rotary October 13: Farm Dog Bakery @ Life Works November 10: Monticello Park Prestige December 8: Holiday Mixer

Profile for Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce

March 2020 Business Connection  

March 2020 Newsletter of the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

March 2020 Business Connection  

March 2020 Newsletter of the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce