Stop Leasing Own Your Business Property Workshop – October 1


Summer is definitely on the down hill slide. Kids are back to school, and it is time for us to present another session of Commercial Property 101 so that you can make 2014 the year you transitioned to owning your commercial property. This is a 90 minute workshop. You’ll get an overview of how over the past two years more than three dozen local companies have made owning their commercial property part of their business strategy.

You’ll learn how you can use an SBA 504 loan to qualify for making only a 10% down payment- protecting your working capital. In addition the SBA 504 can make it possible to have a below market interest rate that is fixed for twenty years. What that means is that you can keep you real estate costs from rising with inflation each year, which over the long haul will make you more profitable, improve your competitive position and generate more wealth through equity build up.

We’ll have a twenty five year veteran of the construction industry talk to you about the pitfalls you face during the  permitting process, and how you can actually make a partner of your city or county to reduce development time . Check out the Commercial Property Success Series link on our website-

Summer warms up coffee inventory


579685_Dutch_Bros__kiosk_1_t770 As part of the general higher economic activity levels here in Clark County the past twelve months  we are seeing a strong expansion in the number of coffee outlets.  Dutch Brothers has been very active in searching for sites and has two under construction in Hazel Dell .  This one , located at Northgate  Center on 99th Street and  Hazel Dell Avenue makes daily progress toward a mid September opening. Dutch Brothers who uses a franchise model for the majority of their expansion has a second location  adjacent to the new Panera Bread / MAJ Development  project on Highway 99.  Construction there has not begun.

Other recent announcements on new coffee locations- Compass Coffee on Main street owned by Bryan Wray, is going to open a second location in downtown Vancouver at the corner of Washington and 9th while the Luxe located at Washington and 7th and owned by Joseph Nutting and Joel Nehm, owners of Cream & Sugar Café, were joined by nearly 100 people on Thursday at the grand opening of their newest location: LUXE, by Cream & Sugar.

Nutting and Nehm started Cream & Sugar with a small location inside the VancouverCenter Building in 2008. Their next step was expanding to their 15th street location next to the Mill Plain Kinkos, and last year they became the official coffee shop in the ESD #112 community building.

LUXE is the pair’s newest vision, combing the café experience with fast casual dining in an elegant setting. The eatery is filled with rich tones, warm wood and padded chairs. You still order at the counter, but enjoy a higher-end atmosphere for lunch and dinner.



Top Projects tops off a great year



Wednesday July 23rd the Vancouver Business Journal held their 20th annual Top Projects recognition ceremony.  This years ceremony was well attended and you could feel the enthusiasm and optimism in the crowd for the improved business activity levels from the past several years.

Held at the former Vancouver City Hall – located on Broadway and 13th street and renamed Block 56 attendees were able to see how effectively the Firstenberg family has repurposed what was a tired lackluster space into something modern, simple yet very appealing.   Berger-Abam actually made their first public announcement that within a few weeks they will become the buildings first tenant.

Top Projects was highlighted by a significant number of public sector projects many resulting from the passage of education levees, as Clark County continues to answer the call to invest in their future.    Special recognition was given to the team that has rebuilt Evergreen School District’s Crestline Elementary.

While they did not win the Top Project – we’d like to plug MAJ – Mike Jenkins and his team for bringing new life and energy to Hazel Dell with the redevelopment of the former Steakburger site.   This project is literally changing the landscape on Highway 99 and we believe it will have impacts and ripples all up and down that corridor.

VBJ owner John McDonagh noted in his recent editorial that Top Projects has been an ongoing program that is starting it second decade.  The VBJ has done a great job at bringing recognition to the excellent work being done by the development and contractor communities here in Clark County.







Craft Brew Community Hops to a Steady Beat


beerWhile attending the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours tonight at Cellars 55 – which is a very cool venue ( especially where they store the wine) I met Mike Difabio.  Mike is the owner of Fortside Brewing Company a start up local craft brewer and he is in the process of building out his space and soon will be brewing. I am excited for him.

The economics of brewing can provide very nice margins, and if you get yourself established in a properly sized space, keep the overhead low you can carve out a nice customer  niche in the beer drinking community.

And for that reason here has been lots of local brewing activity the past couple of years.   Sunny Parsons with Heathen Brewing, Mill City Brew Works in Camas, Amnesia in Washougal, Loowit  across the street from the Hilton, Mt. Tabor and  Dirty Hands posted their flags just a couple blocks from Salmon Creek Brewing which has been a long time downtown representative of the craft brewing community.  Ghost Runners Brewing  a two year old company in Felida should be getting themselves into a more permanent location soon.

What was interesting  in meeting Mike is that I’ve been working with two other serious contenders ( with business plans and decent financial backing) looking for spaces to set up  brewing operations, and I’ve had conversations with other brokers who  have prospects in tow.

We are getting close to have a ‘critical mass” of activity burst upon us.   An informal estimate on my part says we will have close to two dozen brew pubs and or tap rooms in Clark County within the next twelve months.

We are all aware of the dynamic beer and brewing scene Portland has developed over the past decade.  For the most part PDX  brewers have looked across to the northbank of the Columbia and said, pass.  Laurelwood came to Battle Ground  and couldn’t sustain their operation, and a numerous  others have scouted the County and even been recruited by Landlords, but elected to stay put. That doesn’t mean that some may not eventually make the leap, but they have left a gap and an opportunity.

The aspect that I am most enthusiastic about  is seeing local entrebrewnuers  stepping forward to fill this vacuum and create  a locally  grown  beer / brewing culture adding to our historic heritage as a brewing community.

That will make this industry more sustainable, more dynamic, and create even more momentum for capital investment and provide employment. Clark College Continuing Education has even discussed a fully accredited training program so that there will be a solid supply of employees as these companies grow into more sizeable operations.

You can do your part. When they open, check them out.  Ask larger chain restaurants to reserve several tap handles for local brews.  Attend the growing number of brew fests and take some friends.