Grow Vancouver – Caps off a great year

Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear speaks in Vancouver, Wednesday November 18, 2015. Washington State University Vancouver’s Business Growth Mentor & Analysis Program along with the CREDC’s Grow Clark County hosted the event. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

(Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear spoke  in Vancouver, Wednesday November 18, 2015. Washington State University Vancouver‚’s Business Growth Mentor & Analysis Program along with the CREDC’s Grow Clark County hosted the event.

The Grow Vancouver series evolved from five  years of Pub Talks, which began in 2009. It was the first sustained effort by the CREDC to reach out and highlight the entrepreneur and start up community here in Clark County and was launched to help build on one of the planks of the CREDC strategic plan – which is help to nurture and sustain local companies that can add jobs.  One,  they are often on the cutting edge of the economy and two, you can be much more effective and cost efficient than trying to recruit across the country or around the world.

Tim Boyle’s story serves as a reminder that even when things look bleak, you can find the right path.  Tim’s father passed away when he was 21 years old, and he left his studies at the U of Oregon to return home and help his  mother Gerte Boyle run the company.  Within about six months they were sure they had come to the end of the road, but were able to secure  advice from several key business experts, which led to the reinvention, and revival of the company.

The event had attendance of about 150 and a widely diverse audience that ranged from WSUV Business Growth Mentor & Analysis Program (MAP)  students and staff,  local commercial real estate developers and  agents, high level legal firms and several local elected officials.

In a direct answer to an audience question Boyle said he’s feeling very positive that eventually there will be a Columbia Sportswear presence in Clark County.

Kudos go to Max Ault of the CREDC  who was responsible for making 2015 the year of transition from PUB Talk to Grow Vancouver.  His goals was to create an event that allowed the public to get up close and personal with some of the entrepreneurial companies who are leading the continued economic revival  and in some cases creating the jobs of the future.  Looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings .


New Craft Brewery Coming to Uptown Village

Here is a recent article published in the Vancouver Business Journal about a client of ours, Bryan Shull who is opening Trap Door Brewing this summer.

Bryan has laid a solid  foundation for his business by creating a  detailed    business plan and using the resources of Buck Heidrick of the Washington State Small Business Development Center.  This helped him both in negotiations with his new Landlord, and in asking a bank to provide him financing.

(Vancouver Business Journal – April 3, 2015:

Trap Door BrewingGenerations of experience pour into Trap Door Brewing.

Right in the heart of Vancouver’s Uptown Village, a new craft brewery is on track for a summer 2015 opening.

Last month, Trap Door Brewing LLC leased the 3,200-square-foot space at 2315 Main Street – formerly the home of One World Merchants.

Bryan Shull, taster and CEO of the new brewery, said that he has been eyeing the property for some time, calling it “an epic location.”

With a background in renewable energy (solar panels and fuel cells), one might think Shull is new to the world of brewing. However, he does bring a bit of history and experience into the business.

“My father and grandfather both worked for Great Western Malting for years,” he said. “Brewing has been in the family.”

Shull himself even worked a summer in college at Great Western.

“Beyond that, my real history of beer is tasting,” he said with a grin.
According to Shull, Trap Door Brewing is homage to the memories of his father and grandfather.

“My dad died from cancer recently,” he said. “I had left my career in renewable energy to walk down that path with him and take care of him. I knew I wanted to do something really special, start a family business.”

Joining Shull in the venture are his sons Zane and Zakary Singleton. Zane is finishing his degree at UC Davis where he has been studying fermentation science; he will operate as the head brewer while Zakary and investor David Forster provide capital and additional business expertise.

Members of the community are invited to be a part of the experience as well, via Trap Door’s Founder’s Club – a tiered membership program through which anyone can become a long-term “partner” in the venture.

“[Founder’s Club members] become the ‘cream of the crop’ of customers,” explained Shull. “They’ll be invited to special events, receive special tastings and pairings and a bunch of other surprises I can’t let out just yet.”
Trap Door’s neighborhood “Co-Hop” even lets local residents grow their own hops with rhizomes provided by the brewery.

“We’ll create special brews celebrating the neighborhoods the hops are grown in,” Shull added.

For those who simply want to enjoy sampling craft beers, the brewery will offer a special limited membership club for that as well.

With Trap Door Brewery’s unique membership offerings, Shull said he isn’t too concerned about standing out in an already crowded market.

“I don’t like to think of it as much as competition, but rather ’Coopetition,’” Shull said. “While the rest of the Pacific Northwest might be a little crowded, Clark County really isn’t. I find the atmosphere here is really one of sharing and working together to elevate our marketplace.”

As for the beers themselves, Shull said Trap Door will be a 15-barrel brewery that pushes the boundaries of flavor.

“We will be pioneers of flavor,” he said. “Zane will head us into a new frontier where we pull from yellow beer, wine and liquor drinkers with our unique barrel aging and sours.”

Trap Door Brewery opens for the annual Cruisin’ the Gut event on July 18, with a full opening anticipated for August of this year.

Vancouver Chamber Small Business Resource Committee

Tuesday the Vancouver Chamber kicked off their first public event aimed to bring more awareness, more access and more effective application of the numerous resources that are in place to support and nurture small business .  This effort actually began way back in 2013 when the GVCC and the City of Vancouver  coalesced around creating a website where entreprenuers can go to see the wide array of resources


Here is a fantastic page if your considering starting a business .  You’ll find links to the State of Washington, and a bundle of other sites.  The City is working hard at all times to be a good partner and make the start-up or expansion process for small companies as smooth as possible

In the spring of 2014 the GVCC Board decided to repurpose the Membership Services committee, to bring greater focus and attention to the Small Business Resources effort. So for the past six months meeting have been built around creating a framework, and seeking to become knowledgeable about all  potential partners and resource providers.   In addition the City put out an RFP to actually formal name and fund a provider for a Small Business Resource Center.

One step the new SBRC committee settled on was a monthly open house where providers would be gathered, for a two hour session to make access easy, but also put the very human touch that the Chamber can bring by face to face introductions and an actual person to be able to ask questions.

It was announced by GVCC President Kelly Love that the Chamber had been formally  awarded  as one of two  partner agencies  by the City to provide the Small Business Resource Center Services.  Keep an eye on their website as the schedule of open houses gets formalized and announcements made on upcoming providers.