One of the many fun aspects of covering business in Clatsop and Pacific counties is that there is never any shortage of smart and engaging people to write about. In a nation where news coverage of rural areas is frequently dominated by stories of stagnation and a deficit of hope, ours is a region that attracts and retains strong individuals devoted to attaining success on their own terms.
In this issue, we interview six women who have built business careers here. There is no shortage of female entrepreneurs to select from — and in future issues, we’ll profile many more. (Specific suggestions are always welcome about this or any other business topic: Write firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Why choose to focus much of an issue on businesswomen? Here, as elsewhere in America, the rise of women in the past couple generations to careers that create wealth and jobs is one of society’s greatest successes. Our economy is far bigger than it would otherwise be, society is richer and more interesting, and their own personal lives more fulfilling thanks to the ability of women to lead business enterprises. Although impediments like lack of affordable childcare and unequal pay continue to hobble the full potential of women in the workforce, it is unimaginable that we would ever return to the days when it was assumed they should always just stay home.
Women entrepreneurs and sole proprietors take the next step of creating their own jobs. In our area where small businesses dominate the economy, these hard-working risk-takers are responsible for much of the energy on streets from Cannon Beach to Ocean Park.
While retail remains a key sector for many of the Columbia-Pacific region’s women, this issue also showcases two women at the forefront of farming and aquaculture. Their insights about producing top-quality food for demanding consumers in a constantly changing world play a part in helping their industries survive.
Elsewhere in this issue, we continue a series about hometown manufacturers who have found success by crafting products with particular appeal to local people. This month, it is an Astoria-based manufacturer of clam guns. An essential piece of equipment here — almost a badge of coastal citizenship — they would be utterly inexplicable almost anywhere else. Ship one to a random location in the Midwest and they might try to put it to work digging post holes or planting flower bulbs. (Last month’s story featured a local fishing-lure maker. Please let us know of other “makers of stuff” our readers will be interested in.)
This week, as the November issue of CRBJ was about to go to press, plans were finalized for a November razor clam dig on the Washington coast — which draws many participants from Oregon thanks to the abundance of clams there.
Both clams and Dungeness crab have been relatively free this fall of domoic acid, a naturally occurring marine toxin that has caused havoc with shellfish industries the previous couple years. Although crab aren’t reaching harvestable condition as fast as we would like, so far it’s possible to be fairly hopeful about prospects for 2017-18 sales of this very lucrative product.
Changes in the natural environment, more stringent health and environmental rules, and other factors all continue causing concern about natural resource industries. It becomes more and more vital to support these activities so important to our overall economy and individual family income. Buy locally grown and caught products whenever you can. Speak up for responsible fishing, agriculture, aquaculture and forestry whenever you have contact with lawmakers and regulators.
At the same time, it benefits all of us to encourage business startups in retail, manufacturing and the restaurant/beverage sector. Only by growing every possible aspect of our economy can we hope to build the resiliency we need to continue prospering in these complicated times.