Rain and dark clouds didn’t dampen the enthusiasm at Visit Tri-Cities’ annual luncheon in early November. Organizers rallied around the event’s upbeat theme, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades,” decorating tables with sunglasses, handing out vehicle sun shades and highlighting the reasons why residents and tourists love our community.
Mother Nature, who didn’t get the memo on the event’s theme, delivered a cold, rainy day, a rare departure from our celebrated 300 days of sunshine. But we think a good metaphor is to be had here.
It got us thinking about all the things to be thankful for in the Tri-Cities. Despite predictions for a gloomy economy in the days ahead, with a recession looming, interest rates climbing, inflation hitting all-time highs and polarizing politics, our community is thriving.
That’s because our business community is innovative, supportive and encouraging, no matter the economic forecast.
Our entrepreneurs are taking risks, as we’ve seen in our recent profiles of Younglingz, which manufactures kid-friendly luggage, and Swigg Coffee Bar, which aims to become the Tri-Cities’ new favorite coffee shop.
Our economy is more stable than most, courtesy massive federal spending on the Hanford cleanup and our farmers and food processors, who are among the busiest in Washington.
Our persistence paid off too, with long-planned projects finally taking shape in 2022. The Tri-Cities Animal Control & Shelter is out for bid. Pasco voters approved an aquatics center. Richland extended Center Parkway near Columbia Center mall.
Homebuilding and sales have slowed, but development continues to hum thanks to a healthy mix of public and private projects. Like other communities, we struggle to balance growth with protecting the places that make our community unique.
To that end, we’re thankful the Friends of Badger Mountain raised more than $3 million to establish Little Badger Mountain Preserve, which will add three miles of new trail to its existing network beginning in 2023. Friends has preserved public access to the two Badgers and to Candy Mountain, thanks to old fashioned elbow grease and substantial support from local businesses.
It is just one example of our giving community, where volunteerism and philanthropy unite to help our neighbors.
Here at the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, we’re grateful to work every day to tell your stories, earn your trust and watch your businesses grow.
All of us appreciate the opportunity to work with teams we trust, respect and admire in a community we love – a community that doesn’t need a sunny day or rose-colored glasses to appreciate the special place we call home.
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