Greater Spokane Inc. delegation meets in Olympia to talk retail

Jan 25, 2024
Written by WR Communications


A delegation of approximately 60 business, education, and community leaders met in Olympia this past week to advocate on behalf of the greater Spokane region with a unified agenda. This year, the delegation represented a partnership with the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Spokane Partnership, and West Plains Chamber of Commerce.

WR President and CEO Renée Sunde was invited to speak to the delegation about the retail industry, further addressing one of GSI’s priorities focused on defending and improving Washington’s business climate and supporting the employers that create jobs in the Spokane region.

Sunde’s presentation focused on three primary topics, including the economic impacts of the retail industry in Washington, the continued transformation of the industry, and the top priority issues facing retail during the 2024 legislative session.

As the second largest private sector employer in Washington State, the retail industry employs approximately 400,000 people and drives $19.8 billion into the state’s economy. Retailers have been at the forefront of innovation and creativity as Washington is the headquarters for many national and globally recognized brands. Even with the industry’s broad impact, 98% of retailers are small businesses employing under 50 people.

Sunde also spoke to the industry’s workforce as current in-demand skills are evolving rapidly, making retail’s workforce tremendously dynamic. With the rapid growth of technology, today’s retail jobs go far beyond traditional front-end cashiers and brick-and-mortar operations to include warehousing, distribution, forecasting, logistics, marketing, finance, online integration, and AI programming.

Sunde wrapped up the presentation with a review of top priority issues that the WR Policy and Government Affairs team is following closely.

WR would like to thank Greater Spokane Inc. CEO Alisha Benson and Jake Mayson, Director of Public Policy, for their ongoing partnership with the team at Washington Retail Association and their dedication to the employers, economy, and communities throughout the Spokane region.


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