Lewis Clark Valley is small, but their chamber and small retailers have big hearts in the way they partnered with Washington Retail to host a small retailer roundtable luncheon yesterday.
Several small retailers took time out of their busy schedule to learn updates on how recent labor laws and pending policies in Olympia will impact them. They shared their struggles about the inability to raise prices to offset the multitude of tax and employment mandates. For businesses in Clarkston, Washington, their best option is likely to move a mile into Lewiston, Idaho. For Wasem Pharmacy, a third-generation pharmacy located in the quaint downtown Clarkston, moving a mile away is not really an option due to their family root in Clarkston.
Lewiston, Idaho’s population is about four times that of Clarkson in Washington. The business-friendly environment in Idaho probably explains the population differential between Lewiston and Clarkston. Kristin Kemak even shared the pressure to move to Lewiston, but she is staying on the Washington side to keep supporting the smaller group of businesses in Clarkston.
They also shared other struggles with inconsistent government agency decisions and the challenge of being heard in Olympia due to their distance and the domination of western Washington’s influence in policymaking. We discussed partnering with the local chamber to channel their voices to the Legislature and to navigate agency issues with them.
After the roundtable, we visited a couple local retailers and truly enjoyed the hometown feel and hospitality. Mark Johnson, our Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, and I will also be meeting with the Pullman Chamber for the next Small Retailer Roundtable.