RICHLAND, Wash. - It's no secret the Tri-Cities economy is booming. Even without federal stimulus money pouring in, the future looks bright and it seems some small businesses are taking notice.
The Tri-Cities is marketed to visitors as a great place to stay and play and small businesses from the surrounding area seem to be capitalizing on that.
A little over three years ago, Cheese Louise moved from Walla Walla to Richland. The store wasn't doing well in Walla Walla and the owner planned to lease the Richland space for a few months to sell out her inventory. But, that's not exactly how things worked out.
"On those three months, they made more money than they had done in Walla Walla in the previous year. So the store just stayed and we've grown and gotten bigger and better every year," said Cat Pearsall who volunteers her time at Cheese Louise.
"Especially if you're already located here in the region, adding a second location to the Tri-Cities really makes sense for a small business owner because you can travel back and forth from Walla Walla to Yakima to Tri-Cities to Ellensburg, even," said Tri-City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lori Mattson.
A big company, Cascade Natural Gas, moved their headquarters to Kennewick about a year ago. And Forward Boutique, a clothing store in downtown Walla Walla, is also set to open a branch in Kennewick soon. Forward Boutique is going in on Zintel Way in the Southridge area.