This week in business news

This week in business news and other stories relevant to your community

Monday, July 6

On Monday local fitness giant Nautilus Inc. announced its plan to pursue efforts to find a potential buyer for Octane Fitness to focus solely on growing, investing, and innovating in the home fitness equipment market. The company has retained investment banker William Blair as its advisor for the potential transaction.

Tuesday, July 7

Tuesday was the first day that businesses in Washington state were required to refuse goods and services to customers who are not wearing a face covering. Businesses took various precautions ranging from signage to handing out masks to customers to posting employees at entrances with information. There has been push back on social media to some announcements from local businesses such Chuck’s Produce, where posts requesting compliance with the governor’s orders were met with people refusing to shop at the store anymore and complaints that people with disabilities are being discriminated against. Other commenters thanked Chuck’s and pushed back at the negative comments. Chuck’s has since reported that it’s had little resistance to the new law at its locations.

The extension of June’s mask mandate “comes in response to growing case counts in counties across the state, and after last week’s proclamation mandating the same requirement of businesses in Yakima County,” Inslee’s office said in a statement. Meanwhile, any movement from a county’s current phase is on pause until cases are flattening again, and modifications are being made to phases. 

Tuesday also marked the latest death in Clark County due to the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Dahn Cong Tran, aged 34, died from the virus on July 7. He has no underlying conditions. His death is the 30th in the county from COVID-19.

Wednesday, July 8

On Wednesday, Clark County Public Health stated that the county is no longer meeting targets for several state metrics for moving into Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan, which would allow larger gatherings and the opening of more types of business activities.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Clark County continues to climb, said the agency. As of Wednesday, the current rate was 50 cases per 100,000 residents, double the state target of 25 cases per 100,000 people.

The percent of tests coming back positive is 3.28% (the target is 2%) and we’re not conducting enough COVID-19 tests (50 people tested for every positive case) to meet that metric either, said the agency.

With the number of hospitalizations increasing, the county is not meeting the target for flat or declining hospitalization trends, but hospitals still have capacity. We’re concerned that, given the lag between increased cases and increased hospitalizations, our hospitalization rates will continue to climb and threaten our local hospitals’ capacity, the agency said.

Thursday, July 9

On Thursday, a coalition of groups representing Washington’s major employers is uniting behind a campaign urging the public to wear face masks to save lives and protect jobs. The coalition includes Association of Washington Business, AGC of Washington, Building Industry Association of Washington, Ethnic Business Coalition, Independent Businesses Association, Washington Bankers Association, Washington Food Industry Association, Washington Hospitality Association, Washington Realtors Association, Washington Retail Association and the Washington State Farm Bureau.

As the number of COVID-19 cases begins to increase again, the leaders of 11 business groups representing restaurants, retail, construction, manufacturing, ethnic businesses and other industries joined together.

Friday, July 10

On Friday the RMLS (The Regional Multiple Listing Service) released its June Market Action Report, which is a comprehensive snapshot of the month’s housing inventory and activities. The Clark County-specific addition noted that the “Clark County, Washington, real estate marketplace has some unique characteristics. There is a much higher proportion of active residential listings in Clark County that are proposed, defined as ‘not yet under construction,’ than exists in any other RMLS area. This means that there are fewer homes listed as active that are ready to move into in an immediate time frame.”

Overall highlights for Southwest Washington, which includes Cowlitz County, include:

  • New listings (979) decreased 11.2% from the 1,102 listed in June 2019, and increased 0.8% from the 971 listed in May 2020. 
  • Pending sales (1,036) increased 17.6% from the 881 offers accepted in June 2019, and increased 16.1% from the 892 offers accepted in May 2020. 
  • Closed sales (724) decreased 9.0% from the 796 closings in June 2019, and increased 25.5% from the 577 closings in May 2020. 
  • Inventory decreased to 1.6 months in June. Total market time decreased to 46 days. 
  • Comparing the first six months of 2020 to the same period in 2019, new listings (5,218) decreased 15.8%, pending sales (4,448) decreased 4.2%, and closed sales (3,624) decreased 9.7%. 
  • Comparing 2020 to 2019 through June, the average sale price has increased 5.5% from $400,900 to $422,900. In the same comparison, the median sale price has increased 6.8% from $365,000 to $389,900. 



Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start