View as Webpage

Congratulations! Announcing the

Economic Courage Award Winners

Top Photo: Olympia Hardware Building Winner New Business, Andrea Griffith (Owner, Browser’s Books) & Monique Ossa (Ossa Skinworks). Middle: Homes First, Winner Non-Profit, Trudy Soucoup, Mary Roberts & Chris Lester. Bottom: Ebony & Ivory Winner Small Business, Makenzie Summers & Kennon Maurer. Top Right: Chehalis Tribe Large Business (Left) Shelby McCrory- Executive Assistant, (Right)Walter McCullough- Chief Financial Officer.

On July 26, the Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) held an old fashioned BBQ & Hootenanny! That’s right – delicious food, drinks, hay bales, a Cornhole Tournament, Bluegrass music from Runaway Train, and hippity-hop races featuring local celebrities.  

“We gave out awards to organizations that have shown ‘Economic Courage’ including fortitude, perseverance and success in an ever-changing business climate,” said Michael Cade, Thurston EDC’s Executive Director. 

What is Economic Courage? Economic courage could be defined as a leader, a business, nonprofit and or organization that, while facing economic uncertainty and a radical retraction of “business as usual” took extraordinary steps to provide a service, a product, and or a support service that made a positive impact to the community and or employees of their organization. These are individuals that took economic risks to continue to provide a service, product and or resource in the face of unprecedented economic uncertainty. Showing the ability to adapt, change and thrive during a time of uncertainty. 

Congratulations to the 2023 Economic Courage Award Winners!

• Olympia Hardware Building (New Business)

• Homes First (Non-Profit Business )

• Ebony & Ivory (Small Business)

• The Chehalis Tribe (Large Business) 

Congratulations to the 2023 Economic Courage Award Nominees!

Small Business

  • Athena Fitness and Wellness
  • August Creative
  • EZ Foods Olympia
  • Generations Midwifery Services, LLC
  • Great Northwest Towing
  • Hanson Motors – Kia/Subaru
  • Linger Boutique
  • Octapas Café
  • OlyTown Artesians Football Club
  • Ossa Skinworks
  • Red Lantern Asian Fusion
  • Sensory Tool House
  • South Sound Block Party
  • The Iron Works Boutique
  • U.S. Martial Arts Center
  • Papa Bear’s Small Engine Repair


  • Family Education Support Services
  • JOLT News
  • Mi Chiantla
  • South Sound YMCA
  • United Way of Thurston County

Large Business

  • Hogum Bay Retail LLC
  • Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

New Business

  • InGenius! Gallery & Boutique
  • Legends Arcade
  • Owls Nest Café
  • TEC Equipment
  • VBNC Physical Therapy

Thank You to Hippity Hop Racers and Sponsors!

Hold onto your hopping hats! The 2023 Hootenanny Hippity Hop Races were nothing short of EPIC! 

Anticipation was at an all-time high as the first heat kicked off with an electrifying lineup! Amy Evans-Harding from the Port of Olympia, Mike Reid representing the City of Olympia, Chris Knudson double-dipping with Well 80 and Casa Mia, and the unstoppable Carolina Mejia from Thurston County Commissioner! 

And guess what? The race was so neck-and-neck that we witnessed a tie! Mike Reid and Chris Knudson left us in stitches as they crossed the finish line together, proving that hippity hopping can be SERIOUS business! 

But the excitement didn't stop there! Heat 2 brought another batch of furry speedsters to the scene! Miguel Pineda, Olympia Salsa, Wayne Fournier, the Mayor of Tenino, Joe DePinto, the Mayor of Yelm, and Tye Menser, the Thurston County Commissioner, took the race to a whole new level! 

Drumroll, please...Miguel Pineda emerged as the victorious hippity-hopper, leaving the crowd cheering!

The 2023 Hootenanny Hippity Hop Races were a wild ride of laughter, thrills, and some seriously impressive bouncing! Whether it was the breathtaking tie race or Miguel's brilliance, we couldn't get enough!

Congratulations to all the participants for making this event one for the record books! And a special shoutout to Mike Reid, Chris Knudson, and Miguel Pineda for their incredible performances! You guys have set the bar sky-high! 

Moving Dirt — The Rookery

The 2023 Real Estate Forum is set for September 28! In anticipation of the Forum, we're showcasing development projects in Thurston County, such as The Rookery!

The Project: The Rookery is a 7000 sf. Certified Passive House, Net Zero, Carbon Neutral mixed-use building, with commercial office space for Artisans Group Architecture and Planning on the bottom with six Passive House market-rate apartments above. Construction will commence in 2024, and the new building will be on the same property in front of and attached to our current office in Tumwater. Amenities will include unique architecturally designed spaces, ample glass, and silent high-performance interiors with private and shared rooftop decks. Lastly, the building will host an arts, cocktails, and live entertainment-focused courtyard with pop-up culture events. 

The Architect: Artisans Group Architecture and Planning, PS.

For More Information, Contact: Tessa Bradley.

Moving Dirt: Southwest Washington Agricultural Business and Innovation Park Site Tour

On Thursday, staff from the state Conservation Commission, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington Fish and Wildlife, as well as local Thurston County and Thurston Conservation District staff, toured the Southwest Washington Agricultural Business and Innovation Park site with Thurston EDC staff Aslan Meade, while the concrete foundation was poured for the site’s first building.

Registration Now Open for the 2023 Real Estate Forum! Sponsorships Available!

The 15th Annual South Sound Real Estate Forum presented by the Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC), will showcase Thurston County real estate trends and properties while providing a forum for information sharing and networking.

This in-person Real Estate Forum will display our beautiful and vibrant community’s commercial, retail, residential, and industrial properties while providing a forum for expanding networks and discovering new opportunities. Industry experts will address the status of development in Thurston County and the South Puget Sound region.

The Real Estate Forum will include data and trends related to real estate development in the South Sound, providing attendees with the latest projections for commercial, industrial, retail, and residential properties. Experts will address what makes Thurston County such a unique market and why it is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States.

This year’s keynote will be Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s Chief Economist.

WHO: Thurston EDC

WHAT: 15th Annual South Sound Real Estate Forum

WHEN: September 28, 2023, from 11 am to 1:30 pm

WHERE: The Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake, 2300 Evergreen Park Dr. SW, Olympia, WA 98502

TICKETS: Tickets are $50 per person

Click Here for More Information

Community Economic Revitalization Board invests more than $4.5 million in three counties

State funds leverage nearly $11 million in private and public resources expected to create and retain 100 high-wage jobs.

The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) this week approved $3.375 million in low-interest loans and $1.175 million in grants for economic development and public infrastructure improvements intended to spur business growth and job creation in Thurston, Skagit, and Whitman counties.

  • Thurston County – $1.125 million loan and $375,000 grant to the City of Tenino for the “Southwest Washington Agricultural Business and Innovation Park Project.” This project includes engineering, design, and construction of a public facility, along with new sidewalks and parking lot. Their Committed Private Partner, Dragonwheel Investment Group, Inc., is investing $2.1 million in the project, which is estimated to create and retain 40 jobs. Approximately $2.7 million in other state and local resources match CERB funds.
  • Skagit County – $2.25 million loan and $750,000 grant to the Port of Skagit County for the “Watershed Business Park Project 1 Development Project.” This project will build utility infrastructure and make multi-modal road improvements to develop Watershed Business Park Project 1, including landscaping and other site work. This project is estimated to leverage $3.1 million in private investment and create 60 jobs. CERB funds are matched by $3 million in local resources.
  • Whitman County – $50,000 grant to the City of Palouse for the “St. Elmo Revitalization Study.” This study will determine the feasibility of renovating the St. Elmo hotel building. CERB funds are matched by $12,500 in local resources.

“These three projects represent the range of projects that CERB funds. Projects that lead to job growth across the State through infrastructure development and planning. Strategic infrastructure funding is a crucial building block for economic growth. The board is pleased to collaborate with each of these communities as they work to create permanent private sector jobs.” said CERB Chair Michael Echanove.

The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits. If you are a Washington local government or federally recognized Tribe and have project ideas, please reach out to Janéa Stark at [email protected].

Since 1982, CERB has committed more than $243.8 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 39,000 jobs, and private capital investment of $6.3 billion – a $26-to-$1 return on CERB investments. Read the 2022 CERB Legislative Report to learn more.

As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects.

Learn more about CERB at

Thank you to the Thurston EDC Principal and Corporate Investors!