The Port of Kalama is excited to announce that the new Mountain Timber Market has officially broken ground and is slated to open late 2023! This special market is designed to be an incubator for small business retail and restaurants, to provide shopping opportunities for local residents and visitors, enhance public recreation, and become a gathering place for the community.
In true Port fashion, the name of the market and design of the building are an ode to the history of Kalama and the original Mountain Timber Company from the early 1900’s. The market is located between two beautiful parks along the beaches of the Columbia River. Locals and visitors can spend a morning, afternoon, or the whole day walking the trails, playing in the parks, checking out what's new in the market, listening to music in the amphitheater, and grabbing a bite to eat along the sandy beaches on the river.
The idea for the market came from the Port looking for ways to bridge the gap between someone having a dream to open their own business and helping connect them with the resources they need to make their dream come true. Now there is a space for new and growing businesses along with resources and mentors to help the dreamers become the doers through a partnership with SCORE and the Port. SCORE has decades of experience fostering vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. Their nationwide network of seasoned entrepreneurs and executives from all business sectors helps entrepreneurs access all the information they need to make their business a success.
The 32,000 square foot market has room for nine small retail spaces, two small restaurants, vendor hall space, two large restaurants, and two event spaces that can be rented for meetings, gatherings, and events. To be eligible for one of the small spaces, small restaurants, or vendor hall, submit an application to the Port no later than July 31, 2022. A selection committee will review the applications and select twenty participants for a free Business Accelerator Program organized by SCORE. Participants will take part in the 13-week program from September 10 – December 3, 2022. The purpose of the program is to bridge the gap and ensure that everyone who is interested in a space and starting a business has access to the resources they need to make their business successful. At the conclusion of the program, participants will make a pitch to a selection committee about how their business will be successful. The selection committee will make recommendations to the Port’s Board of Commissioners for the businesses seeking a space in the marketplace. Once approved, businesses will be offered a lease for their desired space.
I already run an established business and would like a presence at the market. Can I apply for a space and not go through the business accelerator program?
Participation in the program is strongly recommended. The program will offer information and mentoring to each participant that is tailored to both starting businesses and growing businesses. It will also prepare you for a pitch to the Market’s selection committee.
What are the hours of the program? Are they flexible for people who work fulltime?
In person sessions will be held at the Port Administrative Office every other Saturday from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm from September 10th to December 3rd. Participants will meet with a mentor in-person or online discussing specific plans and individual needs for at least one hour every two weeks. Everything else can be fit into your schedule when it works for you.
What are the requirements for applying?
• You must be 18 years of age or older.
• You must be a legal resident of the United States.
• You must live within 100 miles of 110 West Marine Drive, Kalama, WA 98625.
• Neither you nor any of your immediate family members or anyone living in your household may currently be an employee of the Port of Kalama.
• If chosen for participation, you must successfully pass a background and credit check for participation.
Does the program cost anything?
There is no cost to attend the program once accepted. Attendees are responsible for providing a personal computer, internet access, and have basic skills with Microsoft Office or equivalent software.
How many vendors will you be accepting for the program? For the market?
The program has room for 20 participants. There are two small restaurant spaces and up to nine vendor spaces to be filled in the market. There are also smaller spaces available in the vendor hall of the market.
Will the retail space cost anything once I’m accepted?
Yes, if your business is offered a space in the market at the end of the program, you would sign a lease with the Port paying rent.
Will my storefront need to be open daily?
Yes, while minimum hours are still being established, there will be minimum operating hours.
Can I apply for the program even if I don’t intend to open a space at the market?
The program is for those interested in opening a space in the market. The Cowlitz Economic Development Council and Lower Columbia College are great resources for business workshops and classes if you have or are looking to open a business outside of the market.