Recent Updates

Good News! Talking Cedars is Hiring.

Talking Cedars

Talking Cedars, a new high-end restaurant partnership between the Chehalis Tribal Enterprises and Heritage Distilling, plans to hire about 80 people prior to its projected July 2020 opening. Talking Cedars, located in Rochester, is a tribal-owned business with a competitive compensation package and supportive team environment. If you or someone you know is looking for employment in the food or craft distilling industry, check out the links below or email for more information.

A job fair has been scheduled for June 10-11, 10 AM-3 PM at Talking Cedar Parking Lot, 19770 Sargent Road Southwest, Rochester.  To learn more and register for an interview:

Front House Positions

Back of House Positions

Retail and Host Staff Positions

Thank you to PacMtn Workforce Development Council, Thurston Chamber, and everyone else who is helping market and fill these employment opportunities.

Thurston Chamber Offers Ribbon Tying Program for Reopening Businesses

Are you a business operator returning to the market, or know someone who is? The Thurston Chamber of Commerce and community partners are here to welcome you back and help promote your services to the public through the “Tying Our Community Back Together” campaign. Details below:

Tying Our Community Back Together

Port of Olympia Receives Grant for East Bay Study

The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) has announced a $50,000 grant to support development of an East Port Peninsula Development Plan. This study encompasses a plan for development along the East Bay waterfront, to include an analysis of infrastructure investments required to facilitate the development outlined in the plan. CERB funds are matched by $16,667 in local resources. This project was identified as a top priority by the public as part of the Port of Olympia Vision 2050 initiative.

ArtsWA CARES Act Relief Grants Available

Information provided City of Olympia

ArtsWA has announced funding resources for non-profit and sponsored arts groups and organizations facing financial hardship due to economic impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding, in the form of grants, is provided by the CARES Act via the National Endowment for the Arts:

For more information:

Is Your Favorite Local Restaurant Open? Check Here for Answers.

Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Cities of Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County, you can check the link below to see which area restaurants are open. This data is updated regularly, so be sure to check back periodically – especially now that Thurston County has been approved for Phase 2 of the Governor’s reopening plan, and more restaurants make a comeback.

Unemployment Snapshot

Washington State has begun releasing preliminary unemployment data. We will share detailed information – e.g. unemployment impacts by industry and occupation, demographics, etc. – here as it becomes available. For now, here are a couple of graphs confirming what most of us suspected: a quick and dramatic loss of jobs here and everywhere.

Between mid-March and the end of April, Washington shed some 527,000 jobs statewide.  By far, the majority of those jobs were in service industries vs. goods-producing industries.

March 2020-April 2020

Just over 20,000 jobs were lost over that same time period in Thurston County, which, at nearly 15%, places us almost in the dead center of unemployment impacts among Washington’s thirty-nine counties:

Unemployment Rate by County

Of course, what is particularly striking about the current unemployment rate is just how fast it hit.  The graph below shows how we went from historic lows in unemployment during the first quarter of 2020, to an unprecedented spike in the month of April:

Olympia Unemployment Rate

In our next update, we will provide updates on actions local partners are taking to respond to the impacts of this pandemic, as well as some potential initiatives to help facilitate our economic relaunch.

Thurston County Submits Application to Enter Phase 2 of Reopening

Thurston County has requested State approval to enter Phase 2 of reopening, which would allow for limited expansion of service offerings including hair and nail salons, in-store retail purchases, pet grooming and restaurants operating at 50% capacity among other business openings.  The State aims to respond to County applications within one to three days, though there is no official timetable.  Social distancing remains strongly encouraged.  Each Phase of reopening is projected to last three weeks (four phases in total expected as of today).

For more details, visit:

For questions regarding reopening phases or protocols, please contact the State here.

You can also review a continually-updated list of local resources on reopening from the landing page of this website or at