At a time when franchises and big box stores dot the landscape, family-owned businesses matter more than ever. They provide a level of stability and character for our communities, which franchises and big boxes never will. Among such enterprises in the Columbia-Pacific region are Gimre’s, Pig ’n Pancake, M&N Workwear, Englund Marine, Bornstein Seafoods, Fishhawk, Doogers and The Daily Astorian.

Perhaps the most remarkable family-owned business in our midst is the Seaside Aquarium, which last Friday marked its 75th anniversary. Manager Keith Chandler celebrated the occasion by offering admission at 1937 prices.

Like any institution that’s survived this long, the owning family has been resilient. Most recently, in 1994, it began paying more attention to education and interactive exhibits. The aquarium is part of the regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network. That is why Chandler is so frequently the source of news and insight when whales or dolphins, for instance, appear on our beaches.

Many of us who grew up in this region recall with some delight an early childhood experience in the Seaside Aquarium. Congratulations to all who have kept it running and vital.

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