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RainShadow Labs adding new building to St. Helens facilities following investment by private equity firm

PORT OF COLUMBIA COUNTY - RainShadow Labs operates out of two Port of Columbia County properties in St. Helens.RainShadow Labs, a St. Helens-based skincare product manufacturer, is expanding its operations following a major investment from a private equity firm.

The company produces skincare products under its own label and for other beauty brands, with an emphasis on natural and organic ingredients.

Vanessa and Tim Johansson, co-founders of RainShadow Labs, sold a majority of the business to California-based Westhook Capital, the firm announced in November.

The Johanssons have retained partial ownership and are now on the company's board, but they have stepped away from day-to-day operations, said Diana Madrid, the company's new president.

The purchase price and terms haven't been made public.

Madrid was brought in by Westhook. She has worked in the beauty industry for more than 30 years, 20 of those with Neutrogena.

RainShadow Labs currently has 36 full-time employees, and has grown steadily in recent years.

With its new facility, the company is expected to hire new employees.

"We're going to build a budget that's going to support growth in headcount and equipment expansion," Madrid said.

Last month, the Port of Columbia County commissioners approved a new lease for RainShadow in the Port's Milton Creek Industrial Park.

The Port and RainShadow Labs have been working toward building new facilities for the company, but that will be a long-term project. The 14,000-square-foot building that Rainshadow is moving into will offer space for warehousing and distribution by the end of March, Madrid said.

RainShadow Labs already holds two leases with the Port. Staff reports last year described RainShadow Labs as "one of our strongest tenants" and "one of the Port's more successful and steadily expanding tenants."

Craig Allison, the Port of Columbia County's property and operations manager, said the Johanssons spent more than a year looking for the right investment partner before selling to Westhook.

"Our partnership with Westhook represents a unique opportunity to expand our capabilities and the value we deliver to our customers," the Johannsons said in a press release provided by Westhook. "With Westhook's support, RainShadow will be able to further invest in our capabilities to support our customers and our team."

Madrid said RainShadow Labs is well-positioned within the beauty industry to handle the pandemic. Color cosmetics, like eyeshadow and lipstick, aren't flying off the shelves as people stay home or wear masks when out of the house. But skincare and other bath-and-body products are still in demand.

In particular, Madrid believes natural skincare products are in a good position.

"Natural skincare has flourished, and I think consumers are embracing it even further," Madrid said, adding that Vanessa Johansson "did a wonderful job with great formulations" for the company's products.


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