Surviving the recovery

| Print |  Email
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Managing editor Ben Jacklet spent two weeks immersed in rural Oregon’s timber towns to investigate how these communities, once buoyed by abundant wood product operations, would reinvent themselves to survive. The story states the salient issue: “These towns are left with an unenviable choice: diversify or die. Only how?”

In this special report that begins on page 26, Trouble in Timber Town, Jacklet finds the answers as varied as the towns themselves. But from Prineville to Oakridge, to Roseburg and on out to Burns-Hines, the thing that holds true for all of them is that the future is surely in the hands of the local private and public sector entrepreneurs — those folks who won’t and don’t give up.

That same unsinkable attitude was evident when three members of the Portland chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) came visiting a few weeks ago. The EO has 69 members whose companies have an average of 28 employees and about $6 million in revenue. Classic small to medium businesses that are the backbone of Oregon’s economy.

JD Elder, the president of the local chapter, knows something about hard times. He owns Elder Demolition, which has been walloped by the housing industry collapse; his revenues have shrunk from $7 million to $3 million. The biggest issue facing him and most of his colleagues is that banks “are cutting us off at the knees.” Bank lines are being reduced and certain sectors, like construction, “have just been cut loose.”

Elder’s assessment is true nationally. A recent story from Reuters reported, “Small companies create more than half of America’s jobs, but the entrepreneurs who drive this part of the economy continue to complain that access to credit two years into the recession is scarce.” And according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Board, most banks will keep their lending standards tight until at least the middle of 2010.

But despite that challenge and more, you can’t keep a good entrepreneur down. Bryan Howe, CEO and founder of MasterPlans.com, a company that writes business plans for entrepreneurs seeking funding, says business has dropped by 30% since last year. But even though business is off, Howe sees more optimism in clients this year.

“I don’t hear about anyone throwing in the towel and going back to work for someone else,” says Jill Nelson, CEO of Ruby Receptionists, which provides virtual receptionists to companies. “Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.”

It will be entrepreneurs like these — from the big city or the small town — and the employment they provide that is the key to reclaiming a healthy economy.

Jobless recovery? Let’s not kid ourselves, or at least, let’s not buy into the label that local and national economists are using. It isn’t a recovery until the jobs come back.

robin-BLOG
Robin Doussard
Editor
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
OregonBusiness.com/robin
Twitter.com/robindoussard
 

More Articles

Epitaph for a Boondoggle

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The CRC is a cautionary tale about how we plan for, finance and invest in transportation infrastructure.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

The best crisis is the one you avoid

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
crisisthumbBY GARY CONKLING | GUEST BLOGGER

Avoiding a crisis is a great way to burnish your reputation, increase brand loyalty and become a market leader.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS