Home Back Issues June 2011 Small Oregon businesses go global

Small Oregon businesses go global

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Article Index
Small Oregon businesses go global
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Pet food products from Clackamas-based Castor & Pollux are selling well in Asia as incomes there rise.
Another company benefiting from the growing appetite overseas for upscale products is Castor & Pollux Pet Works. Brian Connolly and his wife and co-founder, Shelley Gunton, built the company on the notion that the “humanization of pets” was a long-term trend that would accelerate. Their experience living abroad in Hong Kong suggested that the cult of the happy pet was not merely an American phenomenon. The trend has accelerated as incomes have risen, especially in Asia.

Connolly says the business is exporting to seven countries in Asia, with business particularly brisk in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea and a new market soon to open up in South Africa. The biggest market of all, in China, remains blocked by Chinese trade laws, much to Connolly’s frustration. “I tried for two years to get into China,” he says. “It was just impossible.”

In taking its products global, Castor & Pollux isn’t just selling pet food; it’s selling the idea of pets as beloved family members. Similarly, Portland-based SERA Architects isn’t just selling planning services; it is selling the notion that cities can be built in harmony with the land rather than degrading it. That concept is being put to the test in Abu Dhabi, where SERA is designing a sustainable city in the desert that harnesses the power of the sun and recycles sewage water to replenish a depleted fossil aquifer.
It’s an elaborate plan, seeming closer to a whimsical science project than the business-to-business component sales of Simplex Manufacturing, Hydra-Power Systems and Columbia Industrial Products. But from a bottom-line perspective, it’s pretty much the same thing: a million-dollar contract that gets the money moving, from overseas into Oregon.


More Articles

Green eyeshades in the ivory tower

Friday, April 04, 2014
EducationCosts BlogBY ERIC FRUITS

The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?


The 2014 List: The Top 34 Medium Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.



Why I became an educator

Tuesday, March 04, 2014
03.04.14 thumbnail teachBY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?


The future of money

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An ancient institution moves slowly into the digital age. 


Spreading the wealth

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A money management firm broadens its reach. 


Wheel man

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.


How to help your staff solve their own problems

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 21, 2014
03.21.14 thumb coxcoffeeTOM COX | OB BLOGGER

During a recent talk to HR Directors, I asked if they saw leaders trying to solve every problem, instead of delegating to and empowering staff. Every head nodded. Every single one.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02