Home Back Issues October 2011 Smart cases for smartphones

Smart cases for smartphones

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Article Index
Smart cases for smartphones
Page 2

1011_SmartAccessories_01Ken Tomita has a mantra he repeats as he moves from the woodworking area to the design floor of his rapidly growing company, Grove: “We build everything here.”

Not everything, of course — just everything Grove sells. Grove has been manufacturing in Portland for just over a year, and already the business has grown to 21 young employees buzzing about with great creative freedom at a funky space in the Central Eastside. Tomita and co-founder Joe Mansfield have created jobs at a time when few companies are hiring, and they have done so with no business training, no loans or grants and no outsourced low-wage contract workers building their products in China. 
One key to their early success lies in what they make: smooth, artful bamboo cases for iPhones and iPads. The other key has to do with how they make what they make.

Tomita, a 33-year-old former furniture maker, keeps his office in the ground floor production area, where employees are operating computer-programmed woodworking machines in one room and hand-sanding bamboo in another. The only farmed-out task involves oiling the products by hand: Tomita’s mother does that at home.

Tomita speaks so quietly he is difficult to hear over the din, but everything he says exudes confidence. “This product is impossible to outsource. It can’t be done.”

Up five flights of stairs is Mansfield’s domain, with a view of the Portland skyline and nice, cool air from the 800-pound fan Mansfield had craned onto the roof above. Ceiling speakers pipe in music while workers do their stuff using computers, a laser engraving device and an honest-to-goodness sewing machine.

 



 

More Articles

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Report Card

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Strong public schools shore up the economy, survey respondents say. But local schools demonstrate lackluster performance.


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


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