Business heats up for small food processors

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

By Dan Cook

1211_SmallFoods_01
Organic Fresh Fingers founder Evann Remington at the Boys and Girls Club Knudson Branch in Salem.
// Photo courtesy Boys and Girls Club

As the state’s economic malaise continues to suck the life out of industry after industry, one sector has withstood the worst of the blows. Food processing in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest as a whole has grown over the last few years, according to industry statistics. The state’s estimated $12 billion food processing industry has its giants — Reser’s, NORPAC and Truitt Brothers — but its true strength lies in its small businesses.

In a once-vacant building in a formerly bankrupt business park in Salem, all of the strengths of this resilient industry are on display in a collaborative commercial venture featuring two small businesses, one visionary developer and a flexible city government.

The facility, located just off Interstate 5 in South Salem, was part of the Sunwest Corp. real estate meltdown. Today, it’s owned by Wildwood/Mahonia, a below-the-radar diversified group that has been quietly carving out space for itself in the sustainability marketplace. Wildwood purchased out of bankruptcy the building and the surrounding acreage in 2010.

Wildwood partners John Miller and Travis Henry saw an opportunity to do something creative that would not only contribute to their own bottom line, but to the environment and the economy as well. They would create a business incubator with small-business tenants who shared their sustainability values. As the tenants prospered, so would the developer, went their version of the vision. They were targeting food processors because of the resiliency of the sector. “We love ag,” says Henry.

Here’s how the deal was accomplished, according to Henry: The Wildwood partners knew the 14,000-square-foot facility was in a City of Salem Urban Renewal District. They found out there was still $1.4 million in the district’s development account after the city had completed its last project in the district. “We suggested they use it to create a loan program focused on supporting small businesses,” Henry says. The city was willing.



 

More Articles

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation.


Read more...

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

Live, Work, Play: Amen Teter

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...

A legislative preview — and celebration

News
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


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