Sponsored by Lane Powell

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

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Beneath the Surface

May 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
0515-goodhacker01 250pxwBY LINDA BAKER

On April 1 I attended a forum at the University of Portland on the sharing economy. The event featured panelists from Lyft and Airbnb, as well as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Asked about the impact of tech-driven sharing economy services. Hales said the new business models are reshaping the landscape. “But,” he added, “I don’t pretend to understand how a lot of this [technology] works.” 


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


Read more...

Opening soon: 3 of the coolest new breweries in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, March 19, 2015
brewthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are 278 companies licensed to operate as brewery, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Here are three new beer-making hubs slated to open soon.


Read more...

Banking Perspective

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Craig Wanichek, president and CEO of Summit Bank.


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


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