Home Back Issues December 2011 Business heats up for small food processors

Business heats up for small food processors

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Article Index
Business heats up for small food processors
Page 2

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

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

The Diaspora

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

Former newspaper journalists move into brand journalism.


Read more...

Launch

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

October's Launch article features Soul Kitchen, Easy Company and Slick's Big Time BBQ.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


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...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 26, 2014
0926 iphone6-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

This post focuses on the recent release of the new Apple iPhone as well as Alibaba's IPO, the largest U.S. IPO in history.


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