Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
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

 

1211_SmallFoods_02
Small food processor Organic Fresh Fingers employs 13 workers at its plant in Salem.
// Photo by Travis Henry

 

Wildwood brought two potential tenants for the building to the negotiating table: Organic Fresh Fingers and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks, small food processors in growth modes. Together, the parties devised the loan program. The city loaned each about $275,000 from the new fund to make improvements to the building that would enhance its sustainability and energy efficiency. Wildwood also offered its fledgling tenants certain incentives to locate there, including a sliding-scale lease deal under which they pay below-market rates now but will pay more as they grow.

Because food processing is so energy-intensive, utility bills comprise a huge chunk of the cost of production. The start-up principals put their heads together with Henry and Miller and came up with a list of energy-saving improvements, including solar heating units, highly efficient heat pumps, energy-efficient lighting, and so on. These improvements resulted in a 23% reduction in energy use compared to a traditionally built facility.

The tenants arrived in September and already they are realizing huge reductions in utility costs, says Organic Fresh Fingers’ president Evann Remington. “I’m shocked at how much it’s saving us,” she says. (A third food-processing tenant that has one employee, Myriad Cake Design, subleases from Organic Fresh Fingers.)

Here’s the kicker: The tenants can have up to 70% of the loans converted to a grant if they meet certain hiring benchmarks. Already, Organic Fresh Fingers, which sells organic lunch items to schools and kids’ organizations, has hired eight more employees since it moved in, bringing its total to 13. Ciderworks, which employed just two prior to the move, now has six employees and plans to hire three more after the first of the year.

Both Organic Fresh Fingers and Ciderworks can already see the time coming when they’ll outgrow their current space. That’s good, Henry says, because the incubator strategy envisions the current tenants succeeding, expanding, and moving from incubation space to new space on the same property.
“We hope our next building on the site is being incubated in this building,” Henry says. And next time, instead of retrofitting an existing structure, Wildwood can build in sustainability from the ground up, and save its tenants even more money.



 

More Articles

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

The business of running a food cart

News
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OBM1BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?  


Read more...

OB Video: Dress for Success

News
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
DFSOBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.


Read more...

Portland: Where young people go to work?

News
Friday, June 06, 2014
UntitledBY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.


Read more...

OB Video: Oregon MESA

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014

ThumbOregon Business hosts an informal roundtable discussion about the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


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