Business heats up for small food processors

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

 

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

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Living the dream

News
Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Read more...

Unshakable

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Ben Kaiser holds his ground.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened a third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; a Bend outpost broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


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