December 2011

Artisan soap's sudsy success

1211_Soap_02Oregonians are buying artisan, whether it is gloves they purchase from a crafter on the website Etsy, home-brewed beer they buy from a co-worker, or specialty cheese they pick up at a farmer’s market. Add to the list: handcrafted bar soap.

Holiday retail's uncertain outlook

1211_HolidayRetailThe annual holiday shopping marathon is upon us, and in the face of a still-fragile economy, retailers around the country and locally are collectively holding their breaths.

Farm stores take root in urban areas

1211_FarmStores_02When the chickens came home to roost, so did the urban farm store business.

Pulverizing the plastic problem

1211_PlasticProblemThe way it works now, about 16 million pounds of plastic soda and water bottles redeemed each year through Oregon’s beverage container deposit program are baled and sold as scrap, often to foreign companies. Millions more plastic bottles never get redeemed and are instead recycled curbside. They, too, usually end up as exported scrap.

Bend housing bounce

1211_BendHousingDespite a housing market that is still depressed, one housing development in Bend — one of the hardest-hit cities in the housing-led recession — seems to be bouncing back.

Biodegradable diaper company expands

1211_gNappiesSix years after launching gDiapers, a privately held Portland company that manufactures reusable and biodegradable diaper products, co-founders Jason and Kim Graham-Nye are expanding to the United Kingdom with a new brand, gNappies.

Business heats up for small food processors

1211_SmallFoods_02As 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 but its true strength lies in its small businesses.