Above: Growlers made by the Portland Growler Company, a spinoff company of the Mudshark founders.
Below: Various molds line a work table
// Photos by Sierra Breshears
Mudshark worked with Portland Community College’s CLIMB Small Business Development Center to develop a 50-page business plan that helped the company obtain an equipment loan from the Portland Development Commission and a line of credit through Albina Community Bank. The loan allowed it to invest in upgrades such as two hydraulic RAM press machines, add six kilns and upgrade the electric infrastructure. “We’re working on 10 to 15 projects at any one time now,” Lyon says.
The expansion helped them catch the eye of Martha Stewart. Mudshark was chosen last year by Martha Stewart Living magazine as one of 10 winners of the American Made Awards, which celebrate “the rising stars in a new generation of small-business owners.” They were flown to New York City (Lyon’s first time) in October for the American Made Workshop, where a photo of the co-founders was projected larger than life on the walls of Grand Central Terminal.
They were humbled by the experience. “I never had that in mind when we started,” Lyon says. “I just wanted to make ceramics.”
Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.