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|Articles - February 2013|
|Monday, January 28, 2013|
BY LINDA BAKER
Eighty percent of young adults eat one snack bar per day, the gluten-free category is growing at about 30% a year, and growth in the organic and natural foods market outpaces the food market as a whole. Collectively, these developments are driving rapid growth at Bridgetown Natural Foods, a Southeast Portland contract manufacturer of organic and gluten-free snacks, including fruit bars, baked goods, granola and cookies.
“The fundamentals are very strong,” says Dan Klock, chief executive of the 3-year-old, privately held company.
In 2012 Bridgetown doubled its revenues and is expected to do the same in 2013, Klock says. The company landed a $7 million line of credit from NewStar Business Credit in November to finance working capital and is planning further expansion, including installing two new processing lines at the company’s manufacturing plant in the Lents neighborhood. That project will allow Bridgetown to hire 50 additional employees, bringing the total number of workers to about 250.
A one-stop shopping center for emerging brands, Bridgetown does more than make and package products under different labels. The company also offers a variety of services ranging from research and development to purchasing ideas to helping entrepreneurs raise capital.
“We focus on people who are developing their business,” says Klock, adding that Bridgetown’s typical customer is someone working out of their kitchen, looking to sell value-added products to grocers such as New Seasons or Whole Foods.
“If you wanted to sell a fiber bar to a large brand such as General Mills, you wouldn’t come to us, because there are bigger plants,” Klock says. “But if you wanted to make an artisan granola with fruits and nuts and berries, we would be someone who understands the supply chain.”
The company’s innovation strategy focuses on ingredients and delivery method. For example, Bridgetown focuses on how to incorporate popular fresh ingredients such as kale or chia seeds into a bar or other portable snack format. The company is one of the few gluten-free-certified plants in the country. It also adheres to a triple-bottom-line business philosophy, from selling all its waste as hog feed to hiring more than 80% of its employees from the neighborhood.
“People are continuing to shift to natural foods, and millennials are prioritizing innovation and choice,” Klock says. “The demographic trends are favoring us.”
Friday, April 04, 2014
BY ERIC FRUITS
The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
BY MARK BLAINE | OB BLOGGER
The publisher of the Emerald Media Group moves on, leaving a cutting edge media group that depends on business acumen for its survival.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR
SEMpdx hosted a workshop this week for entrepreneurs, website developers and others interested in search engine optimization (SEO). Here are a few tips and tricks aimed at bumping up your search engine rankings.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.
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