From the Editor: the other side

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
1013 EdLetter
// Photo by Eric Näslund

As I write this, Feast Portland, the city’s flagship food and drink festival, is one week away. This “celebration of Oregon bounty” features butchery competitions, infused vodka tasting panels and an all-star culinary lineup: Thai food guru Andy Ricker, the Portland Meat Collective’s Camas Davis, Bon Appétit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton and many others.

Here at Oregon Business, we love pork belly and kale salad as much as the next person queuing up for a $5 “farm to cone” at Salt & Straw. But in this issue, we say goodbye to all that. Instead, we spotlight another side of Oregon food culture: the convenience store industry, a retail category best known for candy, cigarettes and nacho-cheese sauce of dubious origin.

As writer Jonathan Frochtzwajg discovered, the convenience store sector is booming, with homegrown chain Plaid Pantry ranking as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the country last year.

The popularity of “c-stores” throws a wrench into Oregon’s foodie machine. But the industry is also paying attention to national culinary trends, with some stores starting to incorporate healthier or locally procured food-and-beverage options, such as organic produce and, in the case of a Bend chain, beer growlers and kombucha on tap.

In a web exclusive, Frochtzwajg also explores the convenience store as a possible solution to food deserts, with the local c-store morphing into a neighborhood market providing residents in areas devoid of grocery stores with critical access to real food.

Along with the grittier side of food culture, we pay homage this month to small manufacturers who make less-than-glamorous bolts, brake pins and scuff boards — the kinds of products that keep the state’s construction, transportation, food processing and power-production fields running smoothly. As writer Christina Cooke reports, these small manufacturers are also an economic driver, with Portland manufacturers employing 11% of the metro area’s workforce.

If there is a theme to the October issue, it’s Oregon’s yin and yang: Behind every sexy mobile app startup is a stoic materials manufacturer, and behind every Feast Portland is a new Plaid Pantry waiting in the wings. It’s a duality I’m well aware of. For lunch today, I indulged in poached organic chicken and rice from the renowned Nong’s Khao Man Gai food cart — “cutting-edge cuisine,” raves Travel + Leisure — followed by M&Ms culled from the desktop stash of our own in-house convenience purveyor: Oregon Business associate publisher Betsy Hand.

Linda Baker

 

More Articles

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Tuesday, August 04, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

Money Troubles

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.


Read more...

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


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...

Ranking the airlines that fly PDX

The Latest
Friday, August 14, 2015
airlinesthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

17 airlines make stops at Portland International Airport, but not all are created equal when it comes to customer service.


Read more...

Car be gone

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 06, 2015
070615car2goblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Car and ride sharing services have taken urban areas by storm. Low-income and suburban communities are left at the curb.


Read more...

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