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Spring sprouts economic hope

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Articles - April 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring is finally here and hopeful green sprigs are sprouting in the economic landscape.

Our cover story this month by managing editor Ben Jacklet explores one sector of the advertising industry that isn’t in trouble. These data-driven companies are growing by double digits and giving the traditional firms a run for their money. Companies such as R2C Group, which has grown to 188 employees, and G5 Search Marketing, which CEO Dan Hobin says is hiring about two people a month, epitomize this aggressive and growing new breed.

Another thriving sector is Portland’s apparel industry. Contributing writer Jon Bell found a burgeoning number of small specialty clothing and shoe startups that are making everything from sports bras to fly-fishing boots. They embody the scrappy and creative entrepreneur who will have a good chance of surviving this downturn.

And in that entrepreneurial spirit, along comes gDiapers. In the classic small-business mode of filling a niche that you personally need, president Kimberly Graham-Nye co-founded the company with her husband after they had their first child. This more ecologially friendly diaper company has seen its gross revenue triple in the past three years.

Yes, many of the housing-related industries are still on the ropes (see our story about the struggle in commercial real estate that's still to come), the auto industry is in bad shape and Oregon’s economy is still hurting. But it’s great to balance that continued tale of woe with some news that there are healthy and growing businesses in Oregon.

Spring also brings the opening of the survey for the second annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon. Nonprofits can sign up starting April 19 by going to our registration website, Oregon100Best.com. And since I started out on a green note, a heads-up that we’ll announce in the June issue the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon, which also marks its second birthday. These two new 100 Best projects don’t celebrate growth that’s calculated in dollars and cents, but the growth of a company’s culture and values into those that create the best workplaces in the state.

From our green shoots to yours, here’s hoping a few more things blossom this year.

Robin Doussard
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