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|Articles - October 2010|
|Tuesday, September 28, 2010|
James Martin has his hands full these days. On the heels of an ambitious redevelopment of a downtown historic flour mill into a new wine-tasting room and cultural center, the 46-year-old entrepreneur from The Dalles is pushing a first-of-its-kind new product into the California market, hoping to pioneer the largely untapped “ready-to-drink” market for wine.Martin’s eight-employee company, Copa Di Vino (Italian for “cup of wine”), was founded in 2009 and hit the market in the spring of 2010 with single-serve containers of wine. The key to the business is packaging innovation, and the fact that Copa recently won an award in the Dupont packaging competition indicates potential.
The product is selling in 20 states, and the move into the 21st — California — is key to Copa’s future. As Martin noted at a recent gathering of entrepreneurs and investors, California has 19% of the nation’s population and produces 90% of the nation’s wine. He’s hired a Southern California sales rep and has been traveling south regularly to pitch his idea to major retailers, big wine producers and investors. He hopes to raise $1.5 million over the next few months.
The Copa idea is to offer consumers fine wine for less than $4 a glass, with the type of convenience that has made single servings of beers and sodas an $80 billion business in the U.S. Specialty retailers with busy deli sections such as Whole Foods and New Seasons Market are carrying the product, as are outdoor concert venues such as the Gorge Amphitheatre. Most importantly, the largest chain of grocery stores in Southern California, Ralph’s, began carrying Copa last month, offering the biggest market opportunity yet with 350 stores.
Martin has a three-pronged strategy for making money: sales, bottling for other wineries (he’s already established a deal with Kendall Jackson) and licensing the company’s patented packaging technology to other bottlers. He says he chose the “somewhat nebulous” name of Copa Di Vino to allow companies to become partners and to raise the brand to the profile of other first-to-market pioneers such as Kleenex and Hoover. His sales forecast predicts $75 million in revenue and $10 million in profits by 2016.
Sticking to that plan will be a challenge in this economy, but if Martin comes anywhere close, The Dalles will be a beneficiary. And even though raising money in this economy has been difficult, he notes: “Alcohol sales are up.”
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In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.
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Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.
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Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Floor plans embrace the great wide open.
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