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.
Roberta Shoemaker runs a family-owned company that has produced rugged men’s work boots for 92 years. But as the first woman to run West Coast Shoe Co., she has itched to produce a feminine boot line.
Craigslist forever changed the world of classified advertising, but anyone who uses the site is aware of its shortcomings. “Buried in the 500 replies you get from India and everywhere else maybe you get 10 people who follow directions and are local,” says Ethan Smith-Gillespie, co-founder of The Program, a Portland design firm. So he and Program co-founder Coe Lottis decided to do something about it.
It was a classic dotcom deal. ISITE Design co-founders Paul Williams and Jeff Cram were on the 70th floor of the Trump Building on Wall Street in 2000, entertaining a tempting offer from an investment firm pushing a reverse merger with a publicly traded company. Everything was first class, including the meal cooked by the chef flown in from Italy to celebrate the birthday of one of the firm’s partners.
Without nonprofits, this state would be a less desirable place. The organizations not only uplift the many communities they serve, the nonprofit and not-for-profit sector also employs hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. Nationally, nonprofits are the fourth-largest employer. That makes them an important economic force.