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|Articles - January 2011|
|Thursday, December 16, 2010|
From his small, modest office on Northeast Airport Way in Portland, Sam Naito works five days a week at Made in Oregon, the iconic company he started 35 years ago. That a legend of Oregon business still puts in a full week as he is about to turn 90 would surprise no one who knows the Naito family.
The Naito family opened an importing business in Portland in 1921, and faced with discrimination when World War II began, moved to Salt Lake City. They eventually moved back to Oregon and Sam and his brother, Bill, went on to drive the revitalization of Portland’s Skidmore-Old Town area along with many other redevelopment projects. In 1975, the Naito brothers started Made in Oregon, which was dedicated to “products made, caught or grown in Oregon.”
Back then, “People thought the only thing made in Oregon was lumber and potatoes,” says Naito. Now the company sells goods from more than 2,000 Oregon manufacturers and artists and the little store that started at Portland International Airport now has 10 locations and about 50-60 full-time workers, along with a mail-order catalog and e-commerce website.
While his son, Vern, runs the real estate side of the family business (Bill died in 1996), Naito focuses on Made in Oregon. “I was trying to get down to four days a week, but couldn’t do it,” he says. And retirement isn’t an option. “I just don’t have any outside hobbies,” says Naito.
So he keeps looking for new products, and new locations. His passion to promote Oregon (“Oregon is always taking the back seat”) seems limitless, and his love for the beauty of the state is also how he markets it. “Oregon’s brand is green, fresh, eco-friendly,” he says.
From his perch of a long life dedicated to Oregon, he says the thing Oregon needs most right now is more salesmanship. “We are not strong on promotion,” and the courtly, reserved Naito leaves further comment on leadership in the state at that.
And like many people who have achieved a great deal, Naito will give the past only a quick glance. “I’m not that successful,” says the man who helped build Portland. “I’m just lucky.”
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY BRANDON SAWYER
Sales of small businesses surged in 2013 according to the biggest Internet marketplace of such transactions, BizBuySell, increasing to 7,056 reported sales, a 24% increase over 2012, when they dropped 7%. Portland Metro sales tracked by the site grew 9% to 73, capping three years of solid growth. On top of that, Portland’s median sale price jumped 67% to $250K, versus just 13% to $180K nationally. Portland was one of just six metros tracked where the median sale price matched the median asking price, with sellers getting, on average, 92% of what they asked.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JAKE THOMAS
An ancient institution moves slowly into the digital age.
Friday, March 28, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
A new report explores the impact of millennials on Oregon's business and political climate.
Friday, February 28, 2014
The 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon list was announced Thursday night at an awards dinner at the Oregon Convention Center.
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?
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
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Marketing the state brings new business, new jobs and a better quality of life for everyone.
Oregon State University's hospitality degree program invests in next-generation leaders.