Made in Central Oregon: An Entrepreneurial Paradise

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Each year the Made in Central Oregon list gets larger as more local entrepreneurs are choosing to make and sell products that consumers find useful, interesting and unique.
While this issue of Cascade Business News is dedicated to products made in Central Oregon, there’s a much bigger picture that we should consider. First, let’s talk about buying local products. You’ll be amazed as you scan this issue at the myriad of products that are made right here in Central Oregon —
products that make exceptional gifts for the holidays, in fact anytime of the year.
When we develop our Made in Central Oregon buying guide, we’re pleased to see new products added. It is noteworthy that numerous companies are growing and prospering in Central Oregon. Don’t miss the most important point in buying locally — the impact it can have on our economy is enormous. When you shop at local establishments (rather than sitting at home and ordering from a catalog or on line) all of the money you spend stays right here in this community.
However, we challenge you to go even a step further and begin by reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA — the job you save may be your own or your neighbors.
As a local business, this is a concept you should strive to adhere to all year long. Buying office supplies, computers and furniture from local businesses means keeping your neighbors, your friends, your family members employed. It means strengthening our economic vitality, which benefits every single person around you.
Another appealing aspect of buying from a local merchant is the ability to receive personal service and direct contact with a company that backs up its products. Think hiring local contractors and using local services from financial advisors and advertising agencies to accountants and internet designers.
Think food. Most produce in the U.S. is picked four to seven days before being placed on supermarket shelves and is shipped for an average of 1,500 miles before being sold. And this is when you consider only U.S. grown products. Those distances are substantially longer when we factor produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America and other places.
We purchase imported fresh food to the detriment of small farmers by subsidizing large scale, agribusiness-oriented agriculture with government handouts and artificially cheap energy. So put on your list this year to think about buying locally grown food products whenever possible.
Oregon boasts a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy that includes both industrial agriculture and small-scale efforts such as community-supported agriculture memberships, farmers markets and community gardens. These smaller, community-based efforts are on the rise as a means to nurture community and create local and autonomous food systems. See the offering on this page from www.AgriculturalConnections.com.
Your food will taste better, you’ll strengthen the local economy, support endangered family farms, safeguard your family’s health and protect the environment with less use of energy and reduction of dioxide emissions.
Check out the market for Central Oregon Locavore. The permanent indoor Farmers Market in Bend at 1216 NE First Street houses products from over 250 local farmers and food producers or use the online marketplace at orders@centraloregonlocavore.org.
By choosing local and independent businesses for your services, shopping, dining and other needs, you not only get real value and personal service, you’re helping to grow and sustain our regional economy.
Think Local – Buy Local – Be Local
1. Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. Studies show that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base.
2. Support local community groups: The impact that local non-profits have on creating a healthy environment for at-risk youth and families is beyond measure. Local businesses can help to assure their success.
3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of Central Oregon. Tourism businesses benefit when people go on vacation they seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace unique.
4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
5. Create more jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, providing the most jobs to residents.
6. Get better service: Local businesses hire and train people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the region’s future.
8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
10. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
A portion from www.sustainableconnections.com

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About Author

Pamela Hulse Andrews CBN Publisher/Founder, Bend, Oregon

Thanks to getting fired 20 years ago by a previous publication, Pamela Hulse Andrews became the founder and publisher of Cascade Publications Inc. which publishes both the print and online versions of Cascade Business News and Cascade Arts & Entertainment. Pamela’s diverse business background gives her a broad perspective on the arts and business community. She has championed the growth of the arts in the high desert region and played a leadership role in connecting the dots between arts and economic vitality. She writes an assortment of monthly and weekly columns on local arts, politics, business and the economy, creativity and developing entrepreneurship.

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