We are amazed 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. Each year, when we develop our list of Made in Central Oregon buying guide, we’re pleased to see new items added.
In addition, given the economic challenges we’ve faced it is noteworthy that numerous companies are growing and prospering in Central Oregon. Creative entrepreneurs, like Rob Ralph of Sisters, are finding new ways to make things. Ralph started Green Ridge Window Cabinets to find a new creative outlet and business venture to add to his prolific retirement agenda. Eight months later, his distinctive bookcases are slowly gaining a foothold in the locally crafted furniture market.
Shannon Rogers, also from Sisters, recently opened Deez Nutz shop. Rogers is hoping locals and tourists will go bonkers for her sweet and salty star attractions, addictive bags and cones of freshly toasted almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts and cashews glazed in cinnamon sugar.
“The response has been slow but steady and we’re still getting settled in,” said Rogers. “All the nuts are roasted on-site and served hot from the oven or packaged to take home or send off as gifts. We have two machines that roast and glaze them perfectly.”
Jamie Danek and Michelle Plantenberg have created a truly unique product in Kombucha Mama, which has grown from producing 250 gallons a week to 500 gallons this past spring. The women have a new goal of moving into a much bigger space (currently 1,200 square feet) by the first of the year. “We want to open up a kombucha brewery,” Danek said. “People come in all day to fill up their bottles, so we want more of a retail space, maybe a self serve area.”
Combining the zen-like appeal of stand-up paddling with a healthy measure of skateboard cool, Steve Bangsund’s dryland boards, NorgeBoards, are a true work of art, almost so nice you want to just stare at it instead of ride it. Lovingly made from selected three-ply, cross lamination bamboo and outfitted with high-end trucks and urethane wheels, each board is paired with a natural bamboo paddle pole to help balance and propel daring riders.
Bangsund of Bend created these sexy, sculpted wooden marvels, which he personally signs, numbers… and names!
From soap, fishing rods, paddle boards, gloves, furniture, pillows, watercolors and pottery to tea, chocolates, nuts, honey, beer and vodka many of these products make ideal holiday gifts. Is there a better way to spend your holiday dollars than on things created in Central Oregon?
In addition to the innumerable small manufacturers who are creating first class products, the high desert is home to a thriving arts and crafts community Central Oregon can boast over 35 art galleries that carry original local artwork.
Regional artists stock local art galleries and numerous boutiques with original artwork, jewelry, pottery, clothing, ornaments, cards, hand-painted scarves and other items. Buying art and handcrafted gifts is one we highly recommend — it’s personal and long lasting and giving creations made by hand provides an attractive alternative to mass-produced products.
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.
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.
Buying locally is not the only thing that we can do to help boost our economy….hiring local contractors and using local services from financial advisors and advertising agencies to accountants, social media and web designers. One has to question why many of our public entities continue to overlook qualified professionals when hiring architects, engineers, contractors and design teams. We continue to advocate for a local preference in hiring practices with our cities, counties and colleges.
But back to the task at hand for those who will be boosting our local retail sales in the next few weeks: make your list, check it twice and focus on locally made products and local merchants. pha