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 for the 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.
Check out the list accumulated of consumer products made in our region on pages 12-13 of this issue.
Tumbleweed Nut and Candy Wonderland in Sisters is serving up savory treats and hand-crafted gifts for seasonal shoppers and pre-holiday browsers alike. Owner Kathy Nichols uses guarded family recipes to create tempting culinary creations and unique confections.
Becca Williams, owner of Red Plate Foods, creates “yummy, safe, gluten free and allergy friendly foods.” Becca is an experienced business founder and owner, but didn’t have experience with a retail food business, so she tapped into the resources at Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO), “EDCO is fabulous, they have provided us with a couple of advisors that were instrumental in helping us to develop our strategy, improve our products and get into retail,” she said.
McConnell Labs in Redmond produces Light Elegance nail products that are sold worldwide. Lezlie McConnell, the salon owner, and husband, Jim, the chemist, joined forces to produce user friendly nail products including glitters, polish, acrylic product and the Light Elegance lamp.
Atlas Cider is upping the ante of Central Oregon’s craft drink industry with their delicious hard ciders. Joining the 20+ breweries, several distilleries and multiple vineyards, cider is the newest addition to the exploding business of craft beverages in the high desert. Sam and Dan McCoy have been producing 4,000 gallons about every three weeks, and can produce two flavors at a time, rotating among their four varietals.
From soap, fishing rods, paddle boards, gloves, furniture, pillows, watercolors and pottery to tea, chocolates, nuts, honey, beer, wine 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….hire local contractors and use 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.