An economic unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion.1 This spring an Oregon company was sold to a Canadian company for $946 million...just short of being an economic unicorn.
Startups play an important role in job creation and typically create two-thirds of new jobs nationally since the Great Recession. In some years, they may create almost all of the net jobs in the national economy.2 Combine innovation, successful startups, and partnerships and voila’ you may get a unicorn!
Oregon is known for innovation, ranking #3 behind California and Massachusetts in its success in building an innovation-based economy according to an April 22 news release from Business Oregon. Business Oregon helps support the innovation environment through public-private partnerships that help create new jobs and companies, diversify Oregon's economy, and bring Federal research dollars into to the State. 3
Business Oregon created the Oregon Innovation Index which creates a research report by looking at 20 different aspects of innovation. Oregon performed best in the categories of invention, translation, and economic prosperity and made strong gains in small business innovation research and technology transfer. Business Oregon also developed an innovation council called Oregon InC (Innovation Council) with three funding strategies that support innovation activities, which include:
Infrastructure is an important part of economic development.
There are two broad classifications of infrastructure: Social and physical and both are extremely important in recruiting and maintaining our quality of life. Social infrastructure includes things that indirectly increases long-term productivity (such as housing, health care, education, sanitation, etc.). Physical infrastructure includes things that directly supports more immediate production needs (such as transportation, telecommunication, banking, technology, finance, energy, etc.). 1
Infrastructure can also be looked at as losses like the two trillion gallons of drinking water lost to water main leaks, 5.5 billion hours in traffic congestion, 56,000 crumbling bridges, 15,500 deficient dams, and more. Infrastructure is more than just potholes. 2
Even though infrastructure is critical, investments over the years and governmental entities are struggling to plug the holes in the dike, literally. Some report suggest that the U.S. needs to spend $3.3 trillion every year through 2030 just to keep up with expected growth rates. 2
There is no silver bullet solution. Nearly 100 years ago, a gas tax was created by Oregonians. The first one cent per gallon tax was passed in February 1919 and was used to build the Pacific and Columbia River Highways. Soon after, many States and some cities adopted similar taxes.
At one time, the gas taxes and other fees covered 70 percent of the building and maintenance costs for highways. 2 Not so much anymore, particularly since the Federal gas tax was not raised, or even adjusted for inflation, from 1993 until 2018. The Federal gas tax is not indexed to inflation which has increased by a total of 73 percent from 1993 to 2018. 3
Many states have raised the tax on gas, knowing that the raise is not enough to solve the problem. The U.S. Highway Trust Fund has operated in deficit since 2008 due to the lack of change and the significantly higher fuel efficiency of modern vehicles. Sometimes the gas tax monies get redirected to pay for non-transportation needs such as State police (Pennsylvania) which does not help the problem either. 2 At this point, a gallon of gasoline in Oregon is assessed a tax of $0.34, and a Federal tax of $0.184.
Did you know? Nearly 100 years ago, a gas tax was created by Oregonians? The first one cent per gallon tax was passed in February 1919 and was used to build the Pacific and Columbia River Highways. Soon after, many States and some cities adopted similar taxes. 5
Some cities, such as Coquille, have a local gas tax of 3 percent. 4 Earlier this year Coos Bay enacted a Transportation Utility Fee that created a new revenue source for street maintenance. This new fee will generate nearly a $1 million a year and make it possible to repair potholes in a more durable manner, resulting in fewer repeat repairs. As the City gets caught up on the pothole problem, these funds will be redirected to major street rehabilitation projects. Different fuels, such as aviation gasoline are taxed as well (at differing rates compared to other types of gas). 5
Why is all this important? Because our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) percentage is closely associated to infrastructure investments. Every 1 percent of infrastructure stock often relates to a 1 percent growth in the per capita GDP. 1 That is a great ‘bang for your buck!”
1 Economic Infrastructure – Intro, Types, Significance (https://www.toppr.com/bytes/economic-infrastructure/)
2 The Infrastructure Gap: Financing and Funding The Future (https://infrastructure.aecom.com/infrastructure-funding)
3 Fuel taxes in the United States. Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_taxes_in_the_United_States)
4 Oregon Gasoline Tax Rate (by Jurisdiction) (https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/FTG/Pages/Current%20Fuel%20Tax%20Rates.aspx)
5 Revenue For Road Maintenance Challenges, City of Coos Bay, electronic newsletter dated June 21, 2019
Revitalizing communities takes lot of intentional effort. The Oregon Main Street American Coordinating Program is a key strategy to this successful approach. The goal of the program is to “build high quality, livable, and sustainable communities that will grow Oregon’s economy while maintaining a sense of place” which is based on the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center.1
This program has created and leads a grassroots network to build stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. This effort includes over 40 coordinating programs and over 1,200 neighborhoods and communities. The program delivers a broad-based holistic community engagement strategy that focuses on four core quality of life revitalization principles including: Sustainable Organization, Effective Promotion, Quality Design, and Economic Vitality
Many of our southern coastal communities are engaged in some way in this four-level program. The levels and involvement include:
(1) Performing Main Street targets communities previously certified as a National Main Street city and have advanced downtown programs
(2) Transforming Downtown targets communities committed to downtown revitalization using the Main Street approach but need additional technical assistance to get there (Greater Bandon Assn., Port Orford, and Coos Bay).
(3) Exploring Downtown focuses on communities that are interested in revitalizing their communities and want to know more (Coquille, Myrtle Point, Reedsport, Florence), and
(4) Affiliate focuses on communities who want to learn more (Brookings). 2
On October 2-4 Tillamook will host the 2019 Oregon Main Street Conference, Connecting People, Places, & Partners. The conference will kick off on October 2 by offering Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Awards. The conference will also feature Melody Warnick who wrote the practical guide: This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are, that talks about loving the place where you live. Her book has been featured in the New York Times, Time magazine, Fast Company, Psychology Today, and others. She explores the groundbreaking concept of place attachment and leads longtime residents and newcomers alike to make a more passionate relationship with their community.
Melody Warnick author of This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are, will be a keynote speaker at the October conference in Tillamook.
Registration opens in July see website for more information. Participants will leave with strategies and tools to spur on revitalization efforts in their Main Street programs.
The South Coast Development Council, Inc. is a member of the Main Street American Program, Economic Vitality Committees for Coos Bay, Greater Bandon Assn., Port Orford, and Gold Beach.
REFERENCE & Photo:
1 Main Street Coordinating Program (https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/hcd/shpo/pages/mainstreet.aspx)
2 2019 Oregon Main Street Network Participants list (https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/SHPO/docs/OMS%20Tier%20List%20Feb%202019.pdf)
Mastermind groups are not something new, but new to some people. Author Napoleon Hill coined the concept in 1925 in his book “The Law of Success” and later described it in more detail in his 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich.”
Don’t think of this idea as ‘old’ think of it as an ‘endless gold mine."
A Mastermind can be a gold mine for a small basis. Most small businesses cannot afford a Board of Directors or advisory committee, but if they can spare a couple of hours each month, they might be able to tap into a Mastermind group.
A Mastermind group that works for the success of its members can function like (or sometimes even better) than a Board. Note: There are more than one type of Mastermind group that may focus on different things such as the success of member/project.
Typically, the membership of a Mastermind group is limited (more than 5 less than 10). This keeps the discussions manageable, focused, and intimate.
Board membership is often unlimited and can grow to an unwieldly large group with little or no time for discussion. The small group format makes it easier to discuss issues and challenges in a safe environment (safe from inappropriate disclosure). Members sign a disclosure agreement so that discussions are not shared.
My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of its parts. That's how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people.” - Steve Jobs
Members may share ideas on how to resolve issues, what they have tried, and listen—really listen—to each other. Addressing problems in a balanced and fair way is what makes Mastermind Groups so valuable. Participants know that they can bring a problem to the group and 99.9 percent of the time get feedback and ideas on how to move forward. This feedback might help members think bigger, or different, which might propel a business into new areas, help identify when it is time to cut and run, or celebrate change. Just think of the power you have in the group. Many minds working on creative win-win solutions; instead of one mind totally bogged down in worry.
Typically, the time and frequency for a group is limited, unlike many other meetings. In many groups, they will limit the amount of time each member gets to speak so that each person gets equal time. And you can speak about anything you want. Discussions have touched on everything business, and even on personal tragedies and heartbreak. Over time, participants in a Mastermind group often develop high levels of trust and relationships that extend beyond the group. Good friends and business associates.
Talking can transform minds, which can transform behaviors, which can transform institutions.”
If you are interested in being a part of a Mastermind Group contact Sam Baugh, South Coast Development Council Inc., at 541-888-7003 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fishing is big business for every major coastal town on the Oregon coast. And no wonder! There are an amazing number of products available such as crab, clams, cod, halibut, albacore, shrimp, rockfish, salmon, oysters, tuna, squid, sea urchins, trout, with farmed carp, tilapia, catfish, cod, kelp/seaweed, and various types of algae. 1 2
These products are harvested by approximately 1,310 commercial fishers in 2018. 3 The commercial fishing industry along our coast has come a long way. Commercial salmon fisheries along the south coast were developed in the 1860's. These fisheries supported early salmon-canning businesses in places such as Gold Beach and several other more northern beach towns. Sports fishing came along later to become a mainstay for south coast cities such as Gold Beach and Brookings.
Since 2010, Oregon harvests have been averaging $151 million (2018 dollars) per year (adjusted for inflation). In 2018, the total landed value increased to $173 million, up from $148 million in 2017. Like many other sectors, the marine sector faces labor shortages. Nearly all of the commercial employment in Oregon occurs in Clatsop, Lincoln, Coos, Curry, and Tillamook counties. In 2018 the overall revenue jumped 17 percent, even though landed volume was up only 4 percent for the year. 3
1 “Development of the Coastal Economy, Farming and Fishing”. https://bit.ly/2KX8I1b
2 “Fishing industry facts for kids” https://kids.kiddle.co/Fishing_industry
3 Oregon’s Commercial Fishing in 2018 https://www.qualityinfo.org/-/oregon-s-commercial-fishing-in-2018
Even though the fair doesn’t open until July 23-27, the Coos County Fair Alliance has been busy with a couple of big remodeling projects on the fairgrounds.
The livestock barn has sheltered kids and animals for years in a wide variety of programs such as pre-4-H Cloverbuds, Little People Showmanship Events, 4-H, FFA, and Open Class. The fair provides a county-wide showcase of agriculture, crafts, industry and business. The Fair provides the opportunity for all ages, from young to seniors, to exhibit their livestock, floral, land products, culinary, needlework, photography, arts, and crafts.
It wouldn’t be a fair and rodeo without a livestock barn! Several years ago, the barn was deemed as unsafe and torn down. Since then, tents have been used for housing the livestock. The cost of renting tents has been expensive and continued cost increases have made this option unsustainable.
What’s next? A new 32,682 square foot, wooden ‘bare-bones’ livestock pole barn is nearing completion. The new barn will include electrical, lighting, and fire suppression. Their shared goal is to raise sufficient funds to pay for the entire project before the 2019 fair.
This has been a “team effort across the board,” said Alliance president Dan Berg. As of March 2, $311,906 has been raised which is just $5,436 under the minimum budget. Approximately $188,000 is needed to give the barn all of the ‘bells and whistles’ which include additional electrical and lighting, water lines/spigots, drainage/gutters, cupolas, signage, and branding party costs.
The footprint of the new barn is slightly larger than the tent footprint in 2018. This will help accommodate the increasing number of animal entries and minimize major fair layout modifications. The expansive roof (210 x 156 feet) will provide plenty of shade for people and animals. Wooden structures, like this have a tendency to weather better than steel structures in our climate (according to the website) making this an extremely cost-effective and very low maintenance project.
A new food pavilion is also in progress and should be done by 2020. It will feature six food stations, covered seating, a patio and courtyard, a grape arbor, and will have a tongue and groove wood ceiling. The lighting and design will make the building available for year-round use for special events and dance venues. The pavilion is home to the Bridge Grange, and Lyons and Boy Scouts Booths.
Even though the fair is a county entity, it receives no tax monies or public funds. It does receive some Lottery funds, but its primary budget comes from Fair proceeds, events, activities, and private donations. Thanks to the many donors, partners, and the Fair Board for their work so far.
Fund raising efforts are being spearheaded by the Coos County Fair Alliance, Inc. (CCFA). The CCFA is a tax exempt (501c3) organization. To donate to these worthwhile improvements, go to www.cooscountyfairalliance.org. There is a donate button on the About the Barn page.
How does this fit with business retention and expansion? The livestock pole barn is a critical part of the showing and auctioning activities at the fair which brings in thousands of dollars each year. The Coos County Fair and Rodeo has supported the Coos Youth Auction Committee (CYAC) for many years. Space to show and auction livestock has been provided to the committee at no charge. The CYAC raised almost $500,000 last year, with the majority of buyers being local residents and businesses. The fair helps support many local and regional businesses and is a favorite tourist destination.
What would a fair be like without the livestock? B-a-a-a-a-d-d-d M-o-o-o-s-s #;-D
Photos provided by the Coos County Fair Alliance. Thank you!
The Itty Bitty Inn is tucked into an itty bitty lot on Highway 101 at 1504 Sherman Avenue, North Bend. The enchanting and fun murals grab your eye, spark curiosity, and suggest that there is a lot more going on behind those muraled walls.
How does this Itty Bitty Inn draw visitors from all over the world? FUN. Branding. FUN. Branding. MORE FUN. OK, fun and branding. The challenges most companies have is how to make their business memorable long after the business transaction is done. Not so at the Itty Bitty Inn!
Innkeeper Rik Villarreal has developed a unique and memorable brand in the quirky art work and themes that checks off many branding success strategies: humor and fun, positive memories, authentic and unique, and somewhat unpredictable. He recently described the Inn as “a fusion of SciFi nerd-dom, mid-century Americana, and Oregon coast free-spiritedness. Vintage, Nerdy, Bohemian.”
This description actually fits really well. Where else might you find vintage rotary phones, rebuilt Atari 2600 systems (by Recycle Video Games http://www.rvgnet.net run by Annie Jackson), and listen to old favorites on vintage record players. Villarreal has, over time, developed a fun atmosphere, working in a quirky, fun artistic themes in every niche and cranny of his business.
Villarreal found the Itty Bitty Inn about five years ago quite by accident. He was looking to move to this area after his Coos Bay apartment was smoke damaged. He and his wife stayed at the Inn a few weeks and fell in love. When the Inn went up for sale, he dove in headfirst and began remodeling/restoring the site and building the brand.
Now you might think that branding is all about how your business cards and website looks but those ideas fall short of what effective branding can do for your business. This branding process has incorporated many different quality products and ideas that represent the wholesome personalities and vibes that make up our little stretch of the Oregon coast.
Local and regional products such as three unique soap and balm makers (SideShow Soap Company, Laughing Lion, and Sud Muffin) , Lex Johnson’s best roasted coffee, complimentary organic oatmeal with cranberries, blue berries, and hazelnuts, and several clothing/apparel products that were printed or created regionally. A bag of Bay Bridge coffee to go please.
But he has also worked to find out what visitors need, such as the ‘Tour of Deliciousness’ map featuring local restaurants and knows where to find the best gluten-free pizza (Dave’s pizza, 740 Koos Bay Blvd, Coos Bay, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Daves-Pizza/666708600014516). Or even providing an electric car recharging connection designed by his dad, a Master Electrician, whose foundation in physics and engineering came from SWOCC. Did we mention the Itty Bitty Library collection in each room?
Each hotel room, and indeed the whole Inn, is cheerfully decorated in fun themes that reflect our town’s personalities and flavors. The 70’s disco room is lots of fun, but it is the mid-century transition room featuring a rotary dial phone that is over the top! He shared the story of some younger guests who were puzzled at what that thing on the dresser was and how to use it... They had never seen a real working rotary dial telephone! Here is a short video for those of you that don’t know what a rotary phone is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OADXNGnJok
Villarreal “loves taking care of people” and works hard “making [their] visits more robust.” The Inn offers several fun activities such as crabbing in Charleston, bike tours (with complementary use of high-end bicycles purchased at and maintained by Moe’s Bike Shop, in North Bend). The eight high-end bikes range from cruisers to hybrids to mountain bikes made by Cannondale.
Villarreal employed Simon the Muralist (Simon Whiteowl) to create the murals that lend a nod to science, forestry, and the free-spirited coastal fun. The murals reflect an art style of the 1960s-1980s, each with its own story to tell. Be sure to look at the “I Love You So Much” and “Not Fade Away” (from a Grateful Dead song [originally a Buddy Holly tune!]) that animate the decades of life and spirit of the Inn. Around the corner you will find a Star Wars mural with a Star Trek “Landing Party” mural on the south wall (look for the new themed Star Trek room in the near future)
While branding may be the golden thread that binds the elements of business into success, fun is what keeps you going day-after-day. It doesn’t hurt being awarded Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for 2016, 2017, and 2018; or attracting and hosting European visitors and celebrities such as Woody Harrelson and the craft-beer godfather, Steve Dressler. All testaments to excellent service, creative and effective branding, and lots of FUN. “It’s a blast” Villarreal said. WE AGREE!
How does this fit into Economic Development? “Branding is a simple concept to understand yet sometime a painstaking process to implement,” as outlined in Web Marketing for Dummies (Book 1, chapter 3). “Branding is simply getting prospects and repeat customers to see and remember your product as the only solution to their specific problem or need.” The Itty Bitty Inn is an excellent example of how to build and leverage a brand to revitalize, stabilize, and expand a small business in a very competitive business sector. It also demonstrates that branding can be a very creative and fun process. If you need help identifying a brand or just want to talk about branding ideas, please contact SCDC and we can help get you headed in the right direction.
Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) comes in many flavors. Making sure there is a workforce available to help support your industry is critical and often tough. Log truck driving careers can be a fast transition compared to other trades and pay very well!