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Portland District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

Jodi and Dan Bittick purchased One Hour Martinizing in Medford in 1998. The operation does dry cleaning, repairs, alterations, preservation and laundry. Both Jodi and Dan worked for big business in Utah and wanted to own their own business. Dry-cleaning was a natural choice since Jodi's grandfather and her father owned and operated a dry cleaning business. Jodi and her siblings often helped with the family business.

In the four years as owners of the Medford store, the Bitticks had increased their market and wanted to expand by purchasing a new, larger capacity washer and dryer. The owners couldn't get a bank loan, because the loan request was too small. Roger Harding of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Grants Pass, and their instructor in the Rogue Community College Small Business Management Program, referred them to Dennis Davis, the Loan Fund Manager at Southern Oregon Women’s Access to Credit (SOWAC) Business Training and Lending in Medford, Oregon... Read More

Allen Surgeon had a vision to run a mill efficiently and profitably. As owner of Rogue Valley Fuel, he has been in the wood products industry for 20 years and gotten used to rolling with the punches." When drastic changes hit the logging industry and Environmental concerns reshaped the industry, Allen had to diversify. He purchased used equipment from mills that closed, and began offering a wide range of products using small diameter logs. His products are wood blocks, chips, posts and poles, bark and sawdust. His success in business has been guided by extensive industry experience. He continually applies the lessons he learned about the most efficient ways to run a mill profitably.

This success story is a team effort, which includes the Grants Pass Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Oregon Department of Economic Development (OECDD), Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI) And Southern Oregon Womens Access to Credit (SOWAC). Roger Harding from... Read More
Care-O-Sell Still Going Around

Chris Kodama had been a secretary for 25 years when the arrival of a new granddaughter led her to drive to Boise with her husband from their Ontario, OR, home to look for baby clothes. They found a nice resale clothing store in Idaho. “When my husband saw the store,” Chris recalls, “he asked, ‘why aren’t we doing that?’”  Why not, indeed?  In September of 2000, Chris quit her secretarial job and launched her new life as an entrepreneur.

Care-O-Sell, Kodama’s store, is a “first-class children’s and maternity resale store.”  “I had been in stores like this before,” Chris says, “but I knew I could do it better.”  And, Chris says, the move meant something important:  “No more memos!” Care-O-Sell carries anything related to children including clothing, toys and equipment.  Running a children’s clothing store is anything but child’s play.  Chris devoured magazines and books about the retail clothing business and set about creating a business plan that would work for her... Read More

Portland Business Owner Names SBA's Oregon Small Business Person of the Year

Paresh Patel, President, Courtesy Vending, LLC, has been named as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Oregon Small Business Person of the Year. Courtesy Vending, LLC a 13-yr old business founded by Patel at age 17 in 1992 with one pop machine, has grown to become the largest independent snack and drink machine vending operator in Portland.

From very humble beginnings in a very competitive industry, the company posted sales of $1.6 million in 2003 and projects sales of $2.5 million in 2004, operating over 1000 vending machines, employing 17 full time route drivers, warehouse personnel, operations and administrative staff. Patel’s passion for knowledge and his drive to succeed have been evident from an early age. Patel gained his business experience at age 12 with the remodeling of his family owned motel; he led the renovation and created systems that continue to provide efficiency for the business today. Through his teenage years, he managed the financial... Read More

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