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Portland District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

Wallet Guy Finds a Better Tape

Shoppers at Portland Saturday Market have known him for years as the Duct-Tape Wallet Guy. But Garett Croft Stenson is moving on – to gaffer's tape. Seven years after he made his first duct-tape wallet at college in Idaho, Stenson has closed the doors on Ductbills. In its place he has launched several new lines of gaffer's tape wallets that he calls pocket art. "One thing I want people to know is I'm still in the game," says Stenson, 26, whose new company is called db clay.

About a year ago, Stenson discovered gaffer's tape, which is used by lighting and sound technicians on stages and movie sets. Stenson compares it to space-age materials. At present, db clay offers five series of wallets, ranging in price from $40 to $85. Camera series: With images captured by Portland photographers, the wallets feature scenes such as a cloud- lined Central Oregon horizon. Sketchbook series: The wallets display sketchbook drawings by Portland artists. Limited series: db clay... Read More

Debbie Brown, Serial Entrepreneur!

Tim and Debbie Brown started their lives together in 1978 on their farm in Nyssa, Oregon. Tim’s parents raised buffalo on their place as a hobby. In 1983 Tim’s parents retired from farming and Tim & Debbie took over their farm and the buffalo. In 1985 Debbie painted and posted the first Brown’s Buffalo Ranch sign at the bottom of the road in Nyssa. A few years later the low fat, leaner meat health craze took hold. 

  Debbie recognized that there was a growing market for their Buffalo meat. In 1988, she started to heavily market the health aspect of the Buffalo meat and focused on the local restaurants. In 1992 they started Brown’s Chuck Wagon, a mobile facility that allowed them to cater private events, auctions, go to county fairs, and other public gatherings to sell their Buffalo Burgers and Indian Tacos.   Both businesses were quite successful, but early in 1999 Debbie recognized the need to expand their marketing and their services. She contacted the TVCC... Read More

Rob Thompson and Ken Riley, owners of Thompson's Sanitary Service, Inc., were named the U.S. Small Business Administration's 2006 Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year.

The award was presented to Rob and Ken by Leon Milobar, District Director of the SBA Portland District Office, at a lunch forum hosted by the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce on Friday, May 19th.   Ken Thompson and his brother Neal started Thompson Sanitary Service, Inc. in 1963 when they won a competitive bid for the city franchise for the garbage collection in Newport. The Thompson brothers purchased the old equipment from the former service provider, which consisted of two 15-year-old Dodge open top dump trucks. Ken and his wife Agnes purchased their first Leach rear load garbage truck at that time. Two years later Ken and Agnes bought out Neal. They ran the business until 1981. At that time Ken and Agnes sold the company to Bob, their son, and his wife Sandi.   Originally the... Read More
Laura's Studio by the Bay Goes International
Laura's Studio by the Bay is a teaching art studio located on Alsea Bay. The facility is on 20 acres and includes a large barn that has been converted to an 800 square-foot studio area, a full kitchen, full bath facility and a 10-bed dorm. Students can come here and stay at the studio for a very nominal fee where they have access to a full kitchen and all the facilities. The studio area is open 24 hours during seminars, which allows students to paint at any time that suits them.   When Miller first bought the business, the building was in terrible shape and Miller spent the last four years investing in repairs and remodeling in anticipation of attracting customers not only from the immediate area, but also from outside the state and the country. Miller hosts international folk art painters who are looking for a U.S. venue to show and sell their works. Miller pays their way and their expenses while they are here. Artists attend painting conventions together where they can get... Read More