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Biz Beat

March 12, 2015

We hear changes are afoot at BRING Recycling as Executive Director Julie Daniel and Director of Communications and Development Sonja Snyder are both planning to retire in May. Ephraim Payne recently took over as director of outreach and communications when Shirley Perez West left. Daniel has been with BRING for 19 years and is credited with spearheading the $3.2 million capital campaign that created the new Planet Improvement Center in Glenwood. She also launched the RE:think Business program and the annual Home and Garden Tour.

March 5, 2015

Might be too late to reserve a seat, but we see the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce is holding a “Chamber 101” lunch at noon Thursday, March 5, in the Chamber’s conference room on Willamette Street. Pre-registration (free) is required and it appears the presentation is geared to new members. Everything is political in Eugene, and we wouldn’t be surprised if some of the participants raise political issues, such as why the U.S. Chamber has actively campaigned against reducing carbon pollution. 

February 19, 2015

Cybersecurity is a quickly growing field and we see the Oregon State University College of Engineering has collaborated with Intel Security to offer a course at OSU called “Defense Against the Dark Art.” The class of 45 students filled up almost immediately after it was announced. The class will be videotaped and there are plans to make it available in the future to other universities.

February 12, 2015

Big turnout for the Womenspace fifth annual “End the Silence” community breakfast Feb. 4. An estimated 320 to 350 people, including many local dignitaries and business owners, showed up on a cold, dark, wet morning for the 7 am free buffet at Valley River Inn. A “survivor panel” of women told their personal stories about intimate partner violence and how Womenspace services helped and continues to help them through the challenges.

February 5, 2015

Tiny Tavern at 394 Blair Blvd. in the Whit has reopened under new management after being shut down by the Lane County Health Department Dec. 5. The self-described dive bar, restaurant and live music venue had a Superbowl party Sunday, and we’re hearing good things about the new, improved and more sanitary Tiny’s. It was missed while it was closed. See our Letters this week. 

January 29, 2015

Bloxi is a new Eugene-based web business startup that appears to be quickly growing an international audience. “Bloxi is a quiz site where anyone can create, take or share quizzes,” says Bailey Koharchick, director of marketing. Find it on bloxi.com or call the company at 505-8044.

January 22, 2015

If you go online to search for Prudential Real Estate in Lane County you will automatically be rerouted to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Billionaire Warren Buffet recently bought Prudential and associated businesses for an undisclosed amount and brought them under his Berkshire brand. Buffett’s purchase is considered to be another indication that the housing sector of the economy is recovering.

January 15, 2015

The Ducks might have lost some feathers in Dallas this week, but we hear local pizza and other take-out businesses had one of their busiest sales times ever in the hours leading up to the national championship game. One pizza maker we talked to said he was swamped starting at 10 am Monday filling orders for home game-watching parties. As it turns out, comfort food was badly needed, particularly in the second half of the game.

January 8, 2015

We hear the dramatically lower gas prices are good for local businesses. Transportation costs are down for everything that travels by car or truck, which improves profits now and maybe customers will benefit later. Car sales are up and more people are traveling. The downsides don’t get much attention. High fuel prices helped alternative transportation enterprises grow and kept our focus on locally produced goods. Will we see bike businesses and local farmers take a hit, and less support for cycling and pedestrians? We expect urgent care and ER rooms to get more business.

December 31, 2014

We understand why private investors are motivated to build student-housing complexes. College enrollment is predicted to grow and the projects pencil out as profitable even if they are not filled to capacity, particularly if tax breaks are involved. Once built and operating, they can be sold to other big-time investors to cover costs and pocket a few million bucks. But what we don’t understand is why they are designed to accommodate only single students for the life of the building, say 40 to 50 years.

December 24, 2014

Where would Jesus eat? Many local restaurants will be closed Christmas Day. Among the businesses that will be open is Agate Alley Bistro & Bar at 1461 E. 19th Ave., but only from 5 to 10 pm so the staff can have Christmas morning off. If you are planning on dining out anywhere Christmas Day, we recommend calling ahead and leaving big tips. Going to the coast? We once showed up late and ravenous for a Christmas buffet at a fancy hotel near Depot Bay and found only scraps of salmon and halibut, but plenty of mystery meat, soggy broccoli and cold potatoes.

December 18, 2014

Alice Doyle of Log House Plants in Cottage Grove has been working for the past five years with Dutch and American horticultural researchers to refine and market a “Ketchup ’n’ Fries” grafted plant that grows potatoes underground and tomatoes above ground. Potatoes and tomatoes are related, and the first such graft was recorded in the early 1900s by Luther Burbank. The local Territorial Seed Company will have a national exclusive to sell mail-order plants and “I’m sure they‘ll see quite a bit of action,” Doyle says.

December 11, 2014

Tiny Tavern in the Whiteaker was shut down by Lane County health inspectors Dec. 5 for health code violations, according to the Eugene Brewery District website. The bar at 394 Blair Blvd. scored 67 points out of 100 and “according to regulations, any score of 70 or less will require the business to close its doors until corrections and a re-inspection can be made,” says the website. Jeff Malos owns the building and is rumored to be looking to sell it. Back in our Sept. 25 Biz Beat, we wrote about the bar closing when manager Jeff Peck left to open Old Nick’s Pub.

November 26, 2014

The Dexter Lake Club closed Nov. 17 and the land and building are for sale for $279,000, according to the nightclub and café’s Facebook page and website. The club was featured in Animal House in 1977 and has been in operation along Highway 58 since 1949. The business has changed hands nearly a dozen times, most recently in 2011 when Greg and Shannon Stewart took over the roadhouse from Michael McCann. Hundreds of local musicians have performed there over the years.

November 20, 2014

Tsunami Books on south Willamette was given notice earlier this fall that the building was going on the market and the longtime independent book store and performance venue would likely need to find a new home (see Biz Beat, 9/25). But we heard from store owner Scott Landfield that the building is now in the process of being sold to someone who supports the store staying put for at least a couple of years.

November 13, 2014

Congrats to NextStep Recycling founder Lorraine Kerwood McKenzie who was given the Toyota Standing O-Vation, a recognition of extraordinary people in communities around the country, during Oprah Winfrey’s “The Life You Want Weekend” in Seattle Nov. 8. The award was given by Winfrey and Paralympic bronze medalist snowboarder Amy Purdy.

November 6, 2014

A Whiteaker neighborhood building and land at 252 Lawrence St., across the street from Crux Rock Climbing Gym, has been sold to Rick Wright, the CEO of Market of Choice, to become an events center, and we heard from one small business being evicted, Bohemia Café & Apothecary. Co-owner Felicia Parra-Colden tells us the eviction was given with short notice, but she was able to negotiate more time to relocate.

October 23, 2014

InEugene Real Estate is Eugene’s newest real estate brokerage, located at the corner of East Broadway and Oak Street. Eugene native and principal broker Ben Fogelson says he is being “highly particular about selecting agents” for his brokerage. “Being a high-producing agent doesn’t get you in the door,” he says. “We are not, nor will we ever be salespeople.

October 16, 2014

Sweet Potato Pie is closing after 20 years in business in Eugene, first downtown on 11th Avenue and then at 775 Monroe St. next to Sweet Life in the Whiteaker. The store features locally made clothing and natural products and Saturday will be the last day. Owner Elizabeth Thompson says the move away from downtown was expensive and foot traffic in the Whiteaker has been bad. She has kept the store going over the past five years by working full-time jobs around town.

October 9, 2014

Ring of Fire has closed and may reopen later in a new location, according to a message on the restaurant’s phone service. The Thai and Pacific Rim restaurant, bar and catering service at 11th and Chambers is owned by Josh Keim, and has been a Eugene favorite since around the turn of the century.

October 2, 2014

At least three new hotels are popping up on the drawing boards for Eugene and some might actually get built. One hotel is included in proposals for redevelopment of the EWEB surplus property, a seven-story hotel is back on the expansion plans at Oakway Center and a third hotel was revealed in tentative plans for the Civic Stadium property. 

September 25, 2014

Tsunami Books is in a pickle. Owner Scott Landfield tells us the building that has housed Tsunami Books on South Willamette  for 20 years is up for sale through Evans, Elder & Brown. Landfield says he has decided to keep the business going, “but where and how are now up in the air.” Ideally, he says, someone would buy the building and keep him as a tenant. “We here at Tsunami Books are totally focused on having our best holiday season ever, beginning today,” he says.

September 18, 2014

StoveTec, a local for-profit stove enterprise, is pledging financial support for StoveTeam International, a nonprofit organization that brings safe, fuel-efficient and low-emission stoves to communities in Mexico and Central America. Under the new sponsorship, StoveTec — which markets wood cook stoves developed at Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove — will donate a portion of its domestic for-profit sales to support StoveTeam International.

September 11, 2014

About $24 million in federal funding for the West Eugene EmX project passed the Metropolitan Policy Committee unanimously last week, according to Rob Zako, executive director of Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST). “We are looking forward to work proceeding efficiently with minimal impacts, and to seeing the new EmX line open in just over two years,” he says. BEST has been holding “listening sessions” with the community over recent months and plans to release a report next month. An online survey is at best-oregon.org.