Biz Beat 1-8-2015

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. More drivers and more vehicles means more collisions and more cracked skulls. Be careful out there.

The new nonprofit Rapid Access Center (RAC) and Medical Clinic is having its grand opening from 4 to 6 pm Thursday, Jan. 15, at 195 W. 12th Ave. The facility offers same-day assessment and treatment for “those suffering from behavioral health issues” and provides immediate medical attention if needed, according to a statement from Willamette Family, Inc. which operates the facility and others in Lane County. Jon Smith is the senior program manager for the RAC. “If someone is motivated to get help and they have to wait, they might lose their drive,” he says. “We’re here to provide services immediately.” For more information, call Willamette Family at 344-0031.

The Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance is planning its annual “Fun with Fermentation” Festival from 11 am to 4 pm Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Veterans Memorial Building at 16th and Willamette. A variety of local business will be there sampling products either made by their company or made with their ingredients. WVSFA members will be showcasing breads, beers, mead, cheese, teas and other locally produced products. The event has an educational focus centered on discovering the many ways that fermentation is used in making foods and the different types of locally produced fermented foods. Live demonstrations include sauerkraut, bread starters, mulled beer and miso. Vendors include 100 Mile Bakery, Agrarian Ales, Down to Earth Distributors, Independence Creamery, Herbal Junction, Hop Valley Brewing, McKenzie Mist, Mountain Rose Herbs, Nectar Creek Honey Wine, Singing Dog Vanilla, Take Root Magazine, Wandering Goat and more. Suggested donation of $5 with two cans of food for FOOD For Lane County or $10 without food donation, kids 12 and under free.        

Tuesday, Jan. 13, is the deadline to register for the gathering of local arts organizations called “New Connections in the New Year.” The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Friday, Jan. 16, at the Oregon Supporting Living Program (OSLP) offices, 309 W. 4th Ave. Sponsored by Emerging Leaders in the Arts Network and the Arts and Business Alliance of Eugene. Space is limited. Email or call 242-2364.

As we go to press this week, several local businesses are set to be recognized as finalists for the Bold Steps Award at the Mayor’s State of the City address Jan. 7. They include Café Yumm!, Essex General Construction and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The award recognizes sustainable businesses and recognizes a partnership between the city of Eugene, Mayor Kitty Piercy and BRING’s RE:think Program.