2021 BVC Company Applications Now Open

BVC 2020 Winners

THE BEND VENTURE CONFERENCE RETURNS OCTOBER 21-22, 2021
COMPANY APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW THRU AUGUST 13TH

BEND, OR (July 8, 2021) – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) will again host the annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) on Thursday, October 21 – Friday, October 22, 2021, in downtown Bend and virtually online. Ticketing, speaker announcements and event details for the 18th Annual Bend Venture Conference will be announced in the coming months.

Over the past five years, investments, awards and prizes surpassing $10 million were awarded to 40 companies as a result of the conference. BVC is a yearly celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation, connecting investors, companies and business leaders.

APPLY

This year’s conference will feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Impact and Early Stage. The application period is open now through Friday, August 13th and companies across the United States are invited to apply.

  • Growth Stage Competition: This category is open to companies that have a proven concept, have generated initial revenues and are prepared to scale quickly with investment. To apply, click here.
  • Impact Competition: This category is open to for-profit companies, whose business models are integrated with a mission to have a significant and measurable social or environmental impact. Applicants should be aiming to generate long-term enterprise value and attractive returns on capital. To apply, click here.
  • Early Stage Competition: This category is open to companies that have a great idea and are close to “proof of concept.” They are pre-revenue (or very early-revenue) and are in the process of testing their product in the market. To apply, click here.

Growth Stage Competition finalists could collect an investment of $250,000 or more. Companies in the Impact Competition have historically competed for investments ranging from $50,000-$100,000. Companies in the Early Stage competition could receive and investment of $25,000 or more. This year’s  BVC will feature impressive speakers from across the country representing angel investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)

Now in its 18th year, BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. Over the past five years, more than $10 million has been invested in 40 companies as a result of the conference. This year’s conference will take place on October 21-22, 2021, gathering entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. bendvc.com

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)

EDCO is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. edcoinfo.com

We’re Hiring: Venture Catalyst Director

Photo of Mount Bachelor

We’re Hiring: Venture Catalyst Director

 

About us

Founded in 1981, EDCO is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders.  Our mission is to create a diversified local economy and a strong base of middle-income jobs in Central Oregon.  To do this, we focus on helping companies do the following:

MOVE. We attract and guide outside employers through the relocation process as a resource for regional data, incentive, talent, site selection, and more.

START. We mentor and advise scalable young companies from concept to exit on issues such as access to capital, critical expertise, and strategy.

GROW. We partner with local traded-sector companies to help them grow and expand.

 

Where you get to live!

Bend, Oregon is the mountain town that has it all!  Located in the shadows of the Cascade Mountains and surrounded by numerous lakes and rivers, Central Oregon is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Check out the sights and sounds of Bend at: https://vimeo.com/200038114.

About the role

Scalable startups are a key component of a thriving economy.  The Venture Catalyst Director plays a pivotal role in helping entrepreneurship drive future job growth in Central Oregon by executing the plans and programs of EDCO’s “Start” initiative. The goal: establish the region as a Top 10 location in the country in which to start and grow a business.

 

The ideal candidate has:

  • Real-world founder experience as an entrepreneur of a scalable business with at least one successful exit.
  • Equity investing experience including evaluating startups and early-stage companies, working with investor groups, valuations, and due diligence.
  • A sincere passion for helping startups grow into successful companies.
  • Initiative and ability to take the Venture Catalyst Director role to the “next level”.
  • Thorough understanding of debt financing, including the options that are available at different stages of growth.

 

Key responsibilities

Supporting the region’s entrepreneurs such that they can succeed at a much higher rate includes:

  • Expanding a network of volunteers (Stable of Experts) with deep business/technical experience across a broad spectrum of disciplines.
  • Meeting with and connecting entrepreneurs with volunteers in the Stable of Experts.
  • Preparing startups and early-stage companies to successfully compete for debt/equity funding (pitch coaching & refinement, business plan/strategy review, etc.), including connection with needed professional expertise, technical information, and preparedness to attract equity and debt capital. Also includes active contact and follow up with business owners and managers, company visits, correspondence, information requests, research, and proposals.
  • Working with Director of Events to managing and oversee events for entrepreneurs (Central Oregon PubTalk, Bend Venture Conference, etc.) which includes, but is not limited to, identifying/securing keynote presenters and pitching companies, supporting the BVC LLC Fund Manager(s), pitch coaching, and facilitating due diligence meetings while achieving both EDCO financial objectives and early-stage company objectives (exposure, coaching, etc.).
  • Tracking both effort and results of the “Start” initiative in periodic KPI reports and via EDCO’s CRM (Executive Pulse).
  • Working actively with the Director of Marketing & Communications to promote startup successes and increase visibility of young companies.
  • Identifying and securing funding sources to help sustain and grow the “Start” initiative.
  • Maintaining and growing a network with other institutions, organizations and individuals that support startups.

 

To apply:

For confidential consideration, please submit resume to [email protected].

EDCO’S ANNUAL LUNCHEON RESCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, JULY 15TH FEATURING INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR & ECONOMIST TIM HARFORD

2021 Annual Luncheon logo

EDCO’S ANNUAL LUNCHEON RESCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, JULY 15TH  FEATURING INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR & ECONOMIST TIM HARFORD

BEND, OR (June 3, 2021) – Originally scheduled for May 6th, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) has rescheduled its Annual Luncheon for Thursday, July 15th, 2021, from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm, both in-person and virtually. All previously purchased tickets will be honored for the newly scheduled date.

The EDCO Annual Luncheon will take place at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes. New this year is the opportunity to attend the event virtually. Whether joining in-person or virtually, networking and lunch will be provided. In-person attendees will also receive one of the keynote speaker’s books. In-person tickets and tables are available and on sale here. Virtual tickets and tables can be purchased here.

Additionally, for each ticket sold EDCO will donate a student ticket to the virtual program.

EDCO’s Annual Luncheon is a tradition providing the Central Oregon business community an opportunity to hear nationally (and now internationally) recognized leaders discussing topics important to the business community. With the challenges and changes surrounding the past twelve months, this year’s keynote will focus on how disorder can transform our lives for the better.

Tim Harford

 

Keynote Speaker

Tim Harford

International Bestseller, BBC Radio Host, Economist, TED Speaker

When Things Get Messy

The Productive Reactions to Destruction

Tim Harford has been described as ‘perhaps the best popular economics writer in the world’. He is a behavioral economist, BBC radio and TV presenter, and award-winning Financial Times columnist. Sometimes called ‘Britain’s Malcolm Gladwell’, Tim offers a distinctive blend of storytelling, humor and intelligence.

He has written nine books, including The Undercover Economist, which has sold nearly 2 million copies in over 30 languages. His BBC Radio 4 series, More or Less, offers a genial smackdown of dubious statistics, while his BBC World Service radio series Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy was a critical success and iTunes topper. Tim’s most recent book, The Data Detective, was released this past February and his writings have won several prestigious awards, including the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism (2006 and 2016), Science and Data Commentator of the Year (2018) and more.

Tim is the only journalist to be an honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, has given numerous invited lectures (including at Google) and three TED talks, which have alone been viewed nearly 10 million times.

“He’s a genius at telling stories that illuminate our world.” – Malcolm Gladwell

In-Person Tickets and Registration (book and lunch included):
$79 EDCO Members
$94 Non-Members

Tickets and tables can be purchased here.
(In-person table sponsors receive six luncheon tickets plus recognition prior to and during the event.)

Virtual Tickets and Registration (dining certificate and networking included):
$39 EDCO Members
$54 Non-Members

Tickets and tables can be purchased here.
(Virtual table sponsors receive ten luncheon tickets plus recognition prior to and during the event.)

Become an EDCO Member here.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)

Now in its 40th year of operations in Central Oregon, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit www.edcoinfo.com

April 2021 PubTalk: Kara Buckley and the World of Sports

PubTalk Keynote speaker

April 2021 PubTalk Keynote Speaker: Kara Buckley

United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee | Oregon Sports Angels

Sports at the Intersection of Impact and Innovation

Relive the keynote speech from the April 2021 Central Oregon PubTalk, as Kara Buckley talks about the intersection of impact and innovation in the world of sports. Including her involvement with the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee and Oregon Sports Angles.

Check out the full event to hear pitches and updates from local companies and start-ups. Click here to see pitching company Zipcan, company updates from Bend Soap Company and Riff, and of course our keynote Kara Buckley.

About Kara

Throughout Kara’s career, she has worked across the highest levels of sports. Including the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, FIFA World Cup, League of Legends, Special Olympics, and UEFA Champions League.

With LA28 (the home of the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games) and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team, she built and launched the first-of-it’s-kind Athlete Marketing Platform. While working at Visa, she pioneered Visa’s Rio 2016 “Acceptance” campaign by supporting ten athletes competing on the Refugee Olympic Team.

PubTalk Company lineup 

PubTalk keynote and pitching company

Pitching Company: Zipcan

CEO Fritz Brumder | CPO Spenser Lea

Realize the full power of video collaboration for your brand beyond hosting meetings. Zipcan provides the ability to add video chat capabilities to your website or application in just a few seconds. Just embed a code snippet and unlock a 2-way video experience within your platform. With Zipcan you can create new products, engage customers and connect your community.

PubTalk keynote and update company Riff

Company Update: Riff

CEO Paul Evers

Riff is a purpose-driven coffee company on a mission to explore and celebrate 100% of the coffee plant’s agricultural value. They are passionate about building a purpose-led company that creates widely desired, good for you and good for the planet beverages. The brand launched their first line of ready-to-drink cold-brewed coffees in 2018 and quickly garnered many awards and accolades.

PubTalk keynote and update companyBend Soap Company

Company Update: Bend Soap Company 

Founder & Owner Dwight Johnson

Created 10 years ago out of Dwight and Marilee Johnson’s mission to find safe, natural, and nourishing products to help soothe their son’s eczema, Bend Soap Company is a family-run company dedicated to creating toxin-free goat milk soap. Today, their all-natural skincare products have helped thousands of families enjoy healthy skin with nourishing and wholesome ingredients at an affordable price.

About PubTalk

EDCO’s Central Oregon PubTalk, held the fourth Thursday of the month, is a happy hour aimed at bringing together different facets of the business community in one place to network, share ideas, and further local businesses.

EDCO ANNOUNCES 2021 CENTRAL OREGON LARGEST EMPLOYERS

EDCO logo, Mount Bachelor landscape

EDCO RELEASES 2021 CENTRAL OREGON LARGEST EMPLOYERS

Data compiled by EDCO Shows Top Public & Private Regional Employers

Bend, Ore. – April 1, 2021 – Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is pleased to announce the 2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers List, complete with breakouts of the top employers in each Central Oregon community. This data, collected by EDCO annually for the past 20 years, is the most comprehensive major employer list in Central Oregon.

This year the top 50 private companies collectively employ nearly 21,000 Central Oregonians, or roughly 21.9% of the region’s 2020 annual average total non-farm employment of 95,790. St. Charles Health System tops the list again, employing over 4,600 people regionwide.

According to the Oregon Employment Department, 77% of Oregon establishments have nine or fewer employees and the average private establishment employed roughly 11 people in 2020.

“Our team is especially appreciative that our private and public employers were willing to provide this information given the events of the past 12 months,” said Roger Lee, CEO of EDCO. “The top employers list provides a perspective of the important role larger organizations play in our economy even as most jobs still come from small, often young businesses.”

When evaluating the region for investment and new or expanded operations, companies often turn to EDCO for information about the existing employment base and largest private employers from both the traded-sector (manufacturers, high technology and professional service companies) and non-traded sector (retail and commercial businesses, education, healthcare, hospitality, construction, etc.). EDCO’s regional list features private (for-profit and non-profit) employers, while those at the community level include both private and public employers.

To view the lists in their entirety, click on the links below:

2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers
2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Bend
2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Redmond
2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Jefferson County
2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Crook County
2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Sisters
2021 Central Oregon Largest Employers – Sunriver_La Pine

 

Data for the lists is self-reported and not audited, so are only to be used as an informational guideline. Some businesses chose not to participate in these lists and are therefore excluded.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon

EDCO is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit www.edcoinfo.com.

EDCO’S ANNUAL LUNCHEON RETURNS THURSDAY, MAY 6TH FEATURING INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR & ECONOMIST TIM HARFORD

PubTalk

EDCO ANNUAL LUNCHEON RETURNS THURSDAY, MAY 6TH
FEATURING INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR & ECONOMIST TIM HARFORD

BEND, OR (March 12, 2021)Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) will host its Annual Luncheon on Thursday, May 6th, 2021, from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm, both in-person and virtually.

EDCO is proud to again host the Annual Luncheon at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes. New this year is the opportunity to attend the event virtually. Whether joining in-person or virtually, networking and lunch will be provided. In-person attendees will also receive one of the keynote speaker’s books. In-person tickets and tables are available and on sale here. Virtual tickets and tables can be purchased here.

Additionally, for each virtual ticket sold EDCO will donate a virtual ticket to a student in Central Oregon.

EDCO’s Annual Luncheon is a tradition providing the Central Oregon business community an opportunity to hear nationally (and now internationally) recognized leaders discussing topics important to the business community. With the challenges and changes surrounding the past twelve months, this year’s keynote will focus on how disorder can transform our lives for the better.

Tim Harford


Keynote Speaker

Tim Harford

International Bestseller | Economist | BBC Radio Host  | TED Speaker

 

When Things Get Messy:
The Productive Reactions to Destruction

Tim Harford has been described as ‘perhaps the best popular economics writer in the world’. He is a behavioral economist, BBC radio and TV presenter, and award-winning Financial Times columnist. Sometimes called ‘Britain’s Malcolm Gladwell’, Tim offers a distinctive blend of storytelling, humor and intelligence.

He has written nine books, including The Undercover Economist, which has sold nearly 2 million copies in over 30 languages. His BBC Radio 4 series, More or Less, offers a genial smackdown of dubious statistics, while his BBC World Service radio series Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy was a critical success and iTunes topper. Tim’s most recent book, The Data Detective, was released this past February and his writings have won several prestigious awards, including the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism (2006 and 2016), Science and Data Commentator of the Year (2018) and more.

Tim is the only journalist to be an honorary fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, has given numerous invited lectures (including at Google) and three TED talks, which have alone been viewed nearly 10 million times.

“He’s a genius at telling stories that illuminate our world.” – Malcolm Gladwell

 

In-Person Tickets and Registration (book and lunch included):
$79 EDCO Members
$94 Non-Members

Tickets and tables can be purchased here.
(In-person table sponsors receive six luncheon tickets plus recognition prior to and during the event.)

Virtual Tickets and Registration (dining certificate and networking included):
$39 EDCO Members
$54 Non-Members

Tickets and tables can be purchased here.
(Virtual table sponsors receive ten luncheon tickets plus recognition prior to and during the event.)

Become an EDCO Member here.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)

Now in its 40th year of operations in Central Oregon, Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit www.edcoinfo.com.

TECH COMPANY COGNITO ANNOUNCES HEADQUARTERS MOVE TO SISTERS, OREGON

Illustration of Tech Company Cognito

 

TECH COMPANY COGNITO ANNOUNCES HEADQUARTERS MOVE TO SISTERS, OREGON

ACTIVELY RECRUITING THROUGHOUT THE REGION FOR NEW POSITIONS

SISTERS, ORE (March 2, 2021)Cognito, a technology company creating frictionless, modern identity verification, which started in Palo Alto in 2014, has chosen to relocate its headquarters to Sisters, Oregon (pop. 3,003). The company provides identity verification and security compliance solutions to fast-growing businesses and financial services firms.

Co-founder and CEO Alain Meier helped launch the Stanford Bitcoin Group while studying at Stanford University, where he recognized the need for more advanced anti-fraud and compliance tools for businesses. During that process he joined Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley-based seed money startup accelerator that has helped more than 2000 companies launch since 2005.

While in Y Combinator, they began supporting companies like Brex, Coinbase, Current, and Nextdoor, helping them to scale onboarding while satisfying regulatory compliance requirements. Today, Cognito has over 500 clients, representing over 100 million individuals through its platform. They continue to carve a niche in the financial services industry as a fintech leader.

The company expects to gradually grow its headcount in Sisters, however like many tech companies in the COVID era, most of its employees are working remotely. Three of the firm’s current team of eleven are in the greater Sisters area. They are also actively looking for local talent for two open positions. Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is working with the company to help facilitate its growth in the region.

Co-Founder and CEO Meier said: “We chose Sisters for our new headquarters in part due to the unpublicized, growing high-tech knowledge employment base that the community possesses. Cognito saw the need to grow in a location where we can hire incredible talent that have a variety of different interests and backgrounds.”

The small, bucolic town of Sisters has been in the news this past year with other notable young companies progressing with rapid growth, including the recent IPO of Laird Superfood, which rang into the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 23, 2020.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)

Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit www.edcoinfo.com.

Pinnacle Architecture: Celebrating 30 Years in Central Oregon

Pinnacle Architecture

Bend, Ore., December 16, 2020 – Celebrating 30 years in Central Oregon, Pinnacle Architecture’s mission is to design places that enhance lives and community. The firm provides planning, architecture and interior design services for education, multi-family housing, healthcare, senior living, and social service projects. It prides itself on its solid reputation for integrity, collaboration and socially responsible design.

We chatted with native Central Oregonian Peter Baer, Pinnacle Architecture President, to talk about how he got his start, the growth of the firm and the importance of community and community partners.

EDCO: Tell us more about Pinnacle Architecture and how you got your start. 

Peter: Pinnacle is celebrating our 30th year in business…during a pandemic! So, how did Pinnacle get started? I’m one of those rare Central Oregon locals born and raised in Bend, my family’s roots dating back to 1917. After getting my architecture degree at the University of Oregon in Eugene, I returned to Bend and began working in Real Estate Development. Unfortunately, in 1990 the US entered a recession, and Bend was hit hard. I was laid off, with a new mortgage and a baby on the way. After the layoff, I began working part-time at Central Oregon Community College as an instructor in design, drafting and construction. The work was good, but I wanted to make more of an impact and get back to design. After many conversations with my wife and mentors, I decided to take the risk and start my business, Pinnacle Architecture.

Just three months or so after taking the plunge, I hired my first employee and purchased a small office on 3rd Street. Through word of mouth and attending local events, we were designing everything from single-family homes to churches, bowling alleys, offices, and public buildings. I really found a sweet spot in Eastern Oregon. It started with responding to a request for a proposal for an affordable housing complex in Baker City, and we won. That led to city hall remodels, community centers, senior facilities, and community health buildings. My team and I really enjoyed the work’s social impact, and we began doing these types of public service projects all over Oregon. The mission of Enhancing Lives and Communities evolved and is a guiding belief today.

When I founded Pinnacle, it was always my desire for the company to continue long after I retire. In 2018, Briana Manfrass joined as an owner in the firm. She’s been part of the team since 2006 and a strong leader committed to fulfilling Pinnacle’s mission. We’ve got a great mix of talented employees in Bend, Portland and Vancouver, WA.

EDCO: Who is your ideal client? 

Peter: Pinnacle specializes in affordable housing, community healthcare, behavioral health, senior living, and public service (i.e., government buildings, community centers, etc.) projects. We do our best work when our client’s mission aligns with ours – enhancing lives and communities. For example, we’ve partnered with Housing Works for nearly 20 years and provided more than 500 affordable housing units to the tri-county area. Earlier this year, our team worked with Deschutes County to create the area’s first Stabilization Center to help those experiencing a mental crisis get help instead of being sent to jail or the emergency department.

EDCO: What are the benefits of having a business in Central Oregon?

Peter: Bend is my home. I grew up here and have extended family throughout Central Oregon. When starting the business 30 years ago, various resources helped me start and grow the firm, including COCC, Bend Chamber, Central Oregon Builders Association, and EDCO. Our location has allowed us to work across Oregon and, with easy flights out of Redmond, expanded into Arizona, California, the Carolinas, Massachusetts, and Montana.

EDCO: Do you have a recent development you’d like to share?

Peter: I’m pretty excited about a new project that recently broke ground in Redmond called Midtown Place on the corner of 5th Street & Greenwood. It’s a 47-unit workforce housing project developed by Housing Works as part of the City’s Mid-Town Plan. It took a lot of collaboration and community engagement to make it happen, and it’s going to transform that area and meet a housing need!

EDCO: How have you been affected by the pandemic and what have you learned?

Peter: We keep a balance of private and publicly funded work to respond to the economy’s ebbs and flows. When the economy is good we typically see more private work and during recessions we historically do more public work. The unforeseen impacts of COVID affected both client types equally, causing a significant shock to our business. $1m worth of projects went on hold in a few short weeks when COVID came to Oregon. Our healthcare, non-profit and senior living clients were focused on COVID response. We’re just starting to see an uptick in clients moving forward, including some essential healthcare projects using CARES funding.

This pandemic has reminded me of the importance of being flexible and always having a Plan B and Plan C. My team has done a fantastic job supporting me and the business – from adjusting to remote working and changing workload demands to thinking critically about how our designs must adapt. Luckily, we had remote workers before the pandemic, so our team was already comfortable using video conferencing. Now, most of our clients and project partners are too, although we miss the connections you can only make in person!

EDCO: Have you worked on any COVID 19 related initiatives to support neighbors and the community?

Peter: Helping communities is our mission. In March, our team organized a letter-writing campaign for Cascades of Bend Senior Living. On top of COVID, Cascades of Bend was undergoing a renovation we designed. Our team and their family and neighbors wrote over 100 letters to the staff and residents to bring a little joy during an uncertain time. Team members have volunteered at NeighborImpact packing food boxes, donated to Red Cross in a staff fundraising campaign, and are currently doing a food drive and warm weather clothing collection for the Shepherd’s House warming shelter. Both NeighborImpact and Shepherd’s House are clients.

EDCO: How do you support EDCO and why?

Peter: Pinnacle is an EDCO member because we feel their work is vital to shaping how our community grows. During the last recession, Central Oregon was hit hard. Because of EDCO’s focus on helping diversify our area’s industry, drawing a mix of business and workforce to Central Oregon, I feel our community will recover better.

Kernutt Stokes: Oregon CPA Firm Grows in Central Oregon While Celebrating 75 Years

Kernutt Stokes

Bend, Ore. – December 15, 2020: Celebrating 75 years, Kernutt Stokes is the sixth-largest CPA firm in Oregon with offices in Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, and Lake Oswego. Priding itself on the longevity of its team, the firm is comprised of 12 partners, 65+ CPAs, and 90+ staff.

Kernutt became a part of the Central Oregon community two years ago when it acquired Spectrum. Today, the Bend office has a team of six serving a variety of accounting and consulting services. We spoke with Amy Delaney, Kernutt Stoke’s Marketing & Business Development Manager, to learn more about the firm, the Bend office, the impact of the pandemic on them and their clients, how they’ve pivoted and more.

EDCO: Tell us more about Kernutt Stokes and the services you provide.

Amy: We provide strategic and personalized accounting, tax and consulting services to businesses in Oregon and strive to help our clients become more profitable, competitive, and successful. We do this by focusing on our core values: people come first, integrity is key, and excellence is expected.

EDCO: Who’s your ideal client?

We work with a range of businesses including local, multi-generational and family-owned, women-owned, private, individuals, and more with a variety of consulting and tax needs. We can also provide business services such as monthly accounting and fractional CFO services, retirement plan administration, and accounting software support. Additionally, we have a deep working knowledge of a number of industries, including construction, medical/dental, beverage, transportation, forest products, and real estate.

EDCO: Why did you choose to have a presence in Central Oregon?

Amy: Central Oregon is growing and the need for experienced assurance, tax and consulting expertise is growing along with the population and we can fill that need with a local, experienced team. As an employer, there are many benefits to having an office in Central Oregon – we can give our staff a variety of locations from which they can work (though most of us are working from home right now), it helps expand our hiring pool and provides additional visibility in this part of the state.

EDCO: How have you and your clients responded to the pandemic?

Amy: We have been affected by COVID 19 in a variety of ways.  We have learned how to adapt and be more flexible than ever! Our offices are closed to the public. We are fortunate in that we already had the technology in place for our staff to work remotely, either from home or from another KS office, so it makes working away from the office seamless. We emphasize the use of secure electronic data delivery both for receiving client data as well as sending client information and are less reliant on paper documents and snail-mail.

As a way to help support our employees, we implemented a technology reimbursement program to help them offset the cost to furnish a home office area while still maintaining their work set-up in our offices. Ultimately, our goal is for staff to return to the office when it is safe to do so in order to cultivate our culture and to strengthen relationships. While we have not experienced a decrease in productivity during this time, we know the importance of in-person relationships with both our staff and clients.

Our clients have been affected as well. Many have experienced a decrease in business while others are doing well. Our quality of service has stayed the same while our technical knowledge has expanded to include small business loan expertise and PPP loan expertise, which has been extremely important for businesses, whether they are already a client or not.

EDCO:  Have you worked on any COVID 19 related initiatives to support neighbors and the community?

Amy: Currently, we have been supporting our staff in a broader sense, including more flexible schedules to allow for homeschooling. As we continue to celebrate our 75th anniversary, we do have some exciting news that we’ll be announcing soon that relates to neighbor and community support. Stay tuned!

EDCO: How do you support EDCO and why?

Amy: We support EDCO by being a member and attending events and hope to expand our partnership as we continue to grow in Central Oregon. We feel EDCO is an important local organization that enables professionals to cultivate relationships and learn about local businesses.

 

Bend Sauce: A Local Family’s Journey into the Chipotle Sauce Industry

Bend, Ore., December 13, 2020 – Family owned and operated, Bend Sauce is a small batch chipotle sauce and seasonings company based in Bend. Handcrafted with organic Chipotle peppers from a family farm in New Mexico and Jacobsen Salt from the Oregon coast, this chipotle sauce delivers a unique balance of flavor and heat for the discerning chili-head.

Hear more about this startup’s journey into the chipotle sauce industry as Craig Rheinhart, Bend Sauce co-owner, shares their store, their community involvement and their connection to EDCO.

EDCO: Tell us your story and how you got your start.

Craig: Our story is simple. Bend Sauce was founded the summer of 2019 in Bend by Nikki, Craig, Talia, and Royce Reinhart out of a family passion and need for quality hot sauce. After years of eating around Bend on our weekend retreats, we grew tired of having to settle for typical watered-down hot sauce. With Chipotle flavor being our family favorite, on Saturday August 10, 2019, we endeavored to make our own. Pulling 20+ hot sauces out of the fridge, we stared at the ingredients in each bottle and immediately decided we would only use all-natural and organic ingredients. Starting with only the finest ingredients from Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Oregon (our first retailer as well) we set out to craft a super-premium organic Chipotle sauce with a thick, smooth seedless constancy that dazzles with every bite of any meal. Think about it.  We should chew our food and not our sauce, right?

In the following weeks, our sauce received universal acclaim from our friends, family and colleagues throughout the state, so we decided to take the next step and test our initial recipe at the Oregon State Food Innovation Center and found we were immediately shelf-stable. Launching our product during Winterfest in Bend in February 2020 we were delighted to deliver on our simple promise to bring only the best products to market. Bend Sauce does just that.

This summer we brought on a full-time high school student (and nationally recognized piano virtuoso) Maxwell Friedman as our first entrepreneurial intern to round out the Bend Sauce team as we know it today.

What started as a simple hot sauce has now been adopted by the chef and grill communities all over the world. We get notes all the time from chefs about how Bend Sauce has become a “secret ingredient” and posts from grill masters and pit bosses around the world with creative recipes using our products on social media almost daily.

EDCO: Where can we find your product today? 

Craig: Locally you can buy our products at Newport Avenue Market, Market of Choice, CE Lovejoys, West Coast Provisions, Primal Cuts Market, Savory Spice, Prineville Produce, Oliver Lemons, Black Butte Ranch Store, and Central Oregon Locavore.  We are online and in stores in California and throughout the Portland area.

EDCO: Why operate your business in Central Oregon?

Craig: Central Oregon is a unique place with friendly people and an abundance of expertise, including makers in the food-related business. The comradery here and throughout Oregon is exceptional and we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

EDCO: What makes Bend Sauce unique?

Craig: Bend Sauce is unique in its quality of ingredients, it is smooth and rich versus runny, and our flavor, smoke and heat give us a unique position as both an everyday hot sauce and that secret ingredient for what you choose to create at the grill or in the kitchen. We only make one sauce and plan to keep it that way.

EDCO: How has the pandemic affected your business? 

Craig: Covid-19 hasn’t changed much for us except that we can’t offer tastings and demos of our sauce which has likely impacted our in-store sales. That pales in comparison to the hardship of others in our ecosystem. The biggest impact has been on our wholesale customers – grocery, specialty retailers, restaurants, and food carts. We measure our success by the success of our customers, and we are doing all we can to support them and enhance the hard work these key stakeholders are doing.

With all the change and variable pain, there has been so much good that has come out of the circumstances surrounding the pandemic.  For us, a sense of community and shared experience in Central Oregon has been a blessing as we all navigate these unique times together.  New and old friends in Oregon, nationally and globally are now closer to us through this event. The love of family, friends and business relationships is palpable.

EDCO: Have you worked on any COVID-19 related initiatives to support neighbors and the community?

Craig: Yes, when COVID 19 hit we immediately pivoted from selling to restaurants to giving them Bend Sauce at no cost and doing all we can to support the community in other ways, including through SOS Bend. Our tagline is BEND SAUCE LOVE HERE.  We want to demonstrate that through our actions as well as our sauce.

EDCO: How do you support EDCO and why?

Craig: First, we are a member because of the great work EDCO does in helping support, expand and recruit business opportunities for Central Oregon.

Second, EDCO has always been a part of our world.  From PubTalks, to the initial call Craig made to EDCO regarding Bend Sauce and our hope to be introduced to Food Cluster members here in Central Oregon, to Craig and Royce attending the Bend Venture Conference, and coordination with EDCO regarding business recruitment and technology industry activities. Craig and Royce’s day jobs in commercial real estate first brought the family to Central Oregon in 1995 on business matters when Craig helped Tektronix kick off the Old Mill District with Bill Smith.

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If you would like to surprise your customers and/or your employees with a special Bend Sauce gift view their corporate gift program.