There’s been a lot of buzz about Visit Bend’s new campaign encouraging business owners to relocate their lives – and their businesses – to the community.
We’ve heard from tons of business owners considering a move, which doesn’t surprise us much. After all, we’ve got the perfect balance of idyllic lifestyle, natural beauty, and vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. Who wouldn’t want to live and work in Bend?
For those considering a move, it’s reassuring to hear how other businesses have grown and thrived here. There’s no shortage of examples, but here are two worth sharing:
Owner Gary Fish started the company in 1988 with just three beers and a small pub in downtown Bend. Today, Deschutes Brewery is the largest craft brewer in Oregon, and the sixth largest in the United States (from a pool of 1,500!)
Despite the sluggish U.S. economy, sales of Deschutes Brewery beers are up 13% over last year. “We sell our products in 16 western states and our business is growing in all of them,” noted Mark Hegedus, Sales and Marketing Director for Deschutes Brewery.
So what makes Bend the ideal place to operate? “The location, the educated workforce, and the availability of great housing make this area a great place for a business,” Hegedus explained. “For companies doing business in the west, this area offers a better quality of life than most western markets in the U.S.”
Patrick Kruse started Ruff Wear in 1992 as a one-man, one-dog operation out of his home in Southern California creating products for active canines. In 1995, he heard the siren call of Bend and moved his business here.
Today, the company has 21 employees and has grown every year they’ve been operating. Ruff Wear sells their line of performance dog gear in all 50 states and in multiple countries around the world.
Bend offers the perfect location for several aspects of Ruff Wear’s business operations. “We do all of our product testing and product photography here,” noted Susan Strible, Director of Marketing for Ruff Wear. “It’s an excellent place for any business that’s outdoor-oriented.”
And according to Strible, Bend is teeming with resources for the business-minded. There’s The High Desert Enterprise Consortium (a community of independent manufacturing businesses committed to helping each other strengthen their competitive position) and The Advertising Federation of Central Oregon (active for over 20 years in Bend, and part of the American Advertising Federation).
“There’s so much support here from a business standpoint,” Strible noted. “We’ve also found the workforce in Bend to be very talented and very diverse, eager to make a difference in the companies they join.”