Global Logistics Firm Grows By Leaps and Bounds in its Portland Home
UTi Worldwide grew from 14 employees to more than 230 in just 18 months thanks in part to a $250,000 loan from Business Oregon.
Betty Lou Carrier started baking healthy snacks for her own children and then shared them with the rest of the world more than 30 years ago in McMinnville. In November 2012, the highly successful maker of healthy snacks and energy bars opened a second manufacturing facility in McMinnville with help from its longtime partnerBusiness Oregon.
The company will lease the former Richmond Baking plant located in the McMinnville Industrial Park. Betty Lou's, which employs 180 workers, produces organic, vegan and gluten-free nutritional supplements, snacks and fruit bars.
Prior to the acquisition of a new manufacturing plant, Business Oregon provided a forgivable loan of $40,000 through the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund in July 2012 to help it purchase and install new production equipment. That project was expected to add 15 new jobs.
In November 2010, the company received a $50,000 BOOST (Building Opportunities for Oregon Small Business Today) grant from Business Oregon to help defray the costs of adding 21 new employees. The program, begun June 1, 2010, is designed to promote better access to working capital that results in immediate job growth and job retention. Business Oregon provided small businesses both loansfor businesses seeking permanent working capital, and grantsfor businesses that can create new, permanent full-time jobs here in Oregon, under BOOST.
In October, 2008, Betty Lou's Inc., received a $91,875 loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund to implement a complete "lean manufacturing" program designed to increase productivity. That process has successfully cut product development from months to days, increased productivity an estimated 40% and helped the company retain its largest customer.
"Every step of the way, when Betty was making a decision about the next challenge in her company, Business Oregon's team stood by her with resources and technical expertise and helped her make those decisions," Jody Christensen, the Executive Director of the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership testified before a state legislative committee in March 2013.
The efficiency improvements were implemented in conjunction with the company's purchase of a 90,000-square-foot building and a $1.5 million production machine was part of a nearly $6 million expansion project. The loan helped the company retain approximately 75 full-time jobs even during difficult economic times and it to grow to more than 100 employees at the time and with several new products such as protein shakes.
Oregon's smart implementation of federal business financing tools as well as its approach to innovation investment has been nationally recognized as a model for its efficiency and effectiveness.