Outsourcing is overrated. We learned in the 2008 election that small businesses owned by folks like Joe the Plumber are the real heart of the American economy. The last few years have seen a resurgence of products and services coming out of the good ol' US of A, and you might be surprised at just how many of those are coming out of Bend, Oregon. Bend frequently appears as one of the top cities for dog lovers, beer enthusiasts and outdoor recreators. Generally, we live in one of the most envied cities in the nation, called "The City you'll Love to Hate" by the Washington Post last year. Check out some of our successful homegrown businesses that have gone big-time. We know you're jealous, world.
The New York Times is hot on Bachelor's summer riding. Everybody knows we've got one of the finest ski resorts in the nation right in our backyard, but the NY Times takes it a step further, saying we've got one of the finest in the whole darn world. The list features 25 resorts, including the usual powder haunts like Vail, Colorado and Whistler, Canada, but ventures as far as Vallée Blanche in France and the Huaibei Ski Resort, north of Beijing, China, for the finest in global riding. Oregon makes the list three times, but Bachelor is the only resort north of the equator listed for its skiing in July. There aren't many other places in the nation where you can ski on America's birthday! Neener, neener.
Bend carts go big time! Our buddies at Dump City were excited to share that they got a shout-out for their delicious street-grub in the Wall Street Journal. While commending Bend for our beer culture, which they called pure Beervana, WSJ also praised Bend's burgeoning food cart scene. Both The Codfather fish and chips cart and Dump City Dumplings were applauded as curbside eateries to envy on the Journal's "Power Grub in Powder Hubs" list. We've got great beer, and great post-pub munchies, what's not to be jealous of?
It's safe to say that beer is a huge part of Bend's lifeblood. If the rest of the world wasn't already jealous of beer saving our economy and our TWO world's best beer awards, a nearly 10-minute video article by a Korean news network released this fall convinced us that the entire globe is jealous. The video took a tour of all things beer around town, and featured Gary Fish, Eric King, Doug La Placa, Larry Sidor and the Cycle Pub in cameo appearances. Even though we don't understand most of what they said, we're pretty sure it was mostly good.
Thanks to Hydro Flask, we've got the hottest coffee and the coldest beer in the nation. Now that's something to envy, for sure. Hydro Flask took its thermoses to the Coffee Fest trade show in New York City where the 18-ounce wide mouth with the Hydro Flip lid is an entry for the Best New Product Award. The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market awarded Hydro Flask's 64-ounce growler the best in show award, and by our standards, they make the best-and-only insulated growlers around. With fill stations popping up left and right around town (Ray's, Growler Guys, Growler Phil's and more), Bend's got one more beer kitsch that the world can love to hate, and we can continue to just plain love.
From her humble days of selling jewelry straight off her neck in the bars of Juneau, Alaska, Heather Nashelle Straw has rocketed to the stars, fairly literally. People like Kim Kardashian and Chelsea Lately now wear her stuff on a regular basis. Straw's company, Nashelle, which operates out of a workshop on American Lane and now boasts a storefront in the Old Mill, is one of the hottest jewelry companies IN THE WORLD now. The company was just mentioned in Sports Illustrated, Opera and People Style Watch, according to Straw's FB page. They also just got in a new line of dresses. All in a day' work for Straw, who has four boys and participates regularly in good Samaritan deeds around Bend, like getting rocking chairs donated to the pediatric ICU in St. Charles and providing cash to assist cancer patients with their medical bills.
Anyone who's ever spent in time in Bend knows that we're dog-friendly. The Bend-dog phenomenon has not gone unnoticed—last summer Dog Fancy Magazine named Bend "Dog Town USA." Ruff Wear, the Bend-based dog-gear company that's been around since 1990, is a large part of what's behind Central Oregon's burgeoning dog culture. In 2010, Outside magazine listed Ruff Wear among its "50 Best Places to Work," citing the company's flexible hours, company culture, fitness benefits and green initiatives as reasons.
It all comes back to Daniel Keeton's love for Lola Jane. Keeton, the founder of Dawg Grog, just wanted to give his 7-year-old Staffordshire terrier a healthy new treat and so this totally awesome combination of beer wort and low-sodium vegetable broth was born. Since then his brew has gained international media attention—he's gotten calls from South Africa, Colombia, Australia and England. The wort, which is like beer liquid without alcohol in it yet, for the grog comes from overruns at Boneyard Beer ,where Keeton works. It's all "brewed" up in Keeton's garage and sold out of mini-growlers and kegs at a variety of locations in Bend, including Riverside Market, which actually offers a Dawg Grog happy hour. In other crazy news for the fledgling company, the product was just picked up by Point Blank Distributing.
It's no secret that Bendites love The Oxford—the downtown hotel has been awarded Best of Central Oregon awards and also recently won hottest hotel in our annual Lust List. But word has spread far beyond our little town. The hotel just received one of Trip Advisor's coveted Travelers' Choice awards for 2013. That means The Oxford Hotel was ranked in the top 25 hotels in America by Trip Advisor users! The hotel's profile on the website shows it's received the highest possible ratings in 203 out of 227 reviews.
In October 2011, The Washington Post recognized Bend for its robust chamber of commerce in an article headlined "25 Best Cities for Independent Businesses." Yep, our li'l ol' Central Oregon town is right in there with New York City and Austin. According to the article, with more than 1,200 members, Bend's Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest in the Northwest.