‘Made in the Gorge’ rolls out ‘Brand initiative’ strives to create three-county force

News staff writer

May 4

The branding initiative known as “Made in the Gorge” is underway.

More than local manufacturers and distributors of local products and services have come together under the program by the Columbia Gorge Economic Development Association.

The CGEDA this spring is launching its Made in the Gorge branding campaign, beginning with public events throughout the Columbia Gorge region in May.

From The Dalles’ Erin Glenn Winery to Stevenson’s Skamania Lodge, from Coyote Manufacturing in the eastern Gorge to Galaxy Manufacturing to the west, and from Hood River’s Full Sail Brewing Company and Windermere/Glenn Taylor Real Estate to Dufur’s Azure Farms, quality is a recognized attribute.

The first “Kickoff Celebrations,” will be on Wednesday, May 11, at Full Sail Brewing Company’s tasting room in downtown Hood River. Additional kickoff events will be held May 12 in The Dalles/Dallesport/Goldendale area at Healthy Habits in downtown The Dalles, and May 13 in Stevenson/Cascade Locks at the Skamania Lodge. Each event begins at 4 p.m. and should wrap-up by 6 p.m. Local leaders plus participating businesses have been invited, and the whole community is welcome.

“What’s unique about the Columbia Gorge is the number of people producing their own products,” said Rains and Associates’ principal Gary Rains.

“From the first time this initiative was presented to me in a focus group, I have been excited about the idea of ‘branding the Gorge.’ We believe ‘it’s about community,’ and this is a perfect way to support the entire region,” said Glenn Taylor, owner/broker of Windermere/Glenn Taylor Real Estate.

“People look up to and admire the Columbia Gorge,” explains Steve Gearhart, owner/president of Coyote Manufacturing in The Dalles, who is an early participant in this CGEDA initiative. “They come here to play, and many want to come here to live. I think consumers will seek out products made in the Gorge,” Gearhart said.

Every company relies on its own marketing efforts, but little has been done to join the Columbia Gorge region together under a single promotion. This Made in the Gorge by the CGEDA is designed to change that.

“The brand ‘Columbia Gorge — Quality. Life. Style.’ is a new paradigm in wealth creation for businesses in the Gorge,” said Humaira Falkenberg, CGEDA marketing director. “The strength of ‘Columbia Gorge — Quality. Life. Style.’ comes from the businesses of the Gorge. Geographically speaking, while the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area includes two states and four counties — Hood River, Wasco, Skamania and Klickitat — it is one region, a region marked by quality innovation, creativity, intellectual and physical fitness.”

“Businesses can sign up to use the free Made in the Gorge Brand by registering at www.cgeda.org,” Falkenberg said. “Once they download the logo, the company can apply it to existing product labels. For instance, Full Sail Brewing Company plans to include the brand on its six-packs, Galaxy Manufacturing will add the mark to its own garment label.”

Early participating businesses include Full Sail Brewing Company, Windermere/Glenn Taylor Real Estate, Coyote Manufacturing, Galaxy Manufacturing, Gorge Gifts, Skamania Lodge, Hood River Hotel, Advanced Navigation and Positioning Corp., Hood River Jewelers, Baldwin Creek Solutions, Nick Rains Photography, Erin Glenn Winery, AD Herb, Meadows Outdoor, Lynn Weyand Photography, The Insitu Group, AeroPrint, The Fruit Company, Azure Standard and Oregon Growers and Shippers.

The CGEDA is an economic cooperative effort of the Columbia Gorge’s five Port districts — Cascade Locks, Stevenson, Klickitat, Hood River and Wasco — along with the economic development agencies in Skamania, Klickitat and Hood River counties, and corporate participation by Sprint. To develop and launch this initiative the CGEDA hired local marketing firm Rains and Associates.

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