West Linn consults local businesses in economic development efforts
City creates LinkedIn group for local businesses
The West Linn City Council and staff have been holding meetings with local business owners to determine ways that the city can help local businesses grow and be more successful. Most recently, City Councilor Jenni Tan and Economic Development Director Chris Kerr met with Miffy Jones of Miffys Foods (Miffys Marvelous Muffin Mix), a home-based business in West Linn.
Just a few months ago, Miffy and her company completed a highly successful first year in business, and there are plans to scale up production and distribution in the coming year.
Originally from Australia, Miffy moved to the United States in 1995. She inherited her mothers gift for baking and has experimented with various forms of the Marvelous Muffin Mix for nearly 20 years. With a busy life that necessitated creative efficiency, Miffy began making several batches of the dry mix at a time so that she could store the extra and quickly make muffins in the morning before work.
She shared her muffins with friends and co-workers, who raved, but when they asked for the recipe, Miffy gave them a mix instead.
After some clear initial success, and at the urging of her husband, Miffy finally parlayed her passion into a business in April 2012. Miffys Marvelous Muffin Mix sold 3,000 mixes in the first eight months of business, which at 48 mini-muffins per mix, is 144,000 muffins.
She prides herself on the fact that her muffin mix is made from all organic whole grains, including local Bobs Red Mill whole wheat flour, oats and oat bran. Her recent addition of gluten-free mixes is proving to be just as successful, as are her wholesale orders for cafés and restaurants in both 10-pound and 20-pound containers. Bakers simply add their own egg, milk, oil and choice of fruit to create their own familys favorite flavor combination.
As with many home-based businesses, as Miffy becomes more and more successful, she faces some practical issues that have to be overcome. In her case, the space constraints and time necessary to operate a burgeoning business out of her house have made it difficult to commit to large-scale orders. Currently she can produce 112 muffin mixes per day from her home. However, Miffy is in talks with a co-packer in Vancouver, a relationship that could substantially increase her capacity and allow her to meet increased demand. With this in mind, her company is reviewing its branding and preparing to expand.
Miffy proposed a number of ideas to Tan and Kerr, many of which align with the citys economic development department action items.
Were glad to hear that were on the right track and offering services that local businesses really want and need, said Tan.
Miffy testified that local business owners could benefit from an online business directory, hosted on the citys website, which would offer contact information and a direct link to the websites of licensed businesses. She also suggested that the city create a space online or in a newsletter to highlight individual West Linn businesses, and in return the business could donate products or services to community events, gaining further recognition. Finally, Miffy requested that the city consider creating an online platform, such as a Facebook page, through which local businesses can share information and ideas, promote events and support each other.
Miffys Marvelous Muffin Mix is just another example of a successful homegrown West Linn business. Its vital that our city creates and maintains a business-friendly climate that is supportive of her business and others like it, Kerr said.
The West Linn Economic Development Department currently hosts an online business directory; however it does not display business websites. Future business license renewal forms will request that business owners provide a Web address for the purpose of providing this service.
The city has also recently created a LinkedIn group called the West Linn Business Exchange to provide a forum for local business owners to enhance connections and promote economic vitality in West Linn. Those interested can join by signing in with their LinkedIn account, searching for the group West Linn Business Exchange and requesting membership. The group is open to all.
These outreach visits and the conversations they generate are valuable tools for the citys economic development department. If you operate a business in West Linn and have ideas to share about the city councils goal to reduce regulatory and financial barriers, you may visit the citys online survey at westlinnideas.com to share your thoughts.
Find out more about Miffys Marvelous Muffin Mix by visiting miffysfoods.com and the companys Facebook page, MiffysMarvelousMuffinMix. Miffy offers free local West Linn deliveries for orders of four mixes or more and can be contacted at email@example.com.Add a comment