|Feb 26, 2014 --
Kim Brigham Campbell and her family harvest and sell salmon, steelhead, and other fish from the Columbia River, just as they and many other local Native American families have for generations. Until recently, they operated the business from home, relying on word of mouth to sell to a variety of individual and food service buyers who know them as providers of a quality product.
As much an entrepreneur at heart as a fisher, Kim decided to open a retail operation to increase their marketing potential. Brigham Fish Market, which opened its doors to the public in February, is located in Cascade Locks, Oregon, on the Columbia River and within view of the family’s traditional fishing sites. The new single-story facility includes cold storage, a smoker and packaging space as well as an attractive retail area.
To identify and secure financing, Kim contacted the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD), an economic development agency focused on the specific business development and job creation needs in a five-county region of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to providing technical assistance, MCEDD helped marshal USDA financing support for the project.
USDA Rural Development, through its Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), provides seed capital to revolving loan funds operated by qualified nonprofits and public bodies. Known as intermediaries, these lenders, in turn, finance small and emerging businesses and community development projects in rural areas. As one of 14 USDA intermediary lenders in Oregon, MCEDD re-lends Rural Development IRP loan funds for local projects. With the USDA capital, MCEDD was able to finance a portion of land and construction costs for the new market.
At full capacity, the retail operation will add the equivalent of four full-time jobs to this small community of less than 1,200.
“It’s very much a family business,” Kim said, explaining how her family has been working alongside her to get the shop up and running and helping with the store when she is on the river.
Brigham Fish Market offers fresh, frozen, canned and smoked Columbia River fish, as well as seafood from the Oregon coast and a small array of local Native American arts and crafts. During tourist season, the shop will be a unique stop for the thousands of people who visit the Columbia River Gorge every day to enjoy the region’s scenery, trails and cultural heritage. In addition to attracting visitor traffic, the market will provide a base for online sales shipped to customers across the country and a regular storefront presence for doing business with year-round commercial customers. Even before the storefront opened, Kim started getting calls from restaurants looking for a consistent, reliable source for local fish with a personal touch.
“People like to see a face and know where their food came from,” Kim explained and gestured toward the river behind the shop. “I can tell customers that I caught this fish last night right out there.”
Program: Intermediary Relending Program
Investment: $150,000 loan
Congressional District: Congressman Greg Walden, District 2
Partners: Mid-Columbia Economic Development District
Demographics: Hood River County, Oregon
· Retail and distribution of local, sustainable fish
· Enhanced local tourism
· Four new jobs