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WORD ON THE STREET: Copa gets a chance to go to the Bowl

Small business, big exposure: We’ve seen Copa Di Vino become one of The Dalles’ economic success stories, growing from a small, struggling concern, trying to grow their brand in a downtown historic building to an expanding enterprise employing more than 100 workers.

Part of that success, in my humble opinion, has been through their willingness to seize opportunities to get national exposure, from ABC’s “Shark Tank” to USA Today’s business mentoring series.

This week, they are hoping to win some of the primest of prime time advertising space: a 30-second, professionally produced ad to air during the Super Bowl through the Intuit Small Business Challenge. The Martin family, which owns Copa, is asking people to go on their Facebook page and vote for the company to move to the next round. Here’s Natasha Martin on the subject:

“Voting ends Sunday, Sept. 15, and people can vote once a day for the business. If we get enough votes, we move to the next round and it starts all over again. The next round of voting lasts from the middle of September through the middle of October, and is narrowed down to the Top 20. From there, Intuit employees will narrow it down to the top four finalists.”

Voting will begin in November fo the top four and then the winner will be announced.

Here’s the link to vote for a hometown success story to get a shot at the big time (you can also find the link on The Dalles Chronicle’s Facebook page):


A ticket to the world: The Martins aren’t the only ones looking for a little online support. The Dalles grad Amy Krol is competing for a job traveling around the world that comes with a healthy $100,000 salary for the online company Jauntaroo.

“The job is more or less to check out vacation spots and blog and post about it,” Krol wrote.

Applicants post a 60-second video on their website about why their the best candidate to be a “Chief World Explorer.” Family, friends and public can like the video once a day until Sept. 15. Then judges pick five people out of the top 50 videos liked for an interview. Krol is aiming for at least 3,500 likes, and could use a little help from her home town.

Find her video online (or click the link on The Chronicle’s Facebook page) at:

Gorge Green Drinks on the farm: Learn how a third generation orchardist family has kept their business thriving in the upper Hood River Valley, with guest speaker from Duckwall packing house in Odell, during Gorge Green Drinks, tonight at 6 p.m., at Cody Orchards Farm Stand, 3475 Graves Road in Hood River.

Tour the orchards and enjoy local food, wine and beer. Bring a shopping bag and boxes to stock up on the seasonal offerings. Cost: Free and open to the public, but a $5 suggested donation is requested from non-GO! members.

The right foot: I’d wager more than a few readers have pondered the prospect of starting a new business capitalizing on the skills you’ve developed over full career — or just because you have a passion for the industry. But it takes more than just expertise in a field to make a successful business. It also requires skills in business planning, marketing, office and accounting skills, and more — or the means to hire those services.

The Small Business Development Center at Columbia Gorge Community College has plenty of information to help prospective entrepreneurs get started on the right foot, starting with a free online self-study class in Starting Your Oregon Business. It doesn’t require you to take time away from your day job — or even get dressed (although we would recommend it for any small business owner).

Almost all of the center’s services are free and many are easily accessible on their website at

It’s a good first stopping point on the journey toward a successful business.

Play it safe: From singing restaurant workers to a quirky teacher passionate about lifting techniques, Oregon OSHA has created four videos to educate young workers about common workplace hazards.

The videos can be found on Oregon OSHA's website at and on YouTube.

The videos cover general awareness for teens about speaking up on the job, safe lifting, ladder safety, and restaurant safety. Austin Coburn, a 19-year-old summer intern at Oregon OSHA, created the videos. Coburn was the 2013 winner of the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition's "Speak Up. Work Safe." video contest for his video "Safety: The Musical."


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