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• In Oregon, the Portland Business Journal reports that iconic local ice cream maker Salt & Straw has just received a $4.2 million investment from the Oregon Venture Fund (OVF), “will fuel some technology advances that will largely help grow the company's direct-to-consumer business and improve experiences for customers and employees across the company. Salt & Straw currently offers home delivery, including through a seasonal pint club that delivers pints on a monthly basis.”

Kim Malek, co-founder of Salt & Straw, says that while bricks-and-mortar is key to the company’s strategy - the company has 19 stores in six West Coast cities - the new funding won’t be used to open any more stores. The focus is on technology and direct-to-consumer.

The goal, according to OVF officials, is to put Portland’s Salty & Straw on a par with Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s.

If they really want to be the Pacific Northwest answer to Ben & Jerry’s, I have to wonder if that means an eventual sale; Ben & Jerry’s, after all, now is owned by Unilever. I hope they stay independent, though, because I think it is healthy for the food business to have small, vital, innovative companies out there. Besides, I love Salt & Straw … it is right up there with Graeter’s at the top of my ice cream food chain.
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