For entrepreneurial minds, the food and beverage industry provides unlimited opportunities to create unique economic development projects. The core is always a distinct manufacturing niche. Potential supportive niches include themed food parks, commercial kitchens, restaurants, retailing, food tourism, and export development. Good examples are:

Columbia River Wine Expo

Washington state is the #2 wine producing state in the United States after California. At the beginning of the Twenty-first Century, the world was taking notice. To take advantage of this opportunity, I produced the Columbia River Wine Expo attracting wine buyers from throughout the world to visit the heart of the industry: Prosser, Tri-Cities, and Walla Walla. The project was immensely successful, eventually turned over to the Washington State Wine Commission.

In-bound Trade Missions

The Cochran Fellowship Program, of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), hires P’Chelle International® to create in-bound trade missions for food and beverage importers from around the world. Past projects have included visitors from China, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam. I am provided visitor profiles, items of interest, dates of the visit and a blank canvas to create successful programs anywhere in the United States.

Blue Mountain Station

P’Chelle International® was hired by the Port of Columbia, Dayton, Washington to create a manufacturing cluster concept. After an extensive in-person, one-on-one survey, comparing the results with industry experts and market trends, Blue Mountain Station, the world’s first Food Park focused on natural and organic food and beverage processing, was presented to the client. The concept was unanimously accepted, providing the basis for significant project funding. P’Chelle International® was retained for project implementation.

FABREO Columbia Basin

Tri-Cities, Washington is located in the heart of the Columbia Basin, one of the most productive agricultural growing and processing regions in the world. The economic development community was interested in knowing what they could do to further develop the existing cluster. The project began with an in-person, one-on-one survey of 71 food and beverage companies. Based on the survey results, the following were recommended:
  1. Develop a Hospitality Program
  2. Develop a Culinary School
  3. Develop a food and beverage training program
  4. Develop a technical skills training program
  5. Produce an event to showcase opportunities
  6. Develop a public relations program
  7. Develop the Strategic Gateway concept, positioning the Columbia Basin as the strategic gateway between America and Asia
All but #2 and #3 have been accomplished.

FABREO Expo

Recommendation #5, in the FABREO Columbia Basin Survey, was to “produce an event to showcase opportunities.” Thus was born the FABREO Expo, a unique, one-of-a-kind trade show featuring “start-up” food and beverage processors from Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Expo provided an opportunity for processors to meet with industry brokers, distributors, retailers and exporters. I had the pleasure of partnering with the departments of agriculture and a number of amazing food and beverage incubator programs in the three states to produce this very successful event.