Growing up on a farm granted Ryan and Shane Stonemetz a firsthand look at the injustices of the industrial-food market. The brothers watched their father and grandfather toil daily to make ends meet and subsequently swore off entering the family business. However, as the pair established their adult lives in Portland and Seattle, they realized that injustices live forever unless someone puts up a fight.
And so began ProFarm Produce, a small farm-to-customer enterprise that lowers prices for shoppers and increases wages for farmers by eliminating the middleman. The company started with nothing more than a 12-foot truck and a bed full of organic cherries, but it has since grown to a fleet of trucks thanks to an extra-potent fertilizer that's safe for automobiles' digestion. The expanding staff transports ProFarm's bounty to 20 area farmers' markets and various wholesale clients. ProFarm also participates in a CSA program that provides weekly boxes of fresh, local produce to participants in surrounding communities.
At the family-owned The Bead Shop , an affable staff equips jewelry-makers with all the tools they need to craft a beaded work of art. The shop’s collection of supplies surprises eyes with its chromatic array of Swarovksi crystals, pearls, and semiprecious beads that visitors can incorporate into necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories. Kazuri beads hand-painted by the tribeswomen of Kenya add an African flair to pieces, while 24-karat gold tila beads mesmerize strangers easily distracted by shiny objects. The staff leads dozens of beading classes each month, as well as more specialized instruction in crafting pieces including crochet necklaces.
It's not every day that online shopping includes as much personal attention as you get from Stoneside Blinds. In most areas, their online-shopping process starts off with a free house call from a designer, who helps clients pick out materials and styles for their window dressing. Once the client has made their choices, the company will send out teams to measure the window frames and, later, install the final product for a flat fee. Their handiwork, and the blinds themselves, are backed by a rigorous guarantee that lets customers change their minds within 30 days and safeguards against defects up to a year later, so customers never have to cover up faulty blinds with a poster of their backyard. The only online part of their signature process, really, is placing the order. Minutes after the order is placed, the team at the production warehouse gets to work making it a reality, whether it's roller shades in a custom fabric, sleek solar shades, or classic wooden blinds.