News

Exports in Central Washington

Posted on Aug 20, 2015

Worm dirt created by a local business being exportedIf you can dream it up, odds are you can probably export it.

Worm dirt, bagels, dried fruit, exercise equipment, and specialty popcorn. What do these very different products all have in common?

Worm dirt, or worm castings, are a natural fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals. It is made through a lengthy process in which earthworms consume organic material and make worm dirt as a byproduct.

Bagels are one of the few bread products, along with donuts, to have entire franchises devoted solely to selling them. Although popularity peaked in the mid 1990’s there are still well over a thousand bagel shops in operation across the US today.

Dried fruit has been around for thousands of years and is a way to increase the shelf life of perishable fruits while still maintaining taste and nutrition. Today, Americans annually consume tens of millions of packages of dried fruits of all varieties each year. 

Commercial grade exercise equipment is designed and developed over many years. It is a painstaking process to get the equipment to the exact specifications needed to meet the training requirements of professional athletes and sports teams.

Specialty popcorn or gourmet popcorn comes in dozens of varieties. Most of us are familiar with the big metal tins that come out around Christmas that have two or three different flavors separated by a paper divider.

While popcorn, exercise machines, fruit, dirt and bagels are all very different things, they do have a unifying theme. Two themes actually. The first is that they are all products made by Central Washington companies and the second is that they are all items being exported internationally.

It turns out that just about every product, and even most services, can be exported.

For every North American with middle class buying power there are five people beyond our borders that have the same buying power.

Exported dried fruit from Grant CountyWith a reputation for safe food, quality products, and innovative thinking; the world looks to the USA for just about anything that can be grown, processed or manufactured. The demand for American quality is so great that it is financial profitable, to ship pre-cooked bagels, and already popped popcorn to the other side of the world as opposed to making it there. The same is true for some kinds of dirt.

If you have ever thought that what your business does is not exportable, or that it is too small to export you may want to give it another look. Ninety-eight percent of all firms that export are small businesses and they account for thirty-three percent of all exporting value.

Everyone knows about the big exports like Boeing airplanes, Caterpillar machinery, and agricultural commodities. What is lesser known is that with very few exceptions almost all small businesses have an established export market at some level.

Some of the more obscure markets are for things we don’t typically think of such as; art, antiques, soap, handmade crafts, consulting services, jewelry, signs, dolls, custom woodwork, walking sticks, and hair.

Yes, even the hair on your head is an export item.