Meet Your Business Neighbor: The Refinery


Interviewed/Compiled by BBA Volunteers Jason Zwick & Susan Trabucco

Business Name:  The Refinery
Proprietor:  Ashleigh Kayser
Address:  4803 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213
Phone: 503-975-0964
Hours of Operation:

Mon. – Fri.:  Classes start at 6 am

Saturday:  Classes start at 8:30 am

Sunday:  Closed

What does your business do/sell?

We work with clients to create a fitness plan.  We can help everyone get into or stay in shape, from the couch potato to the elite athlete.  We do a lot of work with injury recovery and kids.  We cater to the needs of our clients.  We are happy when clients are reaching their goals.

Did you purchase this business or start the business?

I started The Refinery in December 2012.  We have been successful from the start and we continue to get better every day.

What inspired you to buy or start it?

While I was raising my four kids, I was a trainer at a small gym.  Being a trainer was a hobby for me.  The gym was moving and I wanted to stay in the area.  I had a vision “I am not going to stop until I get all of NE Portland fit.”  Opening my own place has helped me strive to reach my vision.

When did you open in Beaumont Village, and why?

We opened in Beaumont Village at the end of 2012.  I am here because of the community and neighborhood.  I was at a friend’s house on 47th and I walked to A Children’s Place to look at some books.  I saw this space and knew it would fit my vision.  This location gave me the opportunity to have an open layout without machines.

What makes your business unique?

Our open space and trainers.  We have the right balance of sophistication, warmth and edginess.  We are energetic, extraverted and welcoming.  We are recess for adults.  We do not use machines.  We have ropes, tires, bands, balls and pull-up bars, etc. We have a Quickie Crew group class.  It is every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 – 1:00.  This is for busy people to be able to get in a quick workout and then go back to work. We offer a free 30 minute assessment to find out what trainer would work best with you and to get a baseline.  We don’t just assign you to the next available person.  I know that the correct trainer will help my clients hit their goals.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in your life?

Giving birth to four kids is my proudest accomplishment.  That is what makes me who I am.

Meet Your Business Neighbor: Sand’s Solutions, Inc.

Interviewed/Compiled by BBA Volunteers Jason Zwick & Susan Trabucco

Sand's Solutions 2

Proprietors: Kurt & Donnette Sand and Jerry Catlin (co-owners)
Address: 3420 NE 41st Ave, Portland, OR 97212
Phone: 503-493-2417

1. What does your business do/sell?

We are 3 partners with 54 years of experience that take a holistic approach to our clients’ tax and business consulting needs. We are part therapist, priest and bartender. Our top 6 solutions we can provide for our client’s Financial Problems

1. Taxes – Individual, Business, planning

2. Business Consulting and Strategic Planning

3. Bookkeeping Services

4. Set up and Design of Accounting Systems

5. On-Demand CFO and Controller Services

6. All kinds of Financial Therapy Services

2. Did you purchase this business or start the business?

Kurt and Donnette started the Sand’s Solutions in 2001. Jerry Joined as the 3rd.

3. What inspired you to buy or start it?

We had both worked for large firms and needed a change. We wanted to start a family and by having our own business, this also allowed us to be more involved in the community. As the business grew, we knew that we needed to add another partner. They reached out to Jerry Catlin. Kurt had previously worked with Jerry at Perkins & Company. They also went to school at Michigan State together. Jerry jumped at the opportunity. At the time, Jerry was looking for a new position that allowed him to grow more and gave him flexibility.

4. When did you open in BV, and WHY?

Originally, we had our office in our house while our boys were young. We moved to our location on Fremont in 2012. We have recently moved up! We are now located in the house above Amenity Shoes on 41st of Fremont St. We originally moved and then chose to stay in Beaumont because we love the area. Our kids go to school here. We like the mix of business/residential.

5. What makes your business unique?

We give a downtown level of service with a street level approach. We do care and we want all our clients to do well. We will do site visits so we can help clients on their schedule. We are a one stop shop for clients. We help with Non-Profit, Business and Individual Taxes. We also help with Bookkeeping and Consulting. Our slogan is “reasonable rates…fun people!”

6. What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in your life?

Kurt – When I was in college I took a road trip out West. The car we were in broke. Instead of going home, I purchased another car and continued the trip. Unfortunately, I was in an accident and that car was then unusable. I ended up flying home and landed just in time to attend a Grateful Dead concert. It was a great trip!

Donnette – When Kurt and I were newly married we took a vacation to Niagara Falls and then drove to Toronto, Canada to watch the play, The Lion King in the Arts District. My favorite trip and memory.

Jerry – I moved out to Portland on my bicycle. I had my jeans and more importantly, my Boy Scout handbook. You can accomplish anything with that handbook.

NEWS RELEASE: Hip Hop Into Shops In Beaumont Village Brings Kids Out To Hunt For Treasure


A treasure hunt awaits kids visiting participating businesses in Beaumont Village during its 2nd Annual Hip Hop Into The Shops, April 11-18.

Sponsored by the Beaumont Business Association and participating merchants, Hip Hop Into The Shops gives children an opportunity to explore Beaumont Village.

“Our event was an enormous success last year,” explained Nicole Whitesell, president of the Beaumont Business Association. “We want to make sure families have a chance to visit the entire village, so this year we’ve extended the length of the event.”

A small rabbit will be hiding in each participating business. When children find the rabbit, a reward will be waiting. Families can pick up a map at any participating location. “This is really about having fun and introducing kids and their families to this wonderful business district,” Whitesell said.Hip Hop Into The Shops is sponsored by the Beaumont Business Association and participating merchants.

Nicole Whitesell, President
Beaumont Business Association

Submitted by:
Katie Wilgus, Board Member
Beaumont Business Association

Meet You Business Neighbor: Noho’s Hawaiian Café, With Co-owners Carl Itamura & Noho Marchesi.

Interviewed and Compiled by BBA Volunteers Jason Zwick & Susan Trabucco

Carl from Noho's

What does your business do/sell?

Noho’s offers Hawaiian plate lunches and dinners. The term “plate lunch” comes from the tradition in Hawaii of eating a multi-course lunch (or dinner). Sandwiches were not a typical offering of the Islands. A Hawaiian plate consists of sticky rice, macaroni salad and a main hot item. Hawaiian food is a mixture of the different cultures that call Hawaii home, including Asian cuisine. Main hot items on Noho’s menu include noodles, fish, vegetables, chicken, pork, beef and even Teriyaki.

Did you purchase this business or start the business?

I partnered with Noho Marchesi, owner of Noho’s Hawaiian Café in SE Portland, to open the Fremont Street location in 2011. I partnered with Noho because his restaurants – Clinton Street has been in business for 26 years – are a known entity and the food is already loved. I grew up in Hawaii, so of course I was already familiar with this type of food.

What inspired you to buy or start it?

I spent 35 years in the car business including sales, management. I also owned my own dealership. With the recession in 2008, I was ready to do something different; it was time for a change.

When did you open in BV, and WHY?

We opened on Fremont in 2011. We looked all over the Portland-Metro area for about a year to find a good location. We dealt directly with the building owner, who was great to work with. We settled on Fremont Street because the space was right, and the outside patio space was amazing. Then we looked around the neighborhood and saw that it was a really nice area!

What makes your business unique?

With that question, a Noho’s staffer jumped in to proudly exclaim, “We are fun!” Obviously proud of her workplace, she continued, stating that the patio is amazing, and the décor one-of-a-kind. (Noho’s personal surfboard collection adorns the walls.) Noho’s Hawaiian Café has a full bar, unique for a Hawaiian restaurant. The space allows for weddings and large private parties of up to 100 people.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in your life?

Starting this restaurant. This is a complete change from the car business. I had no restaurant experience before I opened this location. My friends told me I was crazy, but I’m still having fun.

Business Info:

Business Name:  Noho’s Hawaiian Café
Proprietors: Carl Itamura & Noho Marchesi (co-owners)
Address:  4627 NE Fremont St
Phone: 503-445-6646

Hours of Operation:

Monday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. – for Monday Night Football
Tues. – Thurs.:11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday: Noon. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m.

Register Now – Venture Portland Distinguished Districts Training Series Starts 3/12/14

Business District Leaders,

Is your district distinguished? Are you dissecting your district’s data? Want to build a better brand? Has your district budgeted to beautify its boundaries?

Brand new in 2014: Venture Portland’s Distinguished Districts Training Series! Attend one, or all 3, of Venture Portland’s Distinguished Districts trainings this spring. A bargain at any price, these low-cost lunch-time trainings (only $10!) taught by subject matter experts provide easy-to-implement strategies to help your business and business district succeed through asset mapping, brand building and placemaking. Please share this opportunity with others in your district who may be interested!

March 12: Uniquely Urban – Asset Mapping for Business Success
What’s the vacancy rate in your district? Which businesses are doing best and why? How will your district adapt to increasing density? Attend Uniquely Urban to answer these questions and more. Hear from Portland’s planning experts to learn about district-specific data, asset mapping and analysis to better understand your district’s unique advantages and opportunities and make the most of your competitive edge. 12-1:30pm, Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Fountain Room (lower level); $10 (lunch provided)

Tyler Bump, Economic Planner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

April 9: Identity Crisis – Building a Better Brand
Is your business district tired of being known as an acronym? Is confusion around the association’s identity drowning out the district’s distinct nature? Is it time to refresh or redesign your district’s brand? And, what is a brand? Come to Identity Crisis to clarify the brand differences between business districts and the associations that support them. Hear from marketing experts, see case studies and get the resources you need to build a better brand. 12-1:30pm, location TBA; $10 (lunch provided).

May 14: Physical “Fit”ness – Placemaking with Purpose
Are your district banners faded? Do your flower baskets need weeding? Is your district identity inviting? Come to Physical “Fit”ness to learn the ins and outs of place-making through design to define your boundaries with beauty. Find out how to create, budget for and execute plans to unite the look and feel of your district’s distinguishing characteristics and ensure the perfect fit. 12-1:30pm, Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Fountain Room (lower level); $10 (lunch provided).

Register via Paypal today at! Trainings are open to Venture Portland members and their member businesses. Contact me with any questions ( or 503.477.9648).