The Ground Floor

bellhardware.com

The official name is still "Bell Hardware," but it's not the kind of business where you go buy a screwdriver. 

This third-generation business is now focused primarily on doors and frames and other components of getting people into commercial buildings... or keeping them out. 

John Bell is the grandson of the company founder, and Bell Hardware, still based in Klamath Falls, has outlets from Portland to Redding. 

garywest.com

Things are humming these days at Gary West Meats in Jacksonville. 

It is a true "fourth-quarter" business, making most of its sales and money around Christmas. 

Gary West himself is out of the picture now, but his daughter Whitney Murdoch and her husband Paul keep the business going, providing all manner of meats to happy carnivores. 

We learn more about the business in our monthly chat with entrepreneurs and their followers, The Ground Floor. 

darex.com

Every place where people work started with an idea.  And the people who come up with ideas about businesses are studied and lauded in our society. 

We begin a new regular feature on The Exchange, "The Ground Floor," visiting with entrepreneurs in our region about how they got started and how they overcame obstacles. 

Up first: Matthew Bernard, the current CEO of Darex, the Ashland-based maker of sharpening equipment.  He is the fourth generation involved in the running of the company.