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Home Power lives its philosophy

Magazine will be off the grid

PHOENIX -- Home Power, which bills itself as the hands-on journal of homemade power, may prove that businesses, too, can enjoy energy self-sufficiency.

— — — BUSINESS CARD

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Company name

: Home — Power

Product

: magazine and other — products related to using alternatives sources of energy

Location

: 312 N. — Main St., Phoenix

Phone number

: 512-0201 for — subscriptions; (530) 475-3179 for editorial content

Web site

:

Owners

: Richard and Karen Perez

No. of employees

: 12

Noteable

: The business just — purchased a warehouse and office facility in Phoenix and plans to use — solar power to run much of it. — —

The company bought a 4,800-foot warehouse smack in the middle of Phoenix this summer and plans to begin using solar power to run its candy-colored Macintosh computers and most of the office's other systems.

They'll have the system going by next year, said office manager Myna Wilson, because it's too painful for them to be writing a check to the power company every month.

The magazine's editorial offices -- based in a remote region of Southern Oregon called Agate Flat -- long have been powered by alternative sources of energy. The nearest power pole is six miles away.

Magazine founders Richard and Karen Perez moved to Agate Flat in 1970 and went off-grid, the term used to describe people not plugged in to the network of electrical lines and generators powering most of the country.

They started the magazine in 1987 as a way to share information with other off-gridders.

Editors often work online; one works out of the northern reaches of Washington, while another is a nomad with a recreational vehicle, Richard Perez said. Internet connections and most other communication links occur via a radio phone.

The bi-monthly magazine has been successful as more people turn to alternative energy sources either out of concern for the environment or desire for self-sufficiency. For others, it just makes economic sense.

Renewable energy has become sophisticated, said Wilson. It's not the hippy tech it used to be 30 years ago.

Wilson will run the warehouse and subscription sales portion of the business out of the Phoenix location -- which has served in the past as El Convenio, a farmworker advocacy center, and a motorcycle church.

The place is stacked with thousands of copies of old issues of Home Power, related videos and neatly folded T-shirts with the Home Power logo. The company prints its magazines on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks, Wilson notes.

It has about 71,000 subscribers, most of whom download the magazine from the Internet.

The business's growth over the years pushed the operation from its remote beginnings. Perez said they started storing magazines, which are printed out of state, in storage sheds. At one time they had filled seven sheds.

Then, they started leasing warehouse space. The last building was about 2,400 square feet.

Growing shipping needs made the Phoenix warehouse necessary, said Karen Perez.

Where the magazine is produced, sometimes we get snowed in, she said. We needed to ship orders daily and pick up the mail daily.

They feel like they can stretch and grow in their Phoenix digs. And now the Perezes hope they can live up to the ideals they set in the magazine -- even in a warehouse.

I respect Richard and Karen, Wilson said. Because they walk the talk.