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|Articles - May 2012|
|Monday, April 23, 2012|
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Both the North Williams and Schoolhouse cafés got under way after the developers asked Johnson to locate in their buildings.
And those unintimidating baristas? Johnson hires employees, many of whom receive health insurance, for the long-term; his very first employee now manages the North Williams café. Nurturing a stable work force has helped Ristretto expand even amid a recession and a doubling of coffee prices in recent years, he says. As margins tighten, employees are expected to grow their jobs, implement “operational efficiencies and bring ideas to the table.” Ristretto’s participatory culture extends to the frequent parties Johnson and Rommelmann host for staff; management and employees also take annual trips to the Sandy River. “We hang out together,” Johnson says.
A family-owned business, Ristretto has grown without investors, says Johnson with some pride, a fact he attributes in part to the relatively low cost of starting up a shop in Portland. “It’s been a bit of a crapshoot,” he acknowledges, singling out the decision to open a store on then-undeveloped North Williams as particularly risky. “But look at it now,” says Johnson, referring to the street’s thriving mix of shops, restaurants and housing developments.
In a town crazy for coffee, Ristretto offers the requisite cuppings — coffee tastings — and Johnson takes the sourcing of his coffee beans seriously, making regular visits to Central and South American growers “to relay standards for cup quality.” But unlike a new wave of elite Portland micro-roasters, accessibility, not exclusivity, is Ristretto’s game. Until recently, Beaumont customers could watch Johnson in the café’s glass walled roasting chamber, and Johnson says future growth will continue to be guided by community-oriented partnerships with other local businesses. “I like to keep things where I can see them,” he says, adding he has no plans to expand outside of Portland.
Not that he’s entirely closing off the possibility of following in the footsteps of local forbearer Stumptown Coffee, which opened stores in Manhattan a few years ago. “My wife is from New York,” says Johnson. “You never know.”
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE
A conversation with Majd El-Azma, president and CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, followed by the Healthcare Powerlist.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL
Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
BY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
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