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|Articles - July/August 2012|
|Monday, July 09, 2012|
Page 4 of 4
The investment produced quick results: The Pearl District location broke even in three months, the couple says. Poppe pressed Camden to open more locations; Camden admits he’s prone to moving on to new, unrelated projects.
“One of us is the creative idea factory and one of us is the reality check,” says Poppe, who speaks quietly and calls herself a “hard-core introvert.”
“I’m the food systems setup guy,” Camden says. “I come up with ideas and try to bring them to life.”
Even with new Little Big Burgers in development, Camden says he couldn’t resist launching a new project. In May he and Poppe opened Boxer Sushi, a restaurant on SE Hawthorne Boulevard manned by a former Yakuza chef, to tepid reviews. Just as Poppe tempers the idea machine, helping manage and execute details, she may have also been instrumental in subtly helping shift Camden to become more of a behind-the-scenes restaurant owner.
“Personal identities are attached to people, and people are human and make human mistakes,” she says. “If they hear the one littlest bit of gossip and it’s spun out of proportion, and somebody is cast in a bad light, that could take the whole business down.”
Even so, she says it’s been frustrating being the less-identified business partner, especially in the press. “Everybody wants to be recognized and appreciated,” she says.
The couple says they’re planning to be behind-the-scenes owners on another project: Camden’s Catsup, which is currently served only in Little Big Burgers. As the next phase of an ambitious 10-year plan, the duo plans to supply Northwest stores and restaurants with Camden’s Catsup. “I want a NASCAR running around the Daytona 500 with ‘Camden’s’ on it,” he explains, a scenario in which the ketchup would rival Heinz and Hunt’s.
As evidence of his commitment to the condiment, Camden has tattoos of an onion, tomato, some honey and a whisk on his arm. (The rest of the ingredients are pending an appointment with some ink.)
Right now 30,000 bottles of the ketchup are sitting in the warehouse of a California tomato-processing plant, where the recipe was executed on a large scale, as the couple sets up distribution channels.
In a more realized future, Camden and Poppe say they plan to sell the Little Big Burger concept in about five years, after they’ve established a record of consistent profits. While they’ve tinkered with the possibility of expanding outside Oregon, they now plan to keep all restaurants in state.
“Every restaurateur wants to have a shot doing something like that,” Kurt Huffman says. “You put all the things you know about business into a package, grow it and see if you can’t sell it.”
In the meantime, as Camden talks about opening a Chinese restaurant, the ultimate success of Little Big Burger may hinge on the execution of the smart, existing model. Even the idea man understands that reality.
“Hey,” says Camden to an employee who’s sweeping the floor at the Division Street Little Big Burger. “We have a vacuum and it works great. Use it.”
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR
Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.
Friday, July 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”
Monday, June 16, 2014
The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
BY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.
Friday, June 06, 2014
BY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
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