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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.”
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Tom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
By Kim Moore | OB Editor
The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.
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Vigilant enters a New Year with a new president.
How George Fox has become one of Oregon's largest private universities.
Forest Grove sees growth in the burgeoning food and beverage scene.
Lane Powell Shareholder William T. Patton has been appointed to the board of directors for Cascade AIDS Project, an organization that provides educational services and outreach to thousands of Oregonians living with HIV/AIDS.
Fifty-one Lane Powell lawyers were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (Best Lawyers) 2015; of those selected, 23 lawyers are from the Firm’s office in Portland, Oregon.
Barran Liebman is proud to announce that Andrew Schpak, a Partner of the firm, has been named Chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division for the 2014-2015 bar year.