Sponsored by Oregon Business

Transition time

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012


0912 TransitionTime 05
Above: The majority of Turtle Island's employees work in production. Athos and Tibbott plan to increase production manpower as the company grows. 
Below: Tibbott displays Tofurky's meatless sausages, which are made with outdoor grilling in mind. They are designed to cook so that they do not fall apart on the grill.
//Photos by Sierra Breshears
0912 TransitionTime 06

Athos is not worried about taking risks, but he does not want to endanger the financial health of the company either. To capitalize on the risks he takes, he plans to rely on his past experience as a scientist, where he has already learned to deal with defeat. He believes he knows how to structure product development so that the company can improve, even when things don’t work out. “You can actually learn something from that failure, and the next one has a better likelihood of success,” Athos says.

Turtle Island is expanding their frozen-food line, which will mean even more head-to-head battles with the Goliath food companies. Currently, Tofurky offers three types of frozen pizzas, which have met with quick success as the No. 2 brand of pizza in the natural food channel. The freezer section of a grocery store is often far larger and more competitive than the refrigerated section, where Turtle Island has already staked their claim. Athos is hoping their loyal customers will see the name and recognize the quality of the brand. “I’d like to think they’re going to follow us wherever we go with these new products,” he says.

Tibbott has considered selling before, and he credits Athos with keeping him interested and with helping the company move forward as an independent entity. With Tibbott’s marketable story tied tightly to the identity of the brand, Athos has focused his efforts on setting up a systemic internal structure with the staff and in the product- development chain to help sustain the company once the founder moves on. For now, they both share a competitiveness that keeps them motivated.

“I like the thought of taking on these big -name companies with billions of dollars of assets behind them and beating them at that game,” Athos says.

“Plus, it’s more fun to be David than Goliath,” adds Tibbott. “Who wants to be Goliath? There’s no fun in that.”

Matt Werbach is a journalist based in Hood River. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


More Articles

Reader Input: School Choice

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?


Adjusting to the New Economy

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A conversation with Jonathan Bennett, managing partner at law firm Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue.


Living the dream

Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Big Trouble in China?

Guest Blog
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
0818-wellmanthumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Earlier this month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced they were going to devalue their currency, the Renminbi. While the amount of the targeted change was to be roughly 2 percent, investors read a lot more into the move. The Renminbi had been gradually appreciating against the U.S. dollar (see chart) as to attempt to alleviate concerns of being labeled a currency manipulator.


Counterpoint: CLT not as green as people think

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
photo-flickr-glasseyes viewthymbBY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED

The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.


One Tough Mayor

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Betty Roppe steers Prineville into the future.


Down on the Bayou

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A Power Lunch at Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails in Bend.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02