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|Archives - July 2009|
|Tuesday, June 23, 2009|
The $21 million Beaverton foods empire was founded on Mama's smarts, and her descendants are not resting on their hot and honey mustards.
By Ben Jacklet/Photos by Stephen FunkIn 1929, the year the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began, Rose Biggi began grinding and bottling homegrown horseradish in husband Lui’s wine cellar in Beaverton.
The Biggis were Italian immigrants who came to Oregon for opportunity. They bought 14 acres for $3,500, baked their own bread, milked their own cows and canned their own fruits and vegetables. Their farmhouse had no running water. Their cash crop was horseradish.
Her production equipment consisted of a grinder made for Parmesan cheese. She sold her product for 10 cents a bottle. Her first employee was Esther Troupe, who started as a babysitter at 15 cents an hour, got bumped to 25 cents for helping with the business, and ended up working for the family for 63 years.
Rose died in 1995 at age 90, but her spirit lives on at the 80,000-square-foot headquarters of Beaverton Foods at the edge of the urban growth boundary in Hillsboro. There the 72-employee, $21 million company churns out 150 different condiments under a variety of labels including Beaver, Inglehoffer and Old Spice. Her son, 81-year-old Gene Biggi, who led the company’s foray into mustard, serves as president. Rose’s photograph is posted near the entrance to Beaverton Foods, along with a quote from her that sums up her attitude: “God grant us health and energy, and we’ll do the rest.”
In addition to the 150 condiments Beaverton Foods creates, it also processes sauces and marinades for other companies using their recipes, most notably the “secret sauce” used at Bob’s Burger Express restaurants throughout Oregon. The company has also developed profitable partnerships with food producers such as HoneyBaked Ham, which are often sold with Beaver brand sweet champagne mustard.
Friday, March 21, 2014
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During a recent talk to HR Directors, I asked if they saw leaders trying to solve every problem, instead of delegating to and empowering staff. Every head nodded. Every single one.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
The founder of Pacific Foods talks about why his company has flown under the radar in Oregon, how saving a family-run chicken hatchery has helped his bottom line and why he thinks organic food is anything but elitist.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
BY MARK BLAINE | OB BLOGGER
The publisher of the Emerald Media Group moves on, leaving a cutting edge media group that depends on business acumen for its survival.
Friday, April 04, 2014
BY ERIC FRUITS
The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?
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BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
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