Success Stories

Geoff Metts, Jeremie Murfin, Johnpaul Simonet, Owners of Five Star Guitars

2016 Oregon Small Business Persons of the Year:

Five Star Guitars

HILLSBORO, Ore.– Step aside food scene. . .  before you made your global footprint, Oregon’s music landscape ruled. And, the owners of Five Star Guitars, the 2016 Small Business Persons of the Year, are doing their part to keep both local and national musicians ready to jam.

Meet Geoff Metts, Jeremie Murfin, and Johnpaul Simonet.

“Our goal has been to create the best place for our customers to shop and for our employees to work,” shared Geoff Metts, who leads Five Star’s business development efforts. Jeremie functions as the team’s CFO, handling bookkeeping and payroll functions, and Johnpaul keeps Five Star operationally aligned with IT and point of sale configurations.

In 2011, Geoff, Jeremie, and Johnpaul were presented with the opportunity to buy the shop that had been in existence since 1998. They knew from experience that they could run the store operationally—but was it a... Read More

Photos or Annabel Ortega de Radillo and her husband Jose, owners of Empower Painting.

When Annabel Ortega de Radillo and her husband Jose decided to start a business, they sought the help of business advisors at the Clackamas College Small Business Development Center SBDC.

Jose’s years of experience in the painting industry gave him knowledge of the operations side of the business, while Annabel brought her military experience managing administrative processes, scheduling, and finances. Even still, they had many questions about how to get started off on the right foot.

Myrna Rattle, the Veteran’s Representative, at the Clackamas SBDC met with Annabel and worked with her through her enrollment in the SBDC’s 16-week Small Business Greenhouse course. This particular course was appealing to Annabel for its affordability, evening schedule, and the comprehensiveness of the training. Well before completing the course, Annabel and Jose were able to launch their business, Empower Painting. Now some years later, Annabel jokes appreciatively that she ‘believes... Read More

Chris and Cindy Reed, Owners of The Grocery Social & Cocktail

You may have heard about their grand opening, or perhaps that they are pouring a delicious cocktail, but have you heard how Chris and Cindy Reed, owners of The Grocery Cocktail & Social, launched the dream of owning their own place?

Like their specialty drink recipes, Chris and Cindy stirred together the right combination of ingredients to present themselves as eligible borrowers. Chris brought to the table over a decade’s worth of restaurant and hospitality industry experience, including having worked his way from sous-chef to general manager of the well-known Screen Door restaurant in Portland. Experience was a great first building block. Chris’ career history gave him the right ideas about operations and management, while Cindy brought to the table her experience as a customer service manager in the banking industry, and as a current Starbucks store manager—but as their pursuit solidified, the Reeds decided they needed to put together a comprehensive business plan.... Read More

Happy with waffle iron content body

Derrick Pruitt, owner of Happy’s Java and Soul Food Shack sells the unheard of – home-cooked meals from a drive-up window. After a near-fatal hit and run accident in 2008, Derrick was told he would never work again. Defying the odds, he built his own innovative and successful coffee, barbecue and soul-food business with his wife, Marcella, in Springfield, Oregon.

Derrick, or Happy as he is more commonly known as, developed his cooking skills and menu from watching his parents cook during childhood.  “Most of these recipes have been in my family for over 100 years,” said Happy. “My specialties include Alabama-style barbecue and smoked meats, soul food dishes, Belgian sweet potato waffles and fresh hand-roasted coffee. “

Happy makes all of his food, sauces and seasonings from scratch and uses state-of-the-art smokers, ovens and imported Belgian waffle irons to help speed up his authentic home-cooked soul food.

Five years ago, Happy was in a life-changing hit and... Read More