Success Stories

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

Dr. Matt Hicks had wanted to be a dentist for as long as he can remember. He thinks it may have had something to do with what his Mom told him at a young age; “take care of your teeth or they will fall out of your head.”

Becoming a business owner was not so natural for Matt. After graduating from the Dental program at Oregon Health and Science University in 1997, he went to work for Dr. David Long at Moreland Neighborhood Dental. He happily lived out his dream, working as an associate for the next eight years. But in 2004, Dr. Long laid out the future for him. “I told him, either you buy the practice or you move on,” said Dr. Long. So just like that, Matt began to take over Moreland Neighborhood Dental.

Without any prior business experience, Matt found himself struggling with most aspects of running the practice. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Matt. “It was intimidating, so I did what Dr. Long had done for years and things just went along.” The practice... Read More

The holiday tradition of building and decorating gingerbread houses inspired crafty Mom, Cheryl Albers, to try her hand at making houses from scratch and throwing decorating parties. Immediately, party and gingerbread house requests started coming in from friends and friends of friends. Cheryl had uncovered a demand, where people not only wanted to continue the holiday tradition, but also wanted fresh, homemade gingerbread that wasn’t just edible, but tastes great. “I truly sell fun,” said Cheryl.  “Young, old, who doesn’t love decorating a gingerbread house?”

The demand for the houses sent Cheryl looking for a place to expand beyond her home kitchen and she landed on Main Street in Oregon City. Gingerbread Traditions, Inc. ran operations from there for eight years. Yet the small footprint provided many challenges, including that pallets had to be loaded and stored outside prior to pick up. In a state known for its rainy weather, this proved to be unpractical.

Now, 15... Read More