Thursday, June 14, 2012

indie business collaborations : sharing beers, bathrooms + burritos

Attention entrepreneurs: Many of you have great ideas for new businesses. Some of you even have the wherewithal to navigate the technical, legal and governmental landscapes, and a lot are capable of gathering the funds and support needed to get it all off the ground.

But, plenty of you may run into a few stumbling blocks along the way. There’s the obvious difficulty of finding the perfect, and affordable, space in the ideal neighborhood surrounded by the right businesses. And then there's the matter of the right amenities, products and marketing, among other business challenges.

A host of innovative Portland business people are solving these problems in inventive ways by collaborating with other businesses through space sharing.

Neighborhood Notes has dug up a variety of ways local businesses are sharing spaces and shaving expenses to give the next wave of indie entrepreneurs some fresh ideas on how to collaborate and thrive.

Sharing With Your Neighbors Makes Sense

As you should’ve learned in kindergarten, sharing is a good thing. And for a lot of Portlanders in the food industry, it just makes sense.

For Prost!, a bar that’s driven more by German beer than its food offerings, it was a natural decision for owner Dan Hart to design a restaurant and deck area that would not only coexist but also reinforce the neighboring Mississippi Marketplace cart pod.

“We’ll allow people to bring in cart food, we just want people to drink our beer,” Hart spells out.

As both the bar and the carts came to fruition around the same time, his goal was to create a neighborhood bar and community space. So, why not include the adjacent food vendors?

Taking advantage of the resources at his disposal, Hart established an open door policy with the carts that share the same lot. Although Hart admits that he might sell more food if the agreement didn’t exist, he stresses community and thinks it’s been “mutually beneficial,” plus he relishes the idea that everyone can get exactly what they want and still enjoy a quality German beer—his true focus.

“The whole idea was born out of [the fact that] I didn’t want to eat bratwurst and kraut every day,” Hart says, but he still wanted everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy the patio (and hopefully a beer).

Read about more Portland businesses that are creatively sharing space, amenities, food, and booze on Neighborhood Notes.

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