In business, tenacity is a hallmark of just about every successful operator. For those that have persevered since March of 2020, that tenacious muscle has been exercised in a way many have not experienced.
A sector that was hit particularly hard in Oregon are those within the restaurant industry. The well-documented challenges of the food, beverage, and hospitality sectors caused some to back away. Others doubled down, like Sassy Onion and its owner Kevin Boyles.
“One of our strategies to mitigate risk is through controlling our cost of place. Our analysis is that the most predictable method to predict this heavy cost is through ownership of the real estate we occupy”. Kevin purchased 3310 Market Street in Salem in the summer of 2021, and since then has become a staple for residents of the area as well as hungry travelers passing by on the Interstate. “The second location has fortified our operations”, says Kevin.
Another mechanism of growth for Sassy Onion has been taking their meals on the road, catering to groups of varying sizes. As their operations in this segment streamlined, the opportunity to cater to the growing refugee population in Oregon’s larger cities from Eugene to Portland. These meals fluctuate from 200 to 1,000 daily, and during this fire season, Sassy Onion will cater 400 dinners nightly to Wasco County firefighters. “It became evident immediately that our kitchens could not meet the need of our dine-in customers and our catering clients”.
The art of the pivot was implemented as the company found temporary solutions when a viable and permanent property came to market right next door to Sassy Onion’s original location on State Street. 1230 State is the former home of Lefty’s Pizza, followed by Shotski’s Pizza. The infrastructure for a full commercial kitchen is in place, although in need of sizable improvements. “Our team toured industrial opportunities, but the costs associated with converting a warehouse into a culinary venture were prohibitive” Kevin recounts.
Upon taking possession on August 3rd, Sassy Onion’s team of contractors and architects are already at work turning the vision into a reality. The existing kitchen will be moved to the back side of the building so that the front can be preserved as an event space for weddings and business meetings. “Being so close to State offices, we receive constant requests for private meeting spaces that we simply have not been able to honor. We are looking forward to providing an off-site meeting option as well as an elegant venue for small to mid-sized weddings and other events”.
The venue is expected to be operational between late Q4 of 2022 or early Q1 of 2023. SVN Advisor Nick Williams represented Sassy Onion.