Saturday, August 27, 2011

Special Price for You, Pretty Lady

Hendrik Winkel with his bakery cart, 1900.
In his younger years, my great-grandpa Winkel sold baked goods from a horse-drawn cart in Holland, his country of origin. Later, he came to America with his wife and children, settled in Richfield, Utah and opened up a bakery with a proper storefront. Most of his children emerged with a similar entrepreneurial spirit, including Francis Benjamin, my grandfather. Francis left Utah for California in his twenties and, after trying his hand at a few things, also settled into the bakery business. A true entrepreneur usually has his hand in several pies (no pun intended) so it was no surprise that Grandpa went into real estate investment and also opened up a lumber company, one my father eventually took over and ran successfully for many years. I've seen this spirit in my father and in myself, as well (starting up the community garden in our neighborhood was an entrepreneurial endeavor in many ways). And so it came as absolutely no surprise that Oliver Briggs showed up on this planet with an obvious desire to go into business for himself.

Take yesterday, for example. After months of growing and tending heirloom tomato seedlings he planted himself, Oliver finally opened his doors to the public in the form of a simple vegetable stand we set up on the side of a busy road here in Sandy.

Oliver Briggs at his tomato stand, 2011.

"This one is called Striped Cavern," he explained to one customer. "It's hollow inside so it's great for stuffing with rice or cheese."

His tomatoes come in an array of colors, shapes and sizes - Green Sausage, Cherokee Purple, Moonglow, Brandywine and Green Grape, to name a few.

The road to glory hasn't always been smooth. Some of his seedlings bit the dust from disease or a missed watering schedule. He'll be the first to tell you that weeding his plants on a hot July afternoon is not one of his favorite things to do, either. But any seasoned entrepreneur has stories to tell of the low points along the way.

My sense is that his lows were quickly forgotten yesterday as he lined his pockets with dollar bills.

"Why do you work so hard to take care of your plants?" I asked him one day back in April.

"Because I want money," was his simple answer.

Ah, yes. "And because you like a challenge, too," I thought to myself. For most entrepreneurs, the two together are hard to resist.


Joyful Noise said...

So proud!

Court said...

Oh my word. I'd buy that whole basket. That Oliver ROCKS.

You'll be pleased to know I bought my fall tomatoes today.

Kari said...

That is awesome!

Zanzi & Buzz said...

I have a question for you about your meditation, can I pick your brain? rose.bowcut at gmail