Dogged determination: When the going gets tough, teens start their own business

July 2010 Posted in Business

By Dixon BledsoeRhett Martin and Sierra Druley have launched The Dog House between Bobbie the Wonder Dog’s dog house and Silverton Coffee Station, on South Water Street.

Inspiration and innovation – and perhaps a little desperation – have turned one group of Silverton teens into business entrepreneurs.

The team has opened The Dog House at 206 S. Water St., – the old attendant’s station next to the tribute to Bobbie, The Wonder Dog. The menu is dog-themed of course.

The business owners are the Martin brothers – Rhett, 18, Lane, 15, and Cort, 14,  – along with friend, Sierra Druley, 18.

Sierra explained that she and Rhett had applied for “dozens of jobs and weren’t getting hired,” so they decided to use an idea Rhett’s mother, Christy Martin, had previously considered as an adjunct to the Silverton Coffee Station, which she and her husband, own.

“We thought it would be fun to do something during the summer like this, when the weather is good and people are in the mood for easy outdoor food,” Rhett said.

The Dog House is open fseven days a week during lunch hours and longer on weekends and special events.
The kids had a little help getting started, but now they’re on their own.

“Christy provided us with our first set of supplies, but we used a lot of our own money for making signs, curtains, flyers, etc.,” Sierra said.

The Dog House
206 S. Water St.
Next to Silverton Coffee Station
503-873-0731
Open daily for lunch,
later for special occasions

She said she enjoys “having flexibility and room to be creative. It’s fun to see our ideas in action.” Already taking a realistic view of business she noted that the worst aspect is “Inconsistency. We never know how much we will make from day to day – especially since our particular business is so dependent on the weather.”

The Dachshund, the Great Dane, The Labrador, and The Burnin’ Bulldog are on the menu, and range from $1 for the Dachshund (100 percent beef frank on a bun) to the Burnin’ Bulldog at $2 – a spicy-hot link sausage on a bun. The Great Dane and Labrador are quarter-pounders – the former a beef Polish sausage on a sandwich roll, and the latter a beef frank on the sandwich roll. Chili can be added to any dog for $1, and all dogs come with the option of onions, relish, ketchup, mustard, and cheese.

When asked which is the best seller Sierra said, “The Dachshund – our $1 hot dog. But the best value is our Double Dog Deal, which includes two Dachshunds, chips and a soda for $3.”

“During the course of the summer we want to put out a product that people enjoy and remember, while maintaining good customer service and increasing our profit margin,” Sierra said.

Sierra said she and Rhett are going away to college in the fall “so we’d like to put away some money toward our education.”

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