Young entrepreneurs: New generation of driven business owners

March 2015 Posted in Business, Other, People

By Brenna Wiegand

They are some of Silverton’s youngest business owners – a group of hardworking, motivated young adults who chose to go after their dreams and make something of their own instead becoming 9-5 employees. Each business owner has an interesting story. Here’s a glace at the  young entrepreneurs and the path they chose to take.

Darleen and Ben Sichley, Abiqua Acres Dairy

Darleen and Ben Sichley, Abiqua Acres Dairy

Abiqua Acres Dairy

In 2008, Darleen, 27, and Ben Sichley, 28, went into partnership with her parents Alan and Barbara Mann at Abiqua Acres Dairy. They live steps from each other and share in the twice daily, 365 days a year milking of at least 90 300-pound Guernsey cows. Darleen is the fourth generation on the land – and they have two boys.

“I didn’t actually think I would end up here,” she said.

“After high school I worked at a coffee shop and some other jobs in town; it made me realize that this is where I want to be.”

“It was a little scary,” Ben Sichley said. “Right when we got into it, the milk prices went down pretty low and the first year we were losing money every day. We had the hay paid for; that’s what saved us.

“As farmers we have no control over our price and once it leaves our farm it’s up to them to market it; the pricing comes from federal order and trickles down to us,” Darleen said. “The price you see in the store has nothing to do with the dairy farmer unless you’re marketing your own.”

They enjoy working as a family, being home with the boys and having lunch together every day with the folks.

“…and we love the cows and meeting other farmers,” Darleen said. “When you’re passionate about something, you’re not really working.”

Future plans include revamping outdated facilities; chances are good they’ll switch to robotic milking.

Kara Grace Cox, kg studio salon

Kara Grace Cox, kg studio salon

kg studio salon

Opening kg studio salon last September was not the original career plan for Kara Grace Cox, now 21.

After caring for her younger sister, diagnosed with brain cancer at age 8, Kara chose to become a pediatric oncology nurse. A high school Health Occupation job shadow proved otherwise.

“I fainted, cried and puked almost every rotation,” she said.

“The girls I worked with at Blondie’s encouraged me to try doing hair. It was a leap of faith in itself but as soon as I got my hands in hair I ended up absolutely loving it. I always thought it sounded artsy fartsy to have a vision of something before it happens.”

She started her business thanks to the internet and a lot of prayer.

“It was nerve wracking and kind of scary. I saw people with businesses crippled by making decisions … then I realized that if you made a wrong decision, everything’s going to be fine.”

She knows some people like the hustle and bustle of a salon, but she wants her place to feel like home – “just me and you. I have a lot of friends that get bonuses, sick days, vacations, insurance. I constantly have to look toward the future and I like to work hard. I have friends who have no idea what they want to do in the next few years. I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’ I have a Plan A, B and C.

“I still have a restlessness and I don’t know why. I am thankful for the salon and the awesome clientele I have but I just feel like there’s something else. One idea is a day spa for kids with cancer.”

Lindsay Henny, Allen Chiropractic Wellness Center

Lindsay Henny, Allen Chiropractic Wellness Center

Allen Chiropractic Wellness Center
Lindsay Henny, 29, became a massage therapist after searching for a natural, holistic way to help people, whether to relax or heal from injury or illness.

“It might take time but it’s usually more of a permanent healing,” Lindsay said. “I wanted a career where I worked with people every day with something that would be a positive part of their day or impact on their life; something with flexibility; that I could take with me wherever I go.

“I could see how much my dad (Chris Allen) helped people with chiropractic, but I didn’t want all that schooling and responsibility,” Lindsay said.

She was licensed in 2007 and began working at her father’s business, Allen Chiropractic Wellness Center.

“I love what I’m doing and there’s a homey atmosphere at the office that I really appreciate,” Lindsay said. “I love working with dad, Alan (Dolinsky, massage therapist) and the ladies in the office and look forward to coming every day.

“One of my favorite things is the variety of clients I have, many who have become friends where we share recipes or gardening or marriage advice.

“I’ve been able to support myself comfortably; it takes time but if it’s something you love and people feel important in your office it’ll all work out in the end,” she said. “And you need to stay rested and healthy; get enough sleep. With some jobs you can kind of fake through it but that’s hard to do with massage.”

Ben Rash, The Gallon House

Ben Rash, The Gallon House

The Gallon House
Ben Rash, 32, and Ryan Gengler, 33, opened Mount Angel’s Bierhaus in 2010; Silverton’s Gallon House Pub in 2013 and just purchased the landmark White Horse Tavern in Molalla. By the time White Horse opens, they’ll have nearly 40 employees.

“It just kind of shows what hard work really does,” Rash said. “You can’t think about failure; you’ve got to get that out of your mind. We just took a leap of faith.”

And did it debt free.

“We did all the work ourselves; our wives had blisters on their hands from scraping tile on the floor.”

They linked themselves with the community, netting Kennedy High School a new PA system for the football field, banners for the gym and golf team uniforms through their annual golf tournament.

“Gallon House is a beer bar with really good food; a family oriented pub before 9 p.m.,” he said. “No one in town’s got 32 beers on tap.”

They’re taming the White Horse into a place where, to sum up, a woman can walk in and feel comfortable.

“It gets crazy – 17-hour days two years straight is a strain on your health; your relationships, but if I wanted to be on easy street I would’ve stayed in Portland,” he said. “We don’t necessarily have the financial stability yet but it’s a lot easier finding time to spend with our families when we can set our own hours.

“And if I see something I don’t like I don’t have to go through three levels of HR.”

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