Q & A WITH LOCAL CHOICE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER SHELLEY GUNTON
What is your background that led you to Local Choice Produce Market?
My husband and I started and sold three different companies, including Castor & Pollux Pet Works, a natural and organic pet food company. Since leaving Castor & Pollux in 2008 I have been immersed in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Portland. I got to know Don and Georganne through a mutual friend who is also their financial advisor, I was asked to take a look at their plan and give them some feedback, and that’s what ultimately led to being part of their advisory board.
What unique perspective do you bring to the board?
I’ve been in their shoes, where I’ve started a company based upon an idea that we were extremely passionate about; in our case it was about bringing the best possible products to dogs and cats. Don and Georganne have a vision that they’re passionate about that they’re starting to build into a brand. I really understand how hard that is and what it takes to turn a vision into a reality, and the challenges you meet along the way. The other piece of it is that I am fairly well connected in the local business community and can bring additional resources or connections to them as they grow their business.
How have you participated in the development of the new market?
I took a look at Don and Georganne’s business plan and gave them feedback, and I was able to act as a sounding board as they were going through the iterations of what Local Choice Produce Market was going to look like. I’ve also helped them work with the city, helped them with connections at Portland State University, and introduced them to some of the folks in the emerging food industry here in Portland.
What’s different and exciting about Local Choice Produce Market that you are looking forward to seeing?
We are a foodie city, a foodie region, and Local Choice Produce Market is an amazing addition to our thriving food culture. What’s unique is that they’re bringing all of the different pieces together in one location, where you can count on their products being local. To me it’s a unique opportunity for both residents and visitors to explore what our area is all about. It’s just an all-in explosion of wonderful taste opportunities that you can’t get anywhere else.
How do you plan to help Local Choice Produce Market with their expansion plans?
With whatever they need. As a member of their advisory board I hope to again be a sounding board, to make connections where appropriate and where needed, to be able to help them continue to refine their strategy and do the bobbing and weaving that is necessary when you’re bringing something entirely new to the marketplace. I hope to help them build the brand and further take that vision and passion that they have and continue to see it grow and thrive.