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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Mo's Chowder, a family business

Mo's Chowder, a family business to cherish

Newport, Oregon: In this episode of the show, we continue our walk down the Main Streets of America to see how one person with a vision has transformed the town where she was born and where she has chosen to stay. Life here is so rich with the intangibles that even her children have returned to this little seaport town and are helping to build the business and family legacy.

Here you find an extraordinary employer-employee partnership.

Our cities and towns are looking more and more alike because big business tends to homogenize. Entrepreneurs diversify. They reach into their soul to find something new. Wherever Cindy McEntee opens a restaurant along the coast of Oregon, she adds uniqueness, personality and charm.  Mo's is an icon on the West Coast, and it is just a chowder house.

But this is also a place where over 200 people (during high season) will generate $3.5 million in annual sales. It is a home away from home. And, it has become a destination eating place. It is Mo's Chowder. And, the person who made her grandmother's "business" a business is Cindy McEntee.

Cindy McEntee came to our attention because she was the state of Oregon's Small Business Person of the Year. Then, when we looked further, we found many more awards and citations. To be selected as the study for a show, a business must come up on everyone's list as being " ... loved by their community and respected within their industry."

We first met Cindy in the White House in June of 2001 when she was named Oregon's Small Business Person of the Year and she was the first runner up for the National Small Business Person of the Year award.

From a little joint on a narrow little street to the big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, we discover how a fisherman's hangout becomes a national treasure.

Be The Affordable Hang Out

1:53 | Play Now | The owner of Mo's doesn't mind that her restaurants are referred to as "dives." She accepts it as a badge of honor.

Make a Product Customers Get Hooked On

1:28 | Play Now | Many people on the coast of Oregon say Mo's makes the best clam chowder in the world.

Turn a Problem into an Opportunity

1:38 | Play Now | When a customer drove her car across the sidewalk right into the restaurant, Cindy's grandmother laughed put a garage door in so she could drive in any time.

Implement Cost Accounting

2:05 | Play Now | Cindy McEntee turned her grandmother's hobby into a real business by asking how much they were paying for clams. Mo didn't know and apparently didn't care. 

Pass Ownership Formally

1:51 | Play Now | Mo wanted to officially make Cindy an owner. To do that, she changed her legal form of business from a sole proprietorship to a corporation. Cindy started buying stock in the company in 1975 through payroll deductions.

Help Employees Accumulate Wealth

3:22 | Play Now | Employees at Mo's have excellent medical benefits and a 401(k) plan.

Find Meaningful Ways to Reward and Recognize Employees

2:21 | Play Now | Cindy had a jeweler design a golden chowder bowl. When an employee reaches her 10-year anniversary she receive the gold charm on a necklace.

Turn a Hobby Into a Business

1:56 | Play Now | Mo's started out in this working fishing port as a hang out for fishermen.  The founder loved serving up chowder and even feed people who couldn't pay.

Start Your Children at the Bottom

4:13 | Play Now | The owner's daughter, Gabrielle, started at Mo's as a dishwasher when she was 12 years old.

Invest in Labor-Saving Equipment

1:01 | Play Now | At the Chowder Factory, Dylan McEntee, uses sophisticated equipment to minimize labor costs and ensure a quality product. The investment in a $70,000 piece of equipment reduced the number of employees from 7 to 3 for the same level of production.

Give Cold Hard Cash to the Community

2:28 | Play Now | The tenets of stewardship, sharing our time, talent and treasure with others, is a fundamental responsibility of all business owners. Each of us has an obligation to give back to the community from which we draw our livelihood.