At 50, Legendary Beau Jo’s to Develop into Worker-Owned

At a current VIP-packed celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs, Colorado, proprietor Chip Bair made a surprising announcement: He was strolling away. Promoting out.

The date was April 1—April Idiot’s Day. It may have been a prank. However Bair was critical. Luckily, there was a twist: He wasn’t promoting Beau Jo’s to some large restaurant administration firm and even to a different restaurateur with deep pockets.

“I’d like to inform everybody I’m promoting Beau Jo’s,” Bair stated to the group, which included the mayor, a U.S. congressman and a bevy of county and metropolis leaders, in accordance with the Colorado Solar. “It’s the workers who made us, they usually’re those who’re going to proceed to make us.”

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In different phrases, Bair was promoting Beau Jo’s—which has six places and a meals truck—to his personal employees with an Worker Inventory Possibility Plan.

Colorado’s Clear Creek County has seen laborious occasions, most not too long ago with the approaching closure of a mine that already laid off 200 staff in 2015. In keeping with the Colorado Solar, Beau Jo’s is “one of many bigger personal employers within the county.” It has weathered financial downturns and attracted crowds of skiers and different outdoorsy varieties for many years, whilst different main companies locally have closed down.

Beau Jo’s / Fb

As PMQ has beforehand reported, Beau Jo’s can also be residence to one of many nation’s distinctive—if lesser identified—pizza kinds: the Colorado-style pie or mountain pie, invented by Bair after he bought the unique Beau Jo’s location for $8,500 in 1973. Offered by the pound, Beau Jo’s signature pizza is available in outsized slices with a thicker crust that’s braided and sweetened with honey. Piled with a “mountain” of toppings, it’s baked in a wood-fired oven in about 10 minutes, yielding a crispy crust whereas the surface braiding stays smooth and chewy. For a “built-in dessert,” prospects can dip the crust in additional honey or different sauces.

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Bair additionally capitalized on Colorado’s Outdated West attract by creating a colourful imaginary character named Pete ZaPigh. The story goes that Pete, a mountain man of yore, disappeared in an deserted mine shaft and re-emerged two years later with the recipe for Colorado-style pizza. Tragically, only a few months later, he was trampled to dying by a woolly mammoth.

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As Bair started eyeing retirement 4 years in the past, he needed to ensure Beau Jo’s saved thriving and that his workers held onto their jobs. The Worker Inventory Possibility Plan, being developed by Praxis Consulting Group, ensures that Beau Jo’s loyal staff will personal shares of the enterprise and have a say in its future.

“You already know, once I obtained into this enterprise, we knew we had one thing good,” Bair instructed the Colorado Solar. “We may have executed an entire lot extra over time, I assume, however I’m not that organized. I believe we’ve executed fairly good. And the workers actually ought to get credit score for that. That’s the most important driver right here. Now we’ll begin educating the workers what it means to be an proprietor…and hopefully that creates an environment within the restaurant for satisfaction, inclusion and other people working collectively.”