Rudy and Debbie Dory, founders of Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Ore., received the Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. With a focus on healthy eating along with a sense of humor, the Dorys’ single-store, employee-owned operation epitomizes this award for grocery innovators. TGR recently featured Newport Avenue Market.
“Rudy and Debbie are as colorful as the vision they have for their community, and they have kept their shoppers in Bend, Oregon, guessing since 1991. They are a small operation, but mighty in spirit, and they embolden their industry peers to push boundaries and delight consumers in inventive ways,” said Leslie Sarasin, FMI president and CEO. “I would argue that the store’s creative appeal stems from Debbie’s professional background as a florist, and the Dorys' double-digit growth for five of the last six years could be attributed to the store’s diverse mix of specialty food offerings, housewares and a hands-on approach to delivering fresh products to the consumer.”
The store is hyper-focused on local products, with more than 200 artisanal items and has invested $2.5 million in technology over the past five years, including digital shelf tags, energy-saving refrigeration and store lighting as well as giving customers secure payment options like Apple Pay. The company is also a trailblazer with regard to equal wages and most recently became an employee-owned company in 2015, which provides workers with an ownership interest in Newport Avenue Market.
The Dorys are greatly engages in the community through environmental, community and industry stewardship. The company reduced its landfill waste by nearly 60 percent in 2012, and it continues to work towards hunger prevention, raising more than $200,000 for the Hunger Prevention Coalition of Central Oregon.
In addition to his FMI tenure on the board of directors, independent operator committee and past chair of the public affairs committee and share group, Rudy has been a past board member of the United Way, the Bend Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary Club; and in 2000, he was named the Deschutes County United Way Volunteer Citizen of the Year. In addition, Newport Avenue Market was named Business of the Year by the Bend Chamber in 2014.