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Cutting a path to success: The ArcLight Dynamics Story

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Scott Cunningham had a simple idea: he wanted to carve realistic replicas of mountains. But that simple idea proved anything but simple to accomplish.

As he began exploring the project, a friend told him about CNC Computer Numerical Control) machines which could carve any shape he dreamt up. After researching CNC machines online, Scott purchased a CNC router from a vendor, but the quality turned out to be really poor. This led him to rebuild the entire drive system using surplus parts he found on ebay.

Once he fixed that initial machine, he realized that he could also build bigger and better CNC routers on his own.BRiJ-Way-LLC

Early beginnings

Scott worked on the CNC routers for a while, but eventually got into metalworking where he noticed the CNC plasma tables were selling for premium prices. He sensed an opportunity.

“I knew I could build a better one but — more importantly — provide an unmatched level of support,” he said. “At the time, you could read lots of reviews on the internet about how poorly these companies were treating their customers. And many of these customers just didn’t get any education on how to run these tables. It was obvious that these companies didn’t know that negative online reviews could hurt them.”

So in 2009, he started with two prototypes. Out of the two prototypes, one stood out as a potentially viable product — one which looks strikingly similar to the machines they sell today.

Scott used that table throughout 2010 to make metal art which he displayed at the Sunriver Artists Gallery in Central Oregon. This provided a solid trial run, but in his mind he kept pondering if people would actually buy the table.

“At the end of the year I basically threw it up on ebay just to see if anyone would bite, and I sold my first table a month later in January of 2011. That year I built 7 tables in my garage, and sold all of them on ebay.”

15937225_622225007949071_3764450894718195906_oWith initial sales traction and some market validation, Scott started thinking there was a true opportunity around building the CNC tables. That thinking accelerated when the recession cost him his full time job and he found himself unemployed. That change in circumstances opened the door to the beginnings of ArcLight Dynamics.

“With my small severance pay I rented a shop and hired two of my fellow unemployed co-coworkers, and built a website. From that point on the business took off and I hired two more of my old co-workers within a year’s time.”

That initial website had a high level of focus and professionalism. In all of his market research, Scott realized that many companies had a very limited amount of actual product information on their websites. This was a huge negative in his mind. He wanted potential and returning customers to have the ability to find an answer to any question they might have about the tables. There was an additional emphasis around producing comprehensive training videos that would allow their customers to hit the ground running.

“When we started out I created a series to video tutorials that showed our customers how to program and run our tables and put them up on Youtube for anyone to use. At this time no other manufacturer had done this, but from my perspective it was essential. So a lot of people who use other brands of tables used our videos to teach themselves how to run their systems. As a result we became the authority and source for training. “

The focus on the customer from the outset allowed ArcLight Dynamics to slip in and fill the void.

Developing an innovative product

ArcLight Dynamics tables are complete packages, which means that all someone needs to have for a very functional cutting system are standard components. And while this may seem like the norm, that is far from the case, and another area in which the focus on the customer has paid off.

“Other companies often start out with low prices, but the system won’t cut well until you add on options, which add to the cost. We believe customers will get the best bang for their buck with an ArcLight Dynamics table. We combine solid durable frames, combined with easy to use software, and most important to our success, excellent customer support.”

Scott and his team saw the biggest opportunity for their tables within small to medium size shops and businesses, and to gain traction within these verticals they had to be very conscious of the pricing. By keeping all of the parts and production in-house, they have been able to not only control costs, but also maintain high standards.

13305220_521846171320289_2423757534828226125_o“I do all the R&D in house for the design of the tables and develop new product lines. I don’t have formal education in it, but I’ve always had a knack for it. Keeping the overhead low is another reason we have been able to keep prices low. We have been very lucky as we found low cost rental space when we started out, and was able to take over more space when we needed it. But moving forward it is going to be very challenging to find a large enough building to rent or buy in the current market.”

Keeping the pricing low as they were just ramping up was a lot easier than the current production rate of 8 tables per week. So Scott and his team started researching ways to not only maintain their costs, but also create a more efficient process. This resulted in ArcLight Dynamics partnering with the local Fastenal store.

“Fastenal has been a huge help in sourcing and maintaining our inventory. Often I can find the best price on a product on the internet, and they can then match that price or do better. But what is really great is they come to our facility and stock the parts for us, maintain that stock, and often they are able to keep a back stock of our parts at their store. This saves a lot of labor and gives us ”just in time” ordering that helps with cash flow and storage space.”

ArcLight Dynamics started out with four sizes of tables, and just recently added two new larger models. The initial four were identical in design and function, while the most recent tables have larger steel welded frames and a more smoother and precise functionality. The new tables are named the Arc Max series, and are focused larger industrial environments. But new models are not rolled out too often.

“We just came out with the Arc Max table design this year, and so the new product cycle up until this point is about every 5 years. To date our best selling table is our 5’x10’ Arcpro 12000 table, accounting for 30% of our sales.”

ArcLight Dynamics has seen 40% year-over-year growth, which can, in many ways, be directly attributed to the high level of craftsmanship put into each table, along with the high level of customer service. One sector in particular, custom automotive, has really seen an uptick in the adoption and usage of CNC tables. Scott believes the adoption of CNC tables in these smaller shops, not just those focused on automotive work, can be traced back to a combination of things.

“The quality of cut that can be achieved with a plasma cutter has greatly improved in the 6 years, while at the same time, the cost of CNC technology had dropped in price. People have also become comfortable with running computer controlled equipment. They have come to the realization that they need this technology in their shops if they want to compete in the marketplace.”14681025_580637488774490_787406608450889072_o

Connecting to the community

There is a strong connection between ArcLight Dynamics and the Central Oregon community. Scott and his family see not only a place with a high quality of life to raise families, but also one they can help support through providing good paying jobs with benefits. In addition to the jobs, the company pumped $2.25 Million back into the local economy.

Scott also found connections that have been a tremendous help to his business, including Steve Curley from the SBDC.

“I started off taking the two year business development course through the SBDC and that was immensely helpful in getting me to understand how to grow our business. After the completion of that course they told me that we would qualify to continue working with the Grow Oregon program. This is when they introduced us to a new program they were offering,the Entrepreneurial Operating System, or EOS. This system has been very helpful in bringing the rest of our management team on board so they can start running the company independent of me. It has been very empowering for them and helped me grow from being self employed, to being a true entrepreneur/ business owner.”

Table made for Central Oregon based Noslr

Table made for Central Oregon based Nosler

The training and resources Scott received have helped to shape a great company culture as well. ArcLight Dynamics has been able to consistently move people up from the bottom and into management. This means that every one of their employees started out cutting steel , welding, assembling tables, and lastly, training customers on how to run the tables.

This has resulted in not only a sense of empowerment for the employees, but also created an entire company that has a very deep knowledge base, has a commitment to making sure the table works for the customer the way it should, and knows how each customer can get the most from their tables.

As the company continues to grow at a high clip, one of the biggest challenges facing ArcLight Dynamics will be finding a large enough space to rent or buy to not constrain growth. But taking on challenges like these are where Scott and his team feel most comfortable. They have created a great product, culture, and customer support system, and are more poised to seize on opportunities as opposed to slowing down due to challenges. Scott also has advice for other founders about to take the leap.

“Don’t hesitate, take bigger risks, and don’t be afraid to invest more in your company.”

For more information, visit www.arclightcnc.com and like the on facebook.

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Building a blog in Bend

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When people think of startup hubs, cities like San Francisco and New York immediately jump to mind, as do smaller startup communities like Seattle, Austin, and Boulder. But it’s rare for any Oregon towns to even register.

That, however, may be changing. Thanks to growing momentum in Bend, Oregon. And thanks to the BendTECH blog chronicling the stories of the startups who are putting Bend on the map.

“We wanted to create a way for people inside and outside of Bend to learn more about what’s happening in our tech and startup communities,” BendTECH blog cofounder and editor Kelly Kearsley said. “This was spring 2014. I think a lot of people felt like there’s definitely more than meets the eye here in terms of startup/tech activity, and to have one place where you could find that information would be valuable — both for people already here and looking for resources and connections, as well as people interested in moving themselves and/or their companies to town.”

A unique community

“We just had a guest blogger — an intern at one of the tech startups here — write a post. And she called out a small fact that I think actually really makes a big difference: People who are here really want to be here. By and large, the entrepreneurs here have lived and worked and started other companies in bigger places. They’ve chosen to be here. They want to succeed in Bend and they want others to succeed here too.”

And that commitment to growing in Bend creates strong collaborative tendencies among those residents and businesses.2674982280_7974b6bf08_b

“A lot of entrepreneurs here comment on that collaborative nature, they say it’s noticeable relative to other places they’ve lived and worked. I just heard an anecdote of one tech company sending resumes it received to another. People are giving of their time and interested in more than just their own success.”

“It’s cliche, but we’re at a point where rising tides lift all the ships — the more successful companies we have, the more talent we can attract, the more companies can be successful. People understand that. In terms of challenges, I think mature and startup companies here need more tech talent. And though funding has increased, more capital certainly helps accelerate growth.”

Chronicling the journey

While momentum and collaboration are important, communication is often the most critical—and oft overlooked—component of community development. That’s why Kelly and James Gentes founded the blog in 2014, to help provide a foundation for that communication to occur.

“Well the blog is just about a year old, so I wouldn’t say there’s been drastic change since its inception. But what there has been over the past few years is steady growth of the number of new companies here and more local funding available through groups such as Cascade Angels — though I think many would tell you there could always be more capital. Central Oregon startups raised nearly $16 million in mostly seed funding in the past year, and I think the assumption is that we’ll exceed that number in the next year.

“The people doing the heavy lifting in terms of building the startup community are the startup founders. They are the ones taking the risk to transform their ideas into businesses and doing it in a place that they love,” Kelly said. “I like to think that the blog has helped bring attention to what’s happening here and provide support to our growing tech and startup communities.”

Talking tech

Thanks in part to the efforts of the blog, the perception of Bend as a startup community is starting to change. And residents of more formidable and well-known hubs are beginning to take notice.

“What is rapidly changing is the idea that you can start or move especially a tech company here and have it thrive. We have some legacy tech companies that have been here awhile, but now we’re seeing Bay-area companies interested in moving staff to Bend or opening new offices. It’s not just doable, but for a few early adopters — like Kollective — it’s become preferable. There’s still challenges — finding technical talent can be tough. But I think that companies here are starting to make the case that you can be in Bend, have a high quality of life, pay less overhead and still be short distance away from major cities.”

Outside interests

“People might be surprised, but I would estimate that more than half of the blog’s readers are from outside of Bend. They’re people who are keenly interested in whether startups can succeed here and often it’s their dream to be here as well. I’d like to think that the blog shows people what’s possible when you start to think out of the box in terms of where you have to live and work.

And part of the reason for that is that — despite it’s name — the BendTECH blog isn’t just tech.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.23.05 AM“We haven’t had any push back on BendTECH,” Kelly said. “We do primarily focus on tech companies, and I would say tech-related news easily comprises more than half our coverage. We’re mostly interested in startups that are looking for rapid growth, usually product companies, so we’re not really covering all new businesses in all new verticals. We don’t cover restaurants or a lot of service business. Bend has startups in outdoor gear, biotech and food manufacturing. Also if you have a startup and you’re hoping to scale, then there’s a lot of crossover in terms of resources and information that you’re interested in. Finally, we see lots of companies — think Cairn — that may not be software companies, but have a tech component.”

Nurturing a spark

“In terms of becoming a catalyst, I’ve been really heartened by the number of jobs posted on our job board and excited when I hear that companies have filled positions from people who heard about the jobs via the blog. That’s full circle stuff and it’s really gratifying. I get choked up! Going forward, I think we’ll continue to create content, raise awareness and start conversations about entrepreneurship in Central Oregon. We want to grow our readership and we also have ideas for events around our #50startups and other blog features.”

The concept for #50startups is part of an ongoing effort to highlight companies in the area.

“#50startups has been really fun,” Kelly said. “I thought of it shortly after we launched as a way to regularly introduce our readers to the various startups here. James and I made a list of startups we knew and felt pretty confident we would have 50 companies to profile, though they aren’t all tech-related. We’re currently in the 30s. They are always some of our best-read posts: the format makes it easy for readers to learn about a new endeavor and the entrepreneurs enjoy telling their stories.”

Finding a voice

“I think that blogging is a constant exercise in experimentation, refining your focus and learning what your audience wants and needs. You try new content and see what garners people’s attention and what really engages them. Sometimes it’s not always what you think.”

“For example, I thought readers would be more interested in advice and service type pieces around creating successful startups. But they’re far more interested in finding info on our blog they can’t find anywhere else — the daily happenings of Bend’s tech and startup communities. So we focus most of our resources on talking about companies, what they’re doing, who is hiring, who has raised money, etc.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.25.52 AMLike many blogs, BendTECH blog makes sure it doesn’t take itself too seriously. They have their quirky side as well. One of their more popular features in recent history has proved to be something that the Internet does exceptionally well: fawn over pets.

“As for the dogs, that was way to insert some fun into the blog and feature the furry friends that keep startup founders and tech workers company. It’s Bend. People love their dogs — in fact, few offices don’t have dogs. So those have been well-read too.”

Only the beginning

“After one year, we have 800 weekly newsletter subscribers and that grows about 10% each month at a higher than 50% open rate,” Kelly said. “There’s definitely an appetite for what we’re providing. We want to keep people interested and answer their questions about tech and startups in Bend. I think we’ll also explore building our revenue through ads and the job board. We just want to keep telling the Central Oregon tech and startup story — and there’s lots more to say.”

For more information, visit the BendTECH blog or follow BendTECH on Twitter.

Shaping a new kind of snowboard

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They say you find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but what do you find on the Rainbow Chair at Mt. Bachelor?

For James Nicol and Ryan Holmes, cofounders of Snoplanks, they found was a spark of inspiration to create a new kind of snowboard — one that connects the mountain to the waves.

“On the chair we were discussing board and ski design and looking for something that had a more surf-like feel than your everyday “all mountain” equipment,” Nicol said “Being a surfer, I was also hoping to bring some of the concepts from surf design to snowboards in terms of rocker profiles and side cuts.”

10906495_1033428906673912_9184266040313148061_n (1)The idea of Snoplanks would not remain a concept for long. James harkened back to his surfing past — one that included shaping boards — and started the process of creating the initial prototypes.

And in that process of shaping, James found clarity for the concept and, ultimately, for himself.

“In the past I had shaped surfboards. And what I found is the process itself is a very peaceful and insightful undertaking. Shaping is a lot like riding powder or surfing. It’s a completely mind clearing activity, and I always walk away from the shaping room feeling better than I did when I entered.”

Crafting the plank

So with a cleared sense of mind, the duo began testing both the shape and the materials.

“I started working with our first boards in my garage that winter by building extremely primitive shapes from plywood, bending them with steam, and glassing them like surfboards. The original boards were very basic,  but actually extremely fun in powder. These first shapes were the backbone of the brand that led to where we are today.”

11885704_1178084902208311_1724488971785787825_oNicol knew that birch plywood, e-glass, and resin could only take them so far. So he started to look for options that would not only perform better but allow them to scale.

“I built a homemade press in spring 2013 and started experimenting with maple and birch veneers, doing a variety of layups to produce different flex and strength. When I found bamboo, however, that… that was a game changer. The strength to weight ratio was unmatched and I knew when I stepped on the first bamboo plank that we had something truly unique.”

Bamboo enabled the Snoplanks team to hone both the supply chain and production. But the choice to use bamboo was not solely based on technical performance alone. Bamboo from a sustainability standpoint appealed to Nicol and Holmes, as well. They wanted to make every plank as environmentally friendly as possible, which includes using tung oil as the finish, donating all of the scrap materials to Hangr Supply, and donating a portion of every sale to Protect our Winters.

But as many craftsman know, being sustainable in your production does not result in a subpar product, and these planks are built to last.

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Photo Credit: Pete Alport

“Our boards our extremely durable. We provide a refinishing kit if you want to sand and re-stain the deck. As the boards are 100% bamboo and fiberglass, they do need a bit more care than your standard board, but they can take a solid beating and we have not yet seen one break to date.”

Lessons learned and opportunities ahead

With sales doubling year over year, and a brand that has received its fair share of press, you’d think James and Ryan had done all of this before, but in fact they are first time founders. Not unlike many entrepreneurs, they have maintained their other jobs and hustled to get to this point.

“This is the first startup either of us has ever been involved in. I still work another job to pay the bills and keep the company rolling. Of course, the dream is to grow the business and employee our local community,” Nicol said. “We’ve learned a great deal to this point in terms of branding, product development, and marketing. The key element is figuring out where the most bang for your buck can go on marketing yourself when you have no marketing budget to speak of. I think we have done a good job of that thus far and are taking time in every step to ensure that it is done the right way.”

Snoplanks is striving to be a reputable US manufacturer of snowboards and skis within the next 5 years, all while building a company and culture in the town they call home. That plan includes expanding operations and hiring local talent.

“We hope to grow and prosper right here in Bend, Oregon. One thing we decided early on is that we will never outsource our manufacturing abroad. We are a craft company making handmade boards right here in the USA, and that is how things will remain,“ Nicol said. “Bend in itself is a brand. Breweries, Mountains, Rivers, Art/Music… Bend has it all. We feel blessed to be able to have a business here and to be able to represent such an amazing community with our product.”

11822987_1169132113103590_1525954944984278470_oThat community of supporters and followers extends throughout the Northwest. They are looking to expand sales on the West Coast this winter through strategic outreach and collaborations; with one of those recent collaborations being with Bend based Deschutes Brewing, where they had the opportunity to build boards for their national marketing team.

With growth comes both opportunities and challenges, and the team at Snoplanks is focused on addressing each in equal measure.

“To grow we are going to need to upgrade our equipment so that we can fill larger orders and expand our distribution. This obviously requires capital and therefore we are going to be working on raising this capital for the 2016/17 season. ”

But with the hopes of El Nino bringing much needed snow to the NW, they do not foresee their fundraising slowing down their business trajectory nor distracting them from continuing their sales growth — growth that is best experienced in knee deep powder.

Photo Credit: Pete Alport

Photo Credit: Pete Alport

For more information, visit www.snoplanks.com, follow them on  Instagram, and like them on Facebook

For more information on the photographer, Pete Alport visit his Facebook page. 

A harmonious collaboration of people, nature, and business

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Tom Bedell is not the stereotypical image of a serial entrepreneur. In fact, he embodies the look of a modern-day hippie, equipped most days with a navy headband and blue jeans. But don’t be fooled. Bedell owns Bend-based Two Old Hippies Stringed Instruments, one of the largest acoustic guitar and mandolin designers and manufacturers in the country.

“Deep in my heart I wanted to have a workshop here in the United States of America where we could design and build our own instruments. And that was my dream,” he said.

On Nov. 30, 2010, that dream became a reality when he purchased Breedlove Guitars in Bend.

“What’s my favorite thing about coming to work every day? I get to design [guitars],” he said. “ I get to go into the wood stacks and pick out pieces of wood and dream about what they might sound like.”

Auspicious beginnings

Bedell started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of fourteen in 1964, the same year The Beatles made their first live American television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

breed 5“The whole world changed in terms of music and Rock and Roll,” Bedell said. “In every town across America there was a garage band on every block. We all had guitars, we had these little amplifiers. Most of us weren’t any good, but it was the lifestyle … It became the beginning of a whole social-change movement … and music was the vehicle to express all of that. It was the way that poetry came to life in everybody’s life.”

Filled with passion for guitars and music, Bedell wanted to become a part of the industry and started importing guitars from Japan.

He turned to his father, who owned a fishing tackle company called Pure Fishing that Bedell would later go on to inherit, for resources. Bedell sent a telex to Pure Fishing’s purchasing agent in Japan. He asked him to go to Hiroshima, the epicenter of musical instruments, and find a source for guitars. The agent obliged, which birthed the start of Bedell Guitars.

“I just went through (the catalogues) and picked the instruments that looked of interest and ordered some samples,” Bedell said. “I didn’t know much about how to price them. So, I just doubled the prices, which meant that I was at half the price of the main businesses that were around then.”

An ever-changing tune

Bedell’s first workplace looked nothing like Two Old Hippies’ headquarters does today.

His sister helped put his brand name on his guitars and he hired a friend with a driver’s license to take him to different music stores to start wholesaling guitars.

“My parents’ basement was my warehouse. My sister was my quality production person. My friend was my driver and delivery guy. And I was the salesman,” he said.

breed1Today, Bedell employs 135 people and leases three different buildings, totaling 50,000 square feet on the east side of Bend off American Loop. He expects his 2014 payroll to reach about $5.35 million and estimates his company will produce about 5,000 instruments next year.

The company sells three brands: Breedlove, an acoustic guitar label that strives to be innovative and has been manufactured in Bend since 1990; Bedell Guitars, 1960s classic-model guitars built using sustainably-sourced woods; and Weber Fine Acoustic Instruments, one of the top mandolin companies in the country, which Two Old Hippies acquired in November 2012.

The acoustic guitar market has been strong for several years, Erin Block, research analyst for the National Association of Music Merchants, wrote in an email.

“Sales increased by 13.3 percent and the number of units sold increased by 2.7 percent from 2012 to 2013,” Block wrote. “When you look at the 5-year trend, sales have increased 54.1 percent.”

Employees first

In nearly four years, Bedell grew Breedlove from 50 to 135 employees. And this year, he said the company grew by 40 percent.

Bedell attributes his success to following his father’s rules of operating a business:

breed 4“The whole reason that we’re in business is to create opportunities for the people that make up the company,” he said. “It’s not about the company, it’s about the people. The reason we are here is to create a culture and lifestyle and opportunities for the people that are our company. It’s not for shareholders. It’s not for money. It’s not for profit.”

If the employees of Two Old Hippies Stringed Instruments come first, Bedell said the company will succeed because everybody will have an investment in the success of the company.

“It’s their life. It’s their lifestyle. It’s how they support their families. It’s how they live,” he said.

When Bedell first took over Breedlove, he said one of his biggest challenges was shifting the company’s culture.

“The culture was very much a hierarchical. It was very much a power culture,” Bedell said. “I wanted to create an entrepreneurial culture where people were empowered, where people felt they could do their best work and be themselves, but yet had a set of values that they shared that had a commitment to one another.”

Like many entrepreneurs today, Bedell started with humble beginnings. In 1966, two years after Bedell ordered his first guitar samples from Japan, he opened his first retail store in Iowa.

“Some of the stores I was selling to weren’t paying their bills, so I would pick up equipment at their store to get a credit,” he said. “I had all of this equipment and then, later that fall, I opened my second store.”

Bedell started going to school half days and running his business in the afternoons and evenings.

“It was a glorious life,” he said. “So, in my golden years, I wanted to return to that wonderful life and become a teenager again,” he said, referring to operating Two Old Hippies Stringed Instruments.

In February of 2009, Bedell and his wife, Molly, acquired a local music store in Aspen, Colorado, and named it Two Old Hippies.

“We just thought it would be fun to run a music store,” he said. “But Molly and I both have a terminal illness that we have to work. We’re going to work until we die.”

While his wife operated the Two Old Hippies boutique that still sells accessories, clothing, as well as guitars, Bedell went to Asia to design and build his own line of Bedell Guitars. By fall, he had developed a wholesale business and started selling Bedell Guitars throughout the country.

But that wasn’t enough. Bedell wanted to make guitars in the U.S.

Embracing opportunity

“I had my eyes and ears network open to where might and opportunity come along and one of the companies I got to know were the folks here at Breedlove,” he said. “Unfortunately Breedlove had fallen on tough times and so the owner had no choice but to sell it and came to me with an opportunity. I was just thrilled to death. This is a dream come true.”

Bedell has earned a reputation for always following his dreams.

“I think I always followed them. I don’t know that I always got them,” he said. “Life is real, right? You have your ups and you have your downs and you have reality that you don’t want to deal with, but you have to.”

breed3The key to his success, Bedell said, is never giving up.

“Everybody has reasons to quit. There are 10,000 reasons to stop; why you’re going to fail, why you shouldn’t pursue it, versus a handful of dreams about how you can succeed,” he said. “The people that succeed are the ones that persevere through all the reasons to not win, and win.”

In the next five years, Bedell said his goal is to make Bend the number-one place in the world for a consumer to buy the finest guitar available.

“I would love to have a showcase place where musicians from all over the world can come and they could really study their play style and their music and we could design guitars specific for them, that are custom for their style of music and their play,” he said.

Bedell said he and the co-hippies, his employees, are going to bring that dream to life.

“Every barrier and every challenge that gets in the way of that, we’re going to find a way around it, over it, through it, past it and it’s not an option,” he said. “You have to have this sense of future, this sense of hope, this sense of knowledge that you know it’s up to you, whether you succeed or whether you don’t. It’s not up to all the other people or things, or excuses, or barriers of frustrations that pop their head up.”

“Life is like a whack-a-mole,” he said. “And you have to keep whacking at it.”

For more information, visit http://breedlovemusic.com, follow Breedlove on Twitter, or like Breedlove on Facebook.