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New business owners discuss secret weapons and more
Thursday, February 26, 2015


                Roger Beaudoin knew that the restaurant business was one of the challenging ventures he could tackle when he opened the Matterhorn SKI BAR at Sunday River, Maine, ski resort 20 years ago without a lick of restaurant experience under his starchy clean apron.

                Even though it was a seasonal restaurant and bar, it generated $1 million in sales in just four months. It was named “Best Ski Bar USA” by Skiing Magazine and “Classic Ski Bar” by Ski Magazine, in addition to winning accolades from the New York Times, Boston Globe, Frommers Travel Guides, Powder Magazine and other publications.

                Beaudoin recently decided to move to Sun Valley as part of a lifestyle choice for himself, his wife and two daughters. His wife wanted a bigger mountain to play on and the whole family was intrigued by the cultural and other opportunities the area has to offer.

                So Beaudoin sold the Matterhorn and a Mexican restaurant he had since opened and started an online restaurant training service he calls

                He introduced his online “training boot camp” Wednesday night at the Ketchum Business After Hours (BAH) held at the Knob Hill Inn.

“Nine times out of 10 I get an order taker when I walk into a restaurant,” noted Beaudoin.

The training teaches restaurateurs how to maximize sales and profit by enhancing customer experience with “secret weapons” that educate and entertain customers about what the restaurant has to offer, he added.

                “Anything you can do online is great because it doesn’t tie up traffic,” quipped Gary Hoffman, who organized the BAH.

                Several entrepreneurs introduced themselves at the monthly business networking klatsch, which was revived in March 2014.

                Houston Shaw, a two-time national speed shooting champion and former instructor at a combat shooting school, touted The Shaw Shooting School in Hagerman.

The venture, which is situated in Hagerman, is almost like a spa resort with pontoon boat rides on the adjacent Snake River and other amenities designed to entertain spouses who may want to come but are not interested in shooting, he said.

                Courses for shooters—given a hearty thumbs-up by Sun Valley Realtor Penny Leopold—include Men’s,  Women’s and Couple’s  Pistol courses from A-Z, a Rifle/Carbine Course, Sporting Clay Course, Tactical Shotgun Course and Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons Course (

                “Ninety percent of Idahoans have a firearm in their home. You need to know proper technique,” Shaw said.

Dr. Teri Burnett, who recently moved here from Seattle, talked about her plastic surgery  business at 208 Spruce St. in Ketchum’s Bitterroot Building (208-481-1281). Burnett said she is even getting a lot of California clients who don’t want to look like they’re from California.

And Alicia Ralston talked about the Ralston Group Properties she and her husband Daivd Ralston recently opened in Sun Valley ( to complement their Boise office.

Ralston opened her spiel with a joke pillorying real estate agents: What do you have when you have 100 brokers buried up to their necks in sand? Not enough sand.

That perception motivated her to open a small boutique that’s centered around building relationships rather than focusing on volume, she said. The concept has proven successful in Boise and Ralston said she thinks it will do well here.

The real estate market in Boise is “screaming,” she added. Last quarter the real estate market was within 8 percent of its all-time high in 2006.

At the end of the last quarter the price for Wood River Valley properties were within 15 percent of the high prices before the Recession, she added.

The next Ketchum BAH will be from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at Big Wood Ski at 110 Belmont Drive in Ketchum’s light industrial area.

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