Bombs Away Cafe
ADDRESS: 2527 NW Monroe Avenue, Corvallis, OR 97330
OWNER: Cloud Davidson
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 25 (owned by Cloud for 9 months)
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 25
WHAT THEY SELL: Tex-Mex cuisine, beer, wine, and cocktails
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: For unique ambiance and great food, and to support a restaurant that cares about the community
Bombs Away is a small restaurant near the OSU campus that has its own unique feel. In addition to serving delicious food with many locally-sourced ingredients, Bombs features live music. With a commitment to sustainability, owner Cloud Davidson is very involved with the community and has good relationships with people in a city that he believes to be one of the best in the country.
When and why did you decide to start your business? I started working toward owning my own business 25 years ago. I had always wanted to own my own business and to be self-employed. My family is all self-employed, so I grew up wanting to work for myself.
Tell us about Bombs Away. What are your specialties or favorites? Bombs Away sells southern Tex-Mex cuisine. We source our ingredients locally whenever possible. My favorite menu items are our specials, which change every week. Each one is better than the next! Our chef selects the specials based on what’s available seasonally and locally. We also serve local brews and fresh cocktails. Another special feature at Bombs Away is the live music. There’s a variety of bands that play here 2-3 nights a week.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? The great thing about Corvallis is its strong sense of community. I don’t feel like I’m being recognized, but that a part of this great community is.
Why should folks patronize your business? Bombs Away is unique. It’s different, and a big part of that is our Tex-Mex cuisine and live music venue. People should come here because it’s awesome!
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met those challenges? I try to balance offering an affordable product with rising costs of labor and goods. I meet that challenge with a lot of accounting and budgeting work.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis, and what does the future look like for the local independents? Our community’s local independent businesses help Corvallis make a name for itself. The town makes a great impression on visitors, creates an elevated sense of livability for locals, and is attractive to those looking to attend the university, job candidates in the area, and new residents. The future looks remarkably positive for local independents in Corvallis because everyone believes in it and supports it, not to mention that Corvallis is one of the top-listed towns in the Pac-12!
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? What excites or inspires you? The sense of community with residents and visitors is amazing. Corvallis is a very special town. There’s a tight camaraderie within the local business community in Corvallis in general. When I visited New York City, I discovered that what we do in Corvallis is light-years ahead of Soho. What they’re doing is cutting-edge for the culinary arts, and Corvallis is ahead of them. Now is a fantastic time to be in the food and beverage industry because people are really into it. They’re more aware of what they’re eating and where it comes from.
What is your relationship to the community? What charities or organizations do you support or participate in? The community and Bombs Away are interdependent. The community embraces us, and they’re very supportive. We feed the community, and they help me feed my family. We participate in fundraising for local schools, we sponsor children’s dine-out nights, and we assist in feeding low-income children. I get involved in whatever I can.
How many people do you employ? Have you added jobs since buying the business? Do you think your employees are better off working for a local independent rather than a chain? There are about 25 employees at Bombs Away, and I haven’t added any jobs since buying Bombs Away because it was a pre-existing business. Our employees have certain advantages, such as working in a family environment for those employed by local independent business owners instead of for a chain. You get to know your employees and their personalities. The benefits are hard to quantify, but you just don’t get that working for a large corporation.
How important is sustainability to you and your business? Have you taken steps to save energy, reduce your use of other resources, decrease your carbon footprint, reduce waste, etc.? Sustainability is very important to us. At Bombs Away, we make a conscious effort to try our best to conserve energy. Also, I purchase products from companies that are like-minded that do things like using eco-friendly packaging.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business. I’m the third owner of Bombs Away in 25 years, and I’m excited to take this Corvallis institution into the next 25 years!
(Interview and article by Nicole Riehl – February 12, 2017)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).