Brand Building: Salt & Straw Grows to Five Stores in Five Years

Oregon-Columbia IABC Board Member Marie Gettel-Gilmarten with speaker Kim Malek of Salt & Straw

Oregon-Columbia IABC Board Member Marie Gettel-Gilmartin (left) with speaker Kim Malek of Salt & Straw

IABC’s event featuring Salt and Straw’s Kim Malek was a great success! Over lunch at the Benson Hotel in Portland, co-founder Kim Malek discussed how she and her cousin, Tyler, built Portland’s favorite ice cream brand.

This popular ice cream company has grown from five employees and a 30-foot freezer to three overflowing shops in Portland and two in Los Angeles…in just five years.  In a short time, Salt & Straw’s fame has spread well beyond Portland; it’s been named editor’s pick by Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, Oprah, Saveur, GQ, and Portland Monthly.

Malek painted a compelling picture of marketing through community outreach. She also illustrated the difference between customer service and hospitality—and the ways that hospitality can be a critical tool for growing a brand.

Attendees learned how Malek’s strong background in marketing, along with mentoring from Starbuck’s founder Howard Shultz, enabled the company to grow. Additionally, Malek emphasized that investments in training and employees helped Salt & Straw become a place where customers feast on small batch, handmade, local ice cream made from natural dairy with the best local, organic, and sustainable ingredients.

After an inspiring discussion, a delicious lunch, and networking with other professionals,  attendees enjoyed three scrumptious Salt & Straw’s flavors: Strawberry Honey Balsamic, Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, and Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons.

Thanks to our wonderful speaker and all who attended this fantastic event!