When I was a kid, I used to take long summer car trips across the country whenever I could find an offer to ride along with a relative. I come from a big family and there were many to choose from.
I grew up in Omaha, but had plenty of cousins in Seattle. When the Midwest cousins decided to make the trek, I often got chance to road-trip to the northwest. One of those trips took us across I-90 and through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which I remember as the most beautiful place in the world. So, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to return this spring to speak at the Idaho Economic Development Association Conference.
It is still one of the most beautiful places in the world. And, of course, like all towns, there is an amazing small business story that goes with it.
Hudson’s Hamburgers is a business that found its niche – hamburgers—and stayed there for over one hundred years. Burger, bun, pickle and onion. No ketchup, just mustard. No fries, no sides. Just the focus on the burger.
Tucked into a very small space, Hudson’s bears the name of the man who started it in a small shed in 1907. Howard started it then passed it to his son Roger who then passed it on to his son, Todd. The distance between the stools at the soda fountain counter are no more than five feet from the back of the cook at the grill. Burgers are prepared precisely, a depression in the wood cutting board allows the griller to slice onions and pickles to an exact thickness before they are piled on the meat. It is standing room only as people wait for their next burger to be handed to them straight off the grill. With no sides, seconds are a natural.
There is a lesson here. Finding what you are best at, sticking with it and delivering it in the best way you can makes for a sustainable business.
If you ever go, check out this Coeur d’Alene Resort and ask for a room overlooking the lake. It is the home of the floating golf hole. Off season rates are incredible.