Ryan, you will be greatly missed…
Portland lost a real one… Ryan Rollins, an awesome dad, a wildly successful entrepreneur, and most of all rad friend, passed away yesterday. Ryan was a one-of-a-kind sole, a true hustler, a go-getter, and risk taker. Ryan always knew how to have a good time, put a smile on someone’s face, a person to come to when you had exciting news, an idea; or needed someone to talk about tough times with.
Ryan grew up in Sellwood, and went to Cleveland High School. He was into sports, being socially active, and makin’ money. His first job was at the beloved Dairy Queen (currently a Chase Bank) down in Sellwood. In 01′ and 02′, Ryan pursued his education at Mt. Hood Community College, and in 03′ completed his studies in Business. Professionally, he began his career at StellCo Inc, where he served as a Government Account Manager. He was a businessman through and through, a relationship-orientated guy. Being an exceptional salesman, he was naturally promoted a few years later to the role of Sales Manager. Ryan played a pivotal role in customer relationships, negotiations, and team mentoring.
In 2014, Ryan wanted to work for himself. He was tired of selling, working on commission, and wanted to build a legacy further than sales. He scraped together $16,000, and got a credit card for $25,000. This was enough to fund a small food truck just shy of $30,000, fund food with his credit card, and so birthed @PdxSliders. This was his true calling, and where he put his true blood, sweat, and tears in. He sat in that truck seven days a week, freezing or melting his ass off in the cold or heat. Ryan swore by staying open, ALWAYS. He claimed part of his success on consistency. If someone pulled up to his truck and it wasn’t open, they probably wouldn’t try and come back, so staying open consistently was the sauce to building a loyal customer base.
In an interview with @progressive_hustle, Ryan talked about how he wanted to make a special food spot with winning items on the menu. He mentioned how he didn’t want to be in a food pod, rather a stand-alone joint, “I wanted to be a destination, not an option,” said Ryan, “Good food, good service, a product that no one else had…”
Ryan also talked about how it was dealing with building his business up to full-line brick and mortar, and the struggles that came along with it. He was asked what discouraged him from opening a shop on a bigger scale. “One of the most rewarding and most discouraging is employees,” he said, “You’re not just a boss these days in Portland, you’re a boss, a friend, a counselor, a therapist… you know, you’re a motherf**king bank, you’re a lawyer, you know, everything…”
If it was one thing Ryan was, it was a good guy to his people. He talked about how he’d lose a limb to try and give enough to his employees. He’d offer them free food, healthcare, extra hours, and even a place to sleep in the shop. “I’d rather see my people paid than have to work two jobs,” and he stood by that, always looking out for his own.
Ryan, you will be greatly missed. You had so much more life to live, so much more to give to the streets, but your legacy in Portland will live on in history for decades. We got a chance to do business together, build a kick-ass website, do experimental marketing campaigns, and grow businesses together. Our deepest condolences to Ryan’s family, friends, and business partners. Ryan was loved by so many, he impacted the lives of thousands, and we hope he rests in a big batch of loaded fries with cold brews, looking down on us. Forever in our hearts.