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Nate Higgins and Nick Armour

Two guys get a vision to create a place for people to eat fresh, healthy food. Eight years later, they've opened six locations and have just launched a plant-based, protein bar to fuel all of your adventures.


Kure Juice Bar

Small business owners are a fascinating breed. Lots of people are good at identifying problems, while few make an effort to solve them. Enter Nate and Nick, the co-owners of KURE. In 2011 they saw a gap in uncompromising, fast, organic, fresh food in Portland. We met them at Field Office, a new Portland mixed-use building that felt like it could be the next location for KURE. The architecture is modern, the campus features 78 species of plants and trees, and it's located in a newly developed area that has limited access to food like theirs. If you've visited a KURE location, you'll most likely have noticed that the design matches their mission: clean, bright, and modern with natural accents. From what I gather, this stems from Nick's expertise. He's created a palette that allows the vibrant colors of fresh fruits and vegetables to shine. Nate, on the other side, works on what to turn those fruits and vegetables into. He revises, researching, and sourcing ingredients to create new products and dishes. One of their newest ventures isn't a location, but a small 2oz bar aimed to be the 'perfect' portable food low in sugar, and chock full of nutrients to sustain you throughout the day.

After a short time with these guys, I find that there is a lot to learn from them as business owners. They have a knack for excellence, and an intelligence for risk-taking. They share a mutual desire to introduce people to a healthy alternative to put in their bodies. And they agree that you can’t isolate goodness to just one aspect of your business, so their employees are paid higher than minimum wage, have a schedule of raises built in, and even have retirement plans available.

KURE extends this goodness to the customer experience in something Nate coined as benevolent manipulation.: “It’s the user experience—to have someone walk into the store, and between the product, the customer service, the feng shui of the layout, they walk in and they leave, without knowing they’ve walked through your mouse trap” (Terry Starbucker). Calling it a trap at all seems counter-intuitive, but we understand the expression. You have to hook people, get them in your store and purchase, or else your business will disappear. If every touchpoint for the customer is a good one, it's mutually beneficial. What one calls a mouse trap, another calls their favorite brand. Nate further clarifies that you should emphasize the “why,” not the “what.” This notion seems to be carried out in the naming of KURE’s dishes like Zen Master or Bowl of the Gods.

We think these guys are the true embodiment of what Wool&Prince stands for: Intentional living. Reflecting upon our normal habits. Practicality, not complacency. Willingness to think differently. Courage to experiment and fail. A recognition of the benefits that can be found in natural items. And a desire to make small, but impactful changes for people who are willing to do the same.

We asked Nate and Nick for a few minutes of their time to tell us a little about themselves and their entrepreneurial journeys. We shouldn’t be surprised that their responses included some wise bits that have nestled their way comfortably into our own way of thinking .

Tell us about yourself. 

Nate: Most of my spare time is spent outdoors. Whether trail running or fly fishing, if I'm not working on KURE, you can probably find me in the woods somewhere.

Nick: Have been building and designing things since I could play with LEGO. Driven to create something with meaning and impact beyond just my reach.

How did you get started down this career path?

Nate: Food and food systems have always been of interest to me. Combining my love of food with that of art and business led me to KURE, where I get to share healthy food options with the community while providing for my young family.

Nick: Necessity is the mother of all invention. Wanted a healthy, fun place to get some delicious drinks and food. Created what we saw lacking in the market.

What has been the biggest professional challenge along the way?

Nate: Probably learning when to say no. As your projects become more successful, more people want to include you in their projects. This can be wonderful, or a complete time trap. We have had to learn the art of saying no.

Nick: Man that's a loaded question... there are always challenges so it's best to not see any as the BIGGEST, just knock them down as they arise. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.


If it's not a hell yes, it's a no.



Any mentors along the way?

Nate: Definitely my dad Kevin, who is still the wisest and kindest person I have ever met. I am always working to emulate him, and often think of what he would do in daily situations, business and otherwise.

Nick: Many people have been a huge help along the way from friends and family to business partners we have met along the way. You can always learn something if you are paying attention.

What’s in the works, either for KURE or personally?

Nate: Aside from having a baby of my own on the way, KURE just gave birth to the KURE Bar, which is the 2oz portable manifestation of everything we do in our shops. We realized that our smoothies didn't travel very well, so we set out to find a comparable alternative that could stow away in your pack on a trip, or in your pocket for a hike. KURE Bars are now available across Portland and beyond.

Nick: We are VERY excited about the launch of our KURE Bars as well as an amazing summer menu that Nate has been working on. KURE is continually working to stay up with what the costumer wants and needs.

Any particular advice or mentality you live by?

Nate: If it's not a hell yes, it's a no.

Nick: Having great people around you always makes things better.

Who or what inspires you? Or what will you always make time for?

Nate: Nature.

Nick: Getting outside with family and friends.

Big thanks to Nick and Nate for letting us showcase a little bit about them. If you’re in Portland, check out the location nearest you. Nate is 6'3" 190lbs and wore size large. Nick is 6'5" 225lbs and wore extra large.

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