Mark Estee, 12-months Revisited

“Persistence is probably the single most common quality of high achievers. They simply refuse to give up. No matter how hard it seems, the longer you persist the more likely your success.” — Jack Canfield

I will NEVER get tired of hearing about people overcoming challenges, and stepping into their own.

My life has been a beautiful roller coaster, specifically in the past 12 months. I wanted to take a minute to revisit one of my posts, which really kicked things off for me in 2012. There’s this guy, named Mark Estee, who took the time out of his extremely busy life to give a graduate student (me) an interview late one evening as his newly opened restaurant was locking it’s doors for the night.

Mark EsteeI met Mark Estee during his 4th month in business with Campo, this month marks the 16th month that Campo has graced Reno with its presence. And oh, what a year it has been. This place is great. Ok… But, in the words of Mark Estee:

“Restaurants are supposed to have great food. That should be expected. There’s so much more to a great restaurant than just the food.”

This place is so much more than the food. I can go on and on about the accolades, the awards, Campo Mammoth, Top 10 this, Best of that… This guy and his restaurant have achieved the unexpected in the past year. BUT, I am not going there. I am going to stray away from the obvious. There are 2 things that inspire me most about Mark: 1. He is the self-made-comeback-kid 2. He LOVES Reno.

Mark says, “No matter what you do, you are bound to make mistakes. That’s the best part.”

I have listened to Mark give a handful of speeches about his journey, and I pick up on something new each time. Rock bottom means different things to each of us. But, I have a feeling that this guy stared rock bottom straight in its ugly face. He climbed out of it. He made the choice one-day to “put on a new self” and has been choosing to put on that new self-everyday since. No one made Mark a successful entrepreneur, no one told him he should be a chef, no one protected him from all the mistakes he has made personally and professionally, no one told him he should create this beautiful concept known today as Campo. No one. He did it- the good, the bad, the ugly, the brilliant, the beautiful, the delicious. On his own.

Mark has put in the hours. But, as much as he is doing it for Campo, he is doing it for Reno. He wants to help define our community and put Reno on the map- and not for our casinos or Reno 911. Mark is so passionate about the Biggest Little City, buying local, and helping people out. He has transformed the look of a section in downtown Reno and he has set the bar for restaurants in this area to a whole new level.

I’ve been on this mission recently trying to figure out what makes Reno. This town doesn’t get as much positive recognition as it deserves, quite frankly I am tired of it and I know I am not alone in making that statement. We have so many cool people doing really cool things, and our town is embracing the small businesses that are popping up all around Reno. You know what’s even better? Mark isn’t from here, he’s from Boston. He came to Reno from California to follow his dream of opening Campo. He left California, to come here.

Small business owners like Mark Estee, in my opinion paint a beautiful picture of the opportunities that this town has to offer. AND I don’t mind making the claim that when I think of the people that make this town so communal and inspiring-people like Mark come to mind. Cause Reno, in a way, is a comeback kid.

Oh, what a year it has been. Thank you Mark for continuing to share your story, and letting Reno be a part of it.

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