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April 2, 2019
Thinking Bigger: Derek Wallen, Roasted | Lehigh Valley Printing
“I think ‘business for good’ is about community and support,” says Derek, “rather than making everything about the bottom line.”
Starting a business isn’t easy. Derek Wallen knows. He has launched a few, including Roasted, with Shelli and Chris Topping, a restaurant on Bethlehem’s SouthSide focusing on the freshest and healthiest organic, local food, and conscious of gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options. And Lehigh Valley Printing (LVP), with Tim Brandt, a screen printing and embroidery company that once lived in a 200-square- foot basement that has grown by a magnitude of 20 since it was founded.
Managing growth while balancing risk is a challenge for any new business. Roasted and LVP are responding to that challenge by thinking creatively, and not just about themselves. Both businesses share their commercial space with entrepreneurial employees—providing low overhead support for getting new dreams off the ground. LVP shares office space with Edwing Joseph & Sons, a leader in custom tailored menswear, impeccable tailoring, suiting, and alterations. Edwing comes from a family of tailors, and “his work, the quality, is amazing,” says Derek. Roasted, meanwhile, shares space with VegOut, overseen by Roasted server Mary Lopresti, who runs the 100% vegan restaurant in the evenings while Roasted is closed.
Ultimately, that’s what thinking bigger means: looking for opportunities, efficiencies, new ways to grow and to work, and imagining beyond your own business to support someone else’s. “I think ‘business for good’ is about community and support,” says Derek, “rather than making everything about the bottom line.” Between partnerships with local farmers and food producers, and space-sharing agreements with entrepreneurs, Roasted and LVP are doing just that: good.