Seven years ago, Class of 2007 alumni Angus Van Beusichem partnered with Gray Ballinger to purchase a pub on the Main Street of Chatham. They re-envisioned the restaurant as The People’s Pub, and ever since, have built up a strong rapport with the community and weathered the Covid shutdown with the help of family and support from their landlord and loyal customers.After he graduated from Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Angus took a year following graduation to travel, exploring Central and South America. He then attended the University of Albany and pursued a business degree.
“I was lucky to have roommates that were interested in business and entrepreneurship,” he says. “A group of 15 of us helped build an entrepreneurship-focused program with the dean of the Business School.”
While he was in college, Angus gained experience working in restaurants in Albany, and became the manager of the City Beer Hall in his sophomore year. He credits much of his knowledge of running a restaurant business to learning from the chefs and other managers he worked with during those years.
Angus moved to Portland, Oregon, following his college graduation, to take a year off and hike, and continued to work in restaurants. After about a year, Gray—who also attended Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School for a few years—reached out with the opportunity to go into business together.
As a local business co-owner, Angus works long hours and has a hands-on role in the business, filling in as bartender, cook, and waiter whenever needed. He acknowledges that running a restaurant gets harder with a family—his wife just became a nurse practitioner and they have one year old son so life is busy. One thing he says has been a huge benefit is having a business partner to run ideas by and help troubleshoot when needed.
Despite the challenges of the restaurant industry and business ownership, Angus is drawn to the energy of the business and possibilities to make a difference.
“Restaurants are exciting. You never really know what you’re walking into,” he says. “But you also have the opportunity to make someone’s day better. To serve a little happiness, serve a good meal, make someone laugh. And that’s huge.”
You can catch up with Angus and other classmates and enjoy some of the delicious food at The People’s Pub at our Alumni Gathering on Friday, October 6, starting at 7 pm. This event is free, but RSVP is requested to help us with planning. We hope to see you there!