Opening a restaurant was always something Charlotte had ambitions of doing. She grew up working in her parent’s restaurant and seeing the pride and joy it brought them. She recalls how her father, a former Jesuit priest who left the church to marry her mother, never found his calling in life until they opened up their restaurant. “It was the happiest he had ever been, and my mother and father enjoyed working together,” stated Boxer.
Charlotte attributes her success as a restaurateur in part to her 45 year banking career. “It taught me how to manage money, pay bills, buy real estate, manage employees, and live within my budget.” For Boxer, honesty and integrity are keys to success. As are hard work and perseverance. Boxer possesses all these traits.
Charlotte grew up in Spokane, less two years in Phoenix (too hot), Los Angeles (too crowded) and Sacramento (bad water). After college, Charlotte was confronted with two job opportunities on the same day: one with the Spokane Credit Bureau and one with Commerce Mortgage Company (soon to be U.S. Bank). The bureau job was 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the mortgage job was 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Boxer admitted to taking the mortgage job, simply because she could “stay out later having fun.”
Charlotte’s career started in the bookkeeping department but it didn’t take long for her to enter the commercial real estate (CRE) business. “I was smitten by real estate the first year, and I’ve called myself a real estate junkie ever since,” recounts Boxer. She joined Pacific Continental Bank in 2004 and has had various roles over the years, including CRE lending, serving on the Leadership Team and her current position managing her own CRE portfolio, originating new business and helping others underwrite CRE loans in each of the bank’s markets.
Pacific Continental Bank gave Charlotte opportunities she never dreamed possible, which in turn allowed her to rise to the top of her game. While extremely grateful for her banking career, the dream of owning a restaurant endured. In 2011, Charlotte took her first steps toward restaurant ownership by spending two and half years taking business classes at night, talking to restaurant owners and learning the do’s and don’ts of the business. She purchased a building for the restaurant and spent nearly two years remodeling it. This all while working full-time at the bank.
The Deep End Café, which Charlotte affectionately named in response to how people reacted when she told them she was opening a restaurant, officially opened on December 27, 2013. The timing was purposeful to assure she could iron out the kinks before the busy tourist season. “It paid off,” stated Boxer. “We made our mistakes and learned a lot in a very short period of time.”
While busy with her banking career, Charlotte points out that she is not an absent owner and that restaurant ownership is no hobby. She employs up to 25 people and takes that responsibility seriously, noting that her employees are “people who have families and depend on a paycheck.” Charlotte pays her employees good salaries and provides paid vacations, something you don’t always see in the hospitality industry and in coastal communities.
The key to running a successful restaurant, she states, is like any other business: “Hire the best people and let them do their job.” She has given free rein to her chef, whose “kitchen is his kingdom,” and has hired a manager for the front-of-the-house. Charlotte, meanwhile, oversees all financial aspects of the business, as well as equipment procurement, facilities management and, of course, greeting guests as often as possible.
The Deep End Café is located in the charming Nye Beach neighborhood in Newport just steps from the beach. The restaurant serves fresh seafood and makes everything from scratch. Whenever possible, Charlotte buys her crab and fish directly from the commercial fishing vessels located on Newport’s Bayfront. Next time you find yourself in Newport, be sure to stop by for their signature Crab & Shrimp Mac N’ Cheese.
When asked what advice she would give fellow bankers on pursuing their passion, she lamented, “Banking is such a regulated industry that we get little to no chance to dream and create – the regulators see to that.” But luckily for Charlotte, her parents instilled in her at a young age that she could do whatever and be whomever she wanted, and she believed them. Charlotte’s advice: “Find a passion, pursue it, and it will enhance your life in ways that will astound you.”