Lately, the reputation of Colorado Springs Big Mac mogul-turned-social entrepreneur Steve Bigari (pictured) has become super-sized. First, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce gave him the 2006 Business Citizen of the Year Award. Next, he scored a $250,000 grant from venture philanthropy fund New Profit for his nonprofit America's Family organization. Then, last week, theColorado Springs Gazette
published a very flatteringarticle
about the "famed entrepreneur," noting that he was "one of McDonald's most successful and innovative owner/operators" and that "what fills his heart this day and every day is the plight of the 39 million working poor in the United States." Finally, as the ultimate toy in Bigari's media-attention Happy Meal, the Sunday, February 4,
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splashed a detailedprofile
of him on the front page of its business section. The piece maintained that a fast-food business in politically conservative Colorado Springs is an odd incubator for such a forward-thinking social entrepreneur.
But, as Bigari points out, "Westword started it!" To read our take on his strange evolution from burger king to champion of the downtrodden, check out "Mr. Big," "McDogooder," and "Book Him." -- Joel Warner