Hitting the Big Time

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, the Colorado Springs Gazette published a very flattering article 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, New York Times splashed a detailed profile 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

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts