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Five Businesses Born at a Bar

The back-of-the-napkin business plan is not just a myth. Here are just a few examples of business ideas that took shape over drinks.

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This story appears in the July 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Once in a while, the drinks let loose a sparkler of an idea and a cocktail napkin takes a turn as notebook. We went looking for entrepreneurial ideas conceived at bars. Here's what we found.

1. When the green chiles they'd ordered from their native New Mexico didn't arrive at their home in Tampa, Fla., Allison Rugen and Carlo Marchiondo made a logical next move. "We walked across the street to a local bar to drown our sorrows," Rugen says. "Up on our semi-drunken high horses, we ranted about the superior job we would do as chile distributors." Then--on a cocktail napkin they still have--the duo jotted down the plan for Southwest Chile Supply, a company that now includes restaurants, wholesale accounts and chile merchandise. 

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