The Advice That Helped Him Get Here

Written by: Grant Ayers

Jonathan Holth’s Endeavors

Community & Client Development Manager, JLG Architects Co-Owner, The Toasted Frog Co-Owner, The Urban Stampede,

What it takes for success?

The path to success is hardly ever traveled alone, and rarely comes without a few bumps in the road. There’s often a multitude of factors that play into one person’s climb to the top of their ranks. We spoke with a handful of determined and successful people with ties to the Fargo Moorhead area regarding what, and who, they believe helped them find success in the area we’re proud to call home.

The Toasted Frog – The first location of The Toasted Frog debuted in May of 2006.

Jonathan Holth has a busy work schedule, to say the least. Holth is a co-owner of the revitalized Urban Stampede in Grand Forks, as well as a co-owner of The Toasted Frog, which boasts three locations (Fargo, Grand Forks and Bismarck). On top of that, he’s acted as the Community & Client Development Manager at JLG Architects for the past four years, specializing in corporate business development. Today, he’s balancing his multiple ventures while raising a family that includes three young children.

His life may not have always been this much of a juggling act, but his business ventures didn’t get to the status they’re at today without putting in the necessary work. Holth stated that “I used to spend a lot of late nights and weekends building them. In business ownership, you don’t get to clock out. Ever.” However, after putting in the work to get them off the ground, he was able to change his position within the business.

“It reached a point where I had a very high-quality business partnership and team management in each location, where I felt comfortable stepping away from the dayto-day operations. I was able to then work full-time for JLG and still stay involved with the businesses in terms of strategy and overseeing management, but it didn’t come without the necessary work I had to put in to get there.”

Over the years, he’s learned advice through firsthand experience, trial and error and plenty of other learning moments that shaped Holth into the entrepreneur he is today. Holth was happy to share a handful of the tips and tricks for success when pursuing a business venture.

#1 Don’t try to be an expert at everything.

When my business partner and I started our business, we tried to build everything from the ground up by ourselves. We quickly realized that by not hiring other experts, we were stretching ourselves too thin and it was costing us more money, stress and pain in the long term.

#2 The most important decision you’ll make will be selecting the people that you partner with and employ.

Everything will fall into place if you can surround yourself with people with the right intentions.

Urban Stampede – The urban stampede was acquired by Holth and his business partners in June of 2020.

#3 Stay agile and nimble and be able to change quickly.

When you go in and have an idea, you’ll often realize that the public will want something different. The original idea for The Toasted Frog was a high-end bar with small plates of food. However, people were craving a different style than what was available in the community at the time, so we began offering full entrees and more soon after we opened.

Fun Fact!

The Urban Stampede is the oldest coffee shop in North Dakota.

#4 Offer non-traditional employment packages that stick out.

Offering job qualities that most businesses have (the hospitality industry, in our case) will be a huge help when attracting and retaining employees. Nontraditional qualities that we offer include 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, paying employees while they’re in treatment if needed so they don’t fall behind on rent and allowing a simple mental health day if necessary. Their health matters to us and the business side can wait if need be. While these are unique to our requirements, a little compassion can go a long way for employees.

#5 Do what brings you joy.

I’ve come to realize that I’m not interested in doing anything that doesn’t either bring me joy or joy to other people. Everything that I do in my career for all of the businesses that I work for, I look for a tie-in at the end to create that joy. If you don’t see the connection, it’s best to nip it in the bud as quickly as you can.

#6 Don’t assume that your ideas are always the best.

Most of the time, they’re not going to be the best. A lot of our menu comes from customer dialogue and just trying out things that people want to see and seeing what sticks. It’s best to listen to others and what people want. After all, they’re going to be the ones coming back time and time again.

While Holth may have learned many of these through personal moments, it’s rare that successful people don’t climb the ranks without mentorship. When asked who some of his biggest mentors were, he was quick to state two that he was thankful to have during his journey.

“I really leaned on my dad a lot. He was sort of a serial entrepreneur, buying and selling a number of businesses over the years,” Holth said. “He’s the person I go to for advice since he understands business and kindness, and those two don’t always mix easily. From a consulting perspective, the price is right since he has to take my calls!”

“Kim Holmes was my primary mentor in the restaurant industry. He was the one that told me I had a career in the business if I wanted it. The next thing you know, I dropped out of college and pursued that vision. I got to see firsthand when working for him that he was always one to take care of and believe in his people from the beginning. That was before it was the norm to advertise and push that from a leadership perspective,” Holth said.

Support the Businesses

The Toasted Frog – Fargo, ND
(701) 478-7888

The Urban Stampede – Grand Forks, ND
(701) 757-0932

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Grant is a Senior Editor at Spotlight Media. Grant writes for Fargo INC! and Bis-Man INC!