Page 9 - LongwoodSBDC-2016-Annual-Report
P. 9

Best Stop Carry Out Fish (Petersburg)  Corner Kitchen (Blackstone)


 Joe Preston, attorney and former delegate to Virginia’s 63rd District,   Laurie Allen always said she’d marry a chef. Four years ago she did   50%REVENUE INCREASE IN LAST YEAR  E
 wanted to do something for the community so he decided to renovate   OPENED:  and in the process realized another dream when she and husband Sam   M
 MARCH 2016
 a century-old building and turn it into Best Stop Carry Out Fish.    ORDERS  opened their own restaurant in Blackstone. “Sam grew up in Blackstone,   P
 98IN 1 DAY  and I’m from Vermont,” she says. “We’ve been in the restaurant                                          O
 Preston’s first step in opening his business was to make plans for an   business for years, but Sam’s dream was to have his own restaurant.”  Y
 extensive renovation, but 2008 proved to be a tough time to begin                                                   E
 this project. Preston had just contacted an architect and paid for   “The business part of a company is something a lot of people   E S
 a design when the stock market crashed and the banking industry   don’t know. SBDC’s program was a huge help to us.”
 followed suit. “It was a financial nightmare,” he said. “I basically
 carried an uncompleted building for four years.”  - Laurie Allen

 “SBDC consultant Pat Hood gave me the right information and   “We were co-owners of a restaurant in Chapel Hill with two other
 always returned my calls—little stuff that you appreciate.”  gentlemen when we heard about the Blackstone restaurant for sale,”
     Laurie says. The Allens decided to buy it for two reasons — to be near
 - Joe Preston  family and to own their own business.

 During that time Longwood Small Business Development Center   To help the couple get off to a good start, Sam’s mother recommended
 (SBDC) became Preston’s lifeline. “I worked with SBDC for eight   a visit with the Longwood Small Business Development Center. “We
 years—I never lost contact with them,” he said.              ended up chatting with SBDC consultant Gary Shanaberger, and he
                                                              gave us a lot of information on a number of things,” Laurie says. “The
 Although the project was on hold, Petersburg SBDC Consultant Pat   business part of a company is something a lot of people don’t know.
 Hood continued to call Preston and offer encouragement. “Pat gave   SBDC’s program was a huge help to us.” Shanaberger helped the
 me the right information and always returned my calls—little stuff   new business owners develop their business plan. “That’s the most
 that you appreciate,” Preston said. “As soon as I got the money to do   difficult part of starting a business,” Laurie says.
 the renovation, I went right back to SBDC. I’d never done a business
 plan before. Pat got me with an accountant and showed me some   The Corner Kitchen, which has eight to ten employees, has seen a
 things I’d never thought about.”                             significant increase in business since opening in June 2015, especially
                                                              on Saturday nights. The Allens credit their success to experience and
 Best Stop Carry Out Fish opened in March 2016. “We had a great   the assistance provided by SBDC. “Opening your own restaurant can
 first week—in one day we filled 98 orders,” Preston said. Preston   be a scary prospect, so to have help from SBDC was amazing,” Laurie
 is pleased to see that more renovations are underway in the   concludes. “We’ve been welcomed by the community — that’s very
 neighborhood. “I’m excited that this business has created jobs and   exciting for us.”
 provided a service to the neighborhood,” Preston said. “You can’t
 make a contribution to your community greater than that.”

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