We did it! We opened a store in an ideal location in Downtown Brentwood, in response to all the requests from our many friends in the area. From the time I was a small child, I dreamed of owning a quaint, downtown shop where people would gather, like a scene out of a Hallmark movie. This store is the result of a journey that started with a pushcart 3 years ago, which led to a trailer, and then a food truck that toured this town extensively. I was hesitant to commit to a store. I was comfortable with having total flexibility for time-off, when scheduling my food truck for the many events we attend. Sometimes, things just present themselves to you, and you must jump.
Before diving into this business of serving up treats, I was a stay at home mom of five. I started this enterprise fully knowing that my entire family would have a hand in making this a success and contributing. My family has always been artistically inclined. Someone is always working on a craft project, doing a video, or drawing. I myself have decorated our own home by repurposing second-hand items and refinishing them. My husband is more of an all-around renovator and can do anything to update our home. It was this love for breathing life into older items that got me interested in the show “Fixer Upper” featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines.
A few friends and I decided we should all take a trip together to Texas and take a tour of the place that the Gaines have helped make famous, Magnolia Market at the Silos. We went to Waco, Texas and spent 2 days taking in all the creativity that sprouted from that little town. We obsessively searched for Chip and Joanna. I really had a lot of questions to ask them. I especially love their story. I love that they took their home-oriented ideas and family centered aspirations and created such a successful enterprise. Despite challenges and unafraid of failure, they set boundaries for how much they would work, and kept their family part of their ventures. While in Waco, my friends and I got the opportunity to chat with Jimmy Don Holmes, one of the artisans who appears on the show. We talked to him for a long time about his metal fabrication artwork and about working on the show. I am going back there again this year and bringing my entire family, we are hoping to meet Jimmy’s wife and maybe take them to dinner! Seeing other people’s dreams come into fruition in such a big way, as it has at Magnolia Market, has made a huge impact on me and my drive for success. I can’t wait to show my family the magical place they have created there in Waco.
An opportunity to open a cafe inside the renovated Brentwood Library came up. Many friends urged me to entertain being the person who ran the cafe, promising they would come in often.
While driving downtown to look at that space, I noticed a business had recently closed, located on one of my family’s favorite streets in Downtown Brentwood, Brick Alley. If I was going to open a place to serve up coffee and treats, it had to be there. I called about the space and by 2 a.m. the next morning, I had a verbal agreement to take it over. We acquired the keys a month later and began transforming the space. It took our family 4 months of working as a team, pouring out all their artistic talent and renovating enthusiasm, into creating the relaxed, welcoming environment we have now. In true Gaines fashion, like out of an episode of “Fixer Upper,” at 2 p.m. on our opening day, we ripped the paper off the windows to see a line of about thirty people waiting to come in. That line has never stopped flowing. We feel so blessed and abundantly grateful for the constant stream of customers. We stay busy from about noon to closing. With our current plans to add more food items to the menu, I am sure we will see even more traffic. I have lots of yummy ideas for quick bites and treats that will make us a destination.
With our food truck, we were always quick to respond to a need when asked to serve organizations such as Shepard’s Gate, homeless outreach programs, or school fundraisers. We are now continuing our efforts of giving back to the community with a program I like to call “Meet the Maker.” I received a call from a local mom that wanted a place for her 16-year-old daughter to launch her recently published book. We set her up in front of the store during the Saturday Farmers Market and she was able to sign books and spread the word of her accomplishment! Our family is so artistically motivated, we want our location to be a place that supports showcasing local talent. Once they meet the strict criteria, we will be hand-picking local artists, entrepreneurs, and non-profits to sell their products or educate the public on their organization. Our aim is to allow one group or one lucky participant, a chance to shine for a few hours. If we do that once a week, in a year we will have helped over 50 people in our community share their artistic gifts or interests. Events are my passion and there will be plenty to shout-out so watch our social media pages on Instagram and Facebook for the latest happenings.
Starting your own business can be a little scary. I have always found inspiration in the diverse success stories I’ve heard from local business owners. I am active in the Downtown Business Coalition, Soroptimists, Brentwood Rotary, and the Brentwood Chamber.
Knowing I have the support of my community goes a long way when starting a new business venture. It’s reassuring that we made a good choice when our patrons tell us they feel as though they are relaxing in their own living room, having a treat. We want our space to be a welcoming, home away from home. It’s a place where our community can gather and learn more about one another. My families dream of being benefactors of the arts has been realized through this store. It’s a business we are proud to have hand-crafted together.
Photos By Melissa Van Ruiten Photograpy