Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food & beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ron Marks, owner of Italian Market, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our business is Grocery, Deli, Catering, Restaurant. I think the reason why customers support our business is that we are one of the few places that make home-cooked meals and fresh pastries, cakes, and desserts from scratch. Our product is always fresh due to the volumes we sell. I also feel that we take pride in our focus on customer service. We have so many repeat customers because of the dedication we have put into the business. My wife Julie and I work the business and are in the business every day, ensuring the quality.
Tell us about yourself
I started in the hospitality business 40 years ago. I studied Hotel Restaurant Management at S.A.I.T in Calgary. I have worked in fast food, casual dining, hotels, and presently the Italian Market. My wife Julie and I purchased the market 13 years ago. The learning curve in an Italian grocery store was the most gratifying experience I have ever had in my career. Being able to travel to Italy, listen to my Italian suppliers and my Italian customers has given me a big advantage in being successful at my job.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was learning and understanding Italian food. Every town and region has different cuisine. Italy is like having 100 cultures in one country. When you learn some of the region's cuisine, you know what products to purchase and what to put on your shelves.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
You spend a lot of time on human resources issues—the hiring of staff and the training and development of your people is important but time-consuming.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It is very important to have experience in the business you are investing in. Knowing and having worked in the industry you are purchasing gives you one less thing to understand.
- Make sure you have enough money besides the investment in case there are some unforeseen expenses in the future.
- It is a must to have a little accounting and finance. It is costly and risky to depend on someone to control your cash flow, account receivables, and payables.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Everyone who starts a business must know that you need to put a lot of time into your business in order to reap the rewards. Running your own business is not the easy way out, but if done right is rewarding and profitable.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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