Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Peter Chehadeh, owner of Grlk, LLC, located in St. Paul, MN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Grlk is a handmade Lebanese garlic condiment business made from a family recipe. We occupy the refrigerated CPG section of grocery stores nationwide. Our customers are people who seek food diversity in their everyday meals or individuals who have dietary restrictions but don't want to sacrifice flavor or quality.

Tell us about yourself

I've always had this "lone wolf" attitude when working. It came ahead when I lost my job as a kitchen designer and saw an opportunity to start my own business. I landed on starting Grlk LLC as I grew up eating toom (a Lebanese garlic condiment). I would watch my mom make it for dinners, and our guests would always ask to take some home with them. I got the idea to test the market, and the rest is history.

Hearing from supporters that they have never tasted something so good or that they can finally enjoy their favorite meal again brings a sense of accomplishment and joy, which allows me to get up in the morning and do it all over again.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

This may seem a little weird, but Im proud that Grlk is still in business after nine years. Many small businesses fail within the first three years of business. The fact that we have been able to go from selling at local MN farmers markets to selling our products in over 300 grocery retailers like Wegmans, Moms Organic, and New Seasons Market. Long hours and trusting my intuition have allowed Grlk to succeed, but you can't become complacent. Keep moving forward.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The buck stops with you. At the end of the day, everything your business represents is a reflection of you. You carry the weight of your business on your shoulders every day, especially when your business involves family or a personal connection. A business failure can easily translate to a personal one if you let it.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The #1 thing I tell people who wanna start a CPG food business is to do research, and when you think you've done enough, do some more to fully understand what it takes to run a business. You learn on the job, but being prepared for that is very important.

Also, failure isn't failure unless it's a failure. What that means is you need to know when to call it. Some failures you can rebound from and is a lesson in learning. Other failures you can't recover from, or continued failures are a sign of an unhealthy business.

The third thing I tend to tell people is to have blinders. Like a racehorse, they use eye blinders so the horse keeps looking forward and doesn't get distracted by what's next to it. The same is true in business. Define your end goal, stay focused on the path to accomplish that goal, and achieve said goal. This doesn't mean you can't adjust along the way. It just means you should get distracted with things/ideas/people that don't contribute to your end goal. Business is just a set of goals that you try to obtain.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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