Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food & bev, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristine Jensen, owner of Gallery of Foods, funky gourmet market and catering company located at Tucson, Arizona.
Tell us all about your business...
Gallery of Food loves... Food! Over the years, we have catered Tucson's special events, had the café at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and now have opened a small neighborhood market so you can grab a quick bite to eat now, or buy the same great local produce/meat and supplies that we use in our kitchen to make your yummy food.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?
I've been in business for hmm... quite some time! And through all the ups and downs of owning a catering company/restaurant and now Bodega, my love of food is what keeps me inspired and excited to get up and get to work. If you are not passionate about feeding people and creating great food, the effort and work involved in the food world would not be worth it. I do love what I do, at least most of the time :)
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment would have to be surviving through 30 years of economic turmoil, moving my entire business multiple times, and now COVID to continue cooking and feeding people. It has truly not been easy, but with a small crew of amazing staff, we have so far weathered all the storms and come out smiling on the other end.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a solopreneur?
Two things--Employees and paperwork. Neither of these is easy, and I got into the business because I loved cooking! I did not get into the food world to hire people and get mired in drama, though some of the best things about being a business owner are also my employees! And paperwork was definitely at the bottom of my list of favorite things to do. It is constant, unending, and has increased exponentially since I began my business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
- If you are going into business for yourself, you will have to be committed with heart, soul, and money if you are going to be successful for the long term.
- Be prepared for it to be way more work than you thought it would be!
- Save some space for yourself and your health. You will never regret that!
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?
This is one of those things I am not very good at. My work/life balance is horrible. I have started carving out a bit of personal time one day a week to feed my sense of well-being and spark my more playful side. It's a small step.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and best business resources/books?
I have many friends who are entrepreneurs. I admire all of them for different reasons. But my suggestion is to find a group (I have a couple of networking groups and professional organizations that I belong to) that is filled with other entrepreneurs so you have people to lean on, give you support and mentor you as you begin your business. I cannot emphasize enough the value of having peers to support you.
Where can people find you online?
Gallery of Food
Neighborhood Market and Catering
2522 E Fort Lowell Road
Tucson, AZ 85716
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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