Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Doreen Rivers, Co-Founder of NCOyster365, LLC, located in Durham, NC, USA.

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

NCOyster365 is a dual-service business. We do oyster raw bar service at breweries, wine shops, vineyards, and private events. The second part of the business is oyster brokering. We assist North Carolina oyster farmers in getting their products to markets within and outside of North Carolina.

Tell us about yourself

The business was conceived by a conversation while shucking oysters. The co-founder - Tres Hundertmark, and I were shucking oysters on our patio (when we lived on the N.C. coast). There was a realization North Carolina oysters were not getting to other markets. Our oysters (N.C.) were being overlooked and not appreciated. There are several factors that motivate me each day. The first is that N.C. has FANTASTIC oysters! People are not disappointed at our events! They love the variety of oysters we provide. We only provide N.C. oysters. Secondly, the business has grown so much, and I am very proud of our accomplishments. Lastly, I hope to pass this business on to my family once I move on. I am dealing with Multiple Myeloma. I refuse to give up. While I am here - I am going to live and work.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The biggest accomplishment as a business owner is the growth we have experienced. We meet a variety of people. They are fun and glad when we come out for an event.

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

To be honest, the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is being a woman of color who owns a business. The hardest part of being a business owner for me is dealing with patrons who assume that I am the "help." It is difficult when you dedicate most of your week to booking, promoting, and attending events to be overlooked or doubted because of the color of your skin. We are all born with what we have, and I believe one's capabilities, character, and work ethic should be the factors to "judge" someone - not just going off the sight of a person. One will never know anything about a person without speaking to them or giving them a chance to present themself to you. Usually, one will be surprised. I have been surprised at our events.

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

I would say to start a business - do not give up on yourself. Time is short, and if it is something you want to do - do it! Always pick you! I would say to run a business - be prepared to dedicate much of your time to the business. One must stay focused and connected - meaning stay on top of every part of the business. One has to know what is going on with the business to know what works and does not work. Plus, communication is key. Communication is key in every relationship and even more so in business. I would say to grow a business - be persistent, knowledgeable, and appreciative.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.