Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristen Sumpter, Founder of Red's Beer Garden, located in Atlanta, GE, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I opened Red's Beer Garden with my husband and business partner, Edward, in January 2020. Red's is a counter-service restaurant in the Benteen Park neighborhood of Atlanta, GA. We sell hot dogs, sandwiches, and over 250 types of beer, wine, cider, mead, seltzer, and non-alcoholic options. We are family and dog friendly, and throughout the year, we offer events such as trivia, punk bingo, and even a hotdog eating competition. We have a very hyper-local customer base, with a large portion of our customers being less than a mile from our brick-and-mortar.
Tell us about yourself
After moving to Atlanta and working my dream job for 4 years, I realized I wanted to do more with my life - I wanted to give back to my community by creating a safe and casual space where people could connect. We have amazing breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants, but a watering hole with self-serve coolers did not exist in Atlanta. I introduced myself to neighborhood meetings and found neighbors in Benteen Park were looking for the same thing - a backyard they could call home. The rest is history. While I'm an (outgoing) introvert in every way, the people of Red's keep me motivated. I try to provide the best job to our employees, the highest customer service to our guests, and the most inclusive spot for our neighbors.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am so proud of the culture we have created behind the scenes at Reds. We have a small, incredible staff of 8 people who have told us the work culture is one of the main reasons they have stayed with us. Prioritizing our employees' work/life balance, paying them a fair wage, including them in the discussion of several company changes, and ultimately listening to their concerns have gone a long way at Red's. Happy employees equal happy owners and happy customers!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Sometimes my other roles (and hobbies) in life - a wife, a daughter, a friend - easily get pushed to the side if I don't continually prioritize them in my life. In the past, it wasn't until I realized I was burnt out that I would sit down and re-prioritize my days and weeks. With a life coach, alone time/meditation, and time, I've been able to integrate the other loves of my life more naturally than in the past. I'm even starting to get obsessed with gardening!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Sit down and have a coffee or a beer with at least one entrepreneur who has a business similar to yours. Ask them questions, listen to their highs and lows, and get a better understanding of what leading a business looks like.
- Do one thing for yourself, not the business, every day. For me, I love to go on a quick run and talk myself through my emotions and my goals or just meditate and feel connected with the moment.
- At least, at first, meet regularly with a life coach/therapist. It is worth every penny.
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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