OUT TO LUNCH finds Baton Rouge Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel combining her hard news journalist skills and food background: conducting business over lunch. Baton Rouge has long had a storied history of politics being conducted over meals, now the Capital Region has an equivalent culinary home for business: Mansur’s. Each week Stephanie holds court over lunch at Mansur’s and invites members of the Baton Rouge business community to join her. You can also hear the show on WRKF 89.3FM.
It’s a well known cliché that some of the most successful entrepreneurs started out in their parents' garage. Actually there’s more than a kernel of truth to the stereotype. Lots of small businesses start from home, including plenty here in Baton Rouge.
Two local businesswomen are navigating the process. They are Joan Chastain and Shannon Countrymen, long time friends and moms, who decided in 2014, when the last of their litters had left home, to take what they’d done every day for years – make dinner for their families – and turn it into a business– Ingle Eats.
The partners started small, cooking meals a couple of times a week for friends and neighbors in their Ingleside neighborhood. Ingle Eats has since grown into a sizeable operation with a number of moving parts and a pathway to getting even bigger.
Melinda Gonzalez and her sister, Sarah Cullins, have also launched a small business from home. Like Joan and Shannon they're doing something they enjoy and already knew how to do well. And they actually do work out of their parent’s garage! It's there they create custom cards and invitations for weddings, showers and other special events through their company Fiore Creative. The sisters do it the old fashioned way, using an antique letter press printer from the 1920s that they found and had refurbished.
If you've ever had a dream of going into business for yourself, the "just do it" tales of Joan and Melinda might just be the final push you need.