We are excited to be testing some products from Born Tough, a rising star in mens and womens fitness apparel. We will be trying out Born Tough Men Core Fit LS Shirt Gray , Workout Shirts , and Born Tough Air Pro 2 in 1 Men's 7" Liner Shorts Ink Black. They also have Workout Shorts and other items to fit your workout model on their main website and also their sister website Elite Sports. Stay tuned for our review of these products in a couple of weeks!
Author: Casey Connor, BSU student
I interviewed Brian Conroy, one of the owners of Bridgewater Fitness Center. Brian had been a member at Bridgewater Fitness Center for around 20 years before he took it over January 15th, 2020. Prior to Brian’s ownership, Bridgewater Fitness had been struggling financially. Knowing he always wanted to own a gym, it was a no brainer to buy the gym he was a member of considering he knew so much about it already. He thought this was a good investment for him due to his knowledge as a personal trainer and from his experience in body building. Brian had to repair and replace several machines and since then, he has been listening to his members requests and adding machines in popular demand. They are not done transforming this place yet, but so far, they have added the booty builder machine, deadlift platform with rubber weights, and a Jacobs latter just to name a few.
Another way Brian improved the gym was creating more value for members through new additions such as: boxing, nutrition counseling, tanning, pump sculpt class, and selling shakes and supplements. All these services are very important, he explains that the more services you have to offer, the more appealing the facility will be to potential and existing customers. There is a discounted rate for students, military, law enforcement and senior citizens, and even the regular membership rate is lower than the average gym membership rate in the U.S. The reason their rates are lower than the average is due to the large size of the facility, as well as fact that the additional services that the gym offers are not included in the monthly fee.
Additionally, Brian is not finished upgrading the gym as he plans to renovate the locker room, add different machines, and resume classes that were canceled or limited due to the pandemic. Just two months after taking ownership, coronavirus became serious enough to shut his gym down for over three months. After reopening, the gym was only allowed a fraction of their normal capacity. On top of possibly one of the worst years for a gym, Brian got deployed in July and left his business partner Keith to run it. After his return months later, he went straight to work trying to adjust his business so that members would feel safe during the pandemic. He explained the importance of working 50-60 hours at the gym making sure every machine is wiped down, sanitized, that certain machines have dividers, as well as any additional requirements and/or safety measures. He has trained his staff to make sure everyone is wearing a mask and being safe. When things change as fast as they have it is important for businesses to adapt and Bridgewater Fitness members agree that they have done just that. Not everything to come out of coronavirus was bad. Bridgewater Fitness saw a large influx of BSU students due to the amount of space this gym has compared to the campus gym, as well as the availability of appointments at Brian’s gym. One of the biggest reasons why Brian knows that his gym is better than other gyms is how they listen to customers. Every decision is based off demand, something that big gym chains lack.
Overall, I think it is impressive how member focused this gym is. From making customers feel save during a pandemic to the purchases of new equipment this gym really does value its members and their opinions.
Visit Bridgewater Fitness Center at:
620 Bedford Street in Bridgewater, MA.
Contact them via:
Author: Andrew Wheeler, BSU student
Silver Fern Landscaping is a family-owned business that focuses on landscape design and property maintenance and is located in Norwell, Massachusetts. Currently operated by Luke Keene, who is a Certified Concrete Paver Installer, he has been associated with his family’s business for many years. Luke is originally from Burlington, Vermont but moved to the South Shore area when he was 16 years old. His father was the original owner of the business and Luke paved his first driveway in his early teen years. Upon that first experience, it was then that he discovered he had a natural skillset for landscaping as his father had. About ten years ago, Luke “went all in” on the business and has been delving deeper into the business world ever since.
When talking to Luke, I asked him why he wanted to continue the business and he replied saying that he loved the design and installation process. He also loved creating spaces for families and creating lasting memories for them. Looking back, one thing Luke would have done differently when starting is go to school for business and work at a nursery. When talking to him, he was adamant about the importance of education whether it be for himself or investing in his employees and making the business better. In the very short time talking to him, it is obvious that Luke is a people person and cares deeply about the success of everyone involved.
The pandemic has affected every business imaginable in some form or another. For Silver Fern Landscaping, however, it has actually helped them in a positive way. People have been moving out of the city and closer to the surrounding area of the South Shore. Properties that have just been sold may need some extra work so landscaping companies are in high demand. One of the biggest challenges of running a business during this time is following the protocols delivered by health professionals. Those working at Silver Fern Landscaping put extra emphasis on being respectful by wearing masks and being knowledgeable of each situation. That is one prominent characteristic that sets their business apart from others. It is a major priority to them that they have top of the line business etiquette that includes quality customer service. Luke makes a conscious effort to return calls the same day. Over the next six months to a year, he is looking to expand the business by making more hires and moving towards more of an organic line of work such as working with less chemicals.
Technology has attributed greatly to Silver Fern Landscaping’s success and growth as well. Everything from social media awareness to the design process utilizes modern technology. Luke and his team use blueprints when bringing their client’s ideas to life. With modern advancements, these blueprint designs are now able to be shared with everyone involved making for a more efficient experience. They can market themselves through social media and connect with more people. Luke also mentioned that he recently bought a GoPro to enhance the perspective for potential clients. The world is connected through a vast landscape of technology and this particular business takes full advantage.
Silver Fern Landscaping is a family-owned business focused on education and meeting the needs of their customers. Luke and his team will listen to your ideas and make your vision a reality. Those looking for quality property maintenance and landscape design should give them a call. You and your property will not be disappointed!
Author: Trevor Dennett, BSU student
About The Course
Squirrel Run and Village Links Golf Club is a company located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The owner is Timothy Carey, who is a Titleist Performance Institute Certified Professional. He runs golf operations at both courses, along with the golf academy, Caranci Academy, that he runs in the off seasons. The late Charlie Caranci is the grandfather of Mr. Tim Carey. Charlie was a developer who built and established a golf course business that his family could run and love for many years.
Why did they enter the business?
Mr. Carey informed us that his grandfather wanted to enter the golf industry because it had a strong connection through their family. The development of the course ended in September of 1992. While interacting with him during our short conversation I asked what he would have done differently if he could go back in time over 20 years? When asked Mr. Carey mentions “The Academy building is located too far back off the main strip, shorting the driving range possibilities it has. But with the team we have working here, we are doing more developing to rearrange the driving range to the full potential it has.”
The driving range next to course, the Caranci Academy is the family’s driving range, with a gym, indoor putting room and 360-degree camera to analyze players' swings. When asking him to elaborate on what improvements they are making on this driving range he continues with “the academy is becoming public soon with an indoor driving range bay and more”. When asked he stated the toughest thing they had to go through during the process of developing the course was keeping the course at a small size due to the amount of acres they had to work with.
If a customer was to choose between your course and three others, why would they choose yours?
Mr. Carey elaborated on how Village Links is an executive course, while the other course, Squirrel Run, is a small course meaning it is lower in price and a good course for all ages. When asked what his number one way to bring in customers he stated, “Our professionals we have on staff run a Junior League to help young golfers start their careers off strong, with the junior league fee these golfers get a discount at our course, allowing a continuous cycle of players. We also have multiple leagues that take up over two and a half days of tee times total, keeping a consistent group of players along with new players joining the clubs.”
How has the internet played a role in your business?
Squirrel Run and Village Links golf course share a website, linked below, but also use a cite called GolfNow. Mr. Carey continued his interview by stating “Yes, it is a platform where you can pre-book tee times at a discount at each course. Golf Now allows around four tee time discounts at each course a day.” When asked how the internet can play a larger role in the company he mentioned that Golf Now could coordinate lessons along with the tee time purchased.
Your future at the course!
Six months from now the goal is to have both the courses stay filled up with tee times and soon to have The Caranci Ademy a full-time lesson center with swing speed training, workouts, range balls and more.
Author: Kemill Logarta, BSU student
Yasmine Zakhary’s passion for hospitality was in her even as a child, when she’d invite everyone to her family table to enjoy her mother’s cooking. As a student in college for criminal justice, she worked as a waitress and it was only a matter of time until she decided to change her career path. She loved the restaurant industry and went on to build her experience with a resume that includes being an opening General Manager for celebrity-owned Turner’s Yard and a Director of Operations at The Farmer’s Daughter. She also gained culinary skills working at Scampo in Boston’s Liberty Hotel, where she worked alongside her mentor Lydia Shire, a nationally known Chef from Boston. Her experience led her to purchasing a turnkey operation and transforming it into her own. With a dream to feed everyone, she opened Yaz’s Table in March 2018.
With every goal comes its challenges and she had to turn a failing sub shop into a thriving restaurant with little money to start with. She worked with what was available, including using a bathroom as her office space. She overcame many challenges, but when asked what she would do differently, she said she wouldn’t change a thing. “I had nothing, but I came to where I was because of what I overcame,” she said with a smile on her face. She had her goals and never changed her values behind them.
Yasmine’s recipes are inspired by her Egyptian culture and created with help from her mother. Her farm-to-table and made-from-scratch goal makes the quality of every meal and beverage fresh and cooked to accommodate all diets. She takes pride in her hand-picked staff who shares her values of serving delicious food that not only tastes great but looks beautiful too. She understands in today’s world of “foodies” that it’s not just about taste but also presentation. You’ll want your next social media post to feature one of her dishes. The restaurant doesn’t use advertising and prefers social media platforms to keep their guests connected with the restaurant.
The menu offers specials daily and the cocktail list has a variety of unique recipes that include spiked teas and lattes. There are also plenty of non-alcoholic options, including coffee using Yasmine’s own patented blend of handpicked coffee beans. At the entrance of the restaurant, you can purchase desserts made by her mom, her secret recipe sauces, and handmade spa products she creates herself. Great quality goes beyond food and beverages at Yaz’s Table. They understand that nobody is perfect but, as Yasmine puts it, “not at the expense of the guests.” To her and the staff, their guests are 100% important. And yes, I say “guests” because they refuse to label anyone a customer and prefer to treat everyone as if they’re a guest in their home. From the moment you arrive until the second you leave you can feel the passion behind their hospitality.
A few days before the pandemic shut down businesses last year Yaz’s Table would have celebrated their two-year anniversary. What should have been a celebration turned into a battle to keep her business alive, a struggle she shares with many other small business owners today. But Yasmine continues to turn any negativity into a positive learning experience. They added take-out on weekends to accommodate to those who prefer not to dine-in and are constantly maintaining COVID guidelines for those who do. Soon, outdoor seating will also be available again.
Looking forward, Yasmine hopes to resume her plans that were cancelled due to the recently lifted curfew. She wants to be open on evenings a few days a week and offer a tapas menu. Driven by her passion for expanding culinary science, she is also working on a collaboration with 10th District Brewing for “breakfast beers with a chef in mind.” They recently launched a breakfast stout and are currently working on a new release which will be a Berliner Weisser Egyptian Hibiscus with a recipe based on a drink from the restaurant’s cocktail menu. No matter what you’re looking for, at Yaz’s Table the goal is that everyone leaves happy.
Yaz’s Table is located at:
1209 Bedford Street in Abington, MA.
Contact them via:
Open Tuesday - Sunday : 8AM - 3PM (CLOSED Monday)
Author: Jeffrey Li, BSU student
Rosie’s Pizzeria is a staple for the community of Braintree, MA. After interviewing Greg Karterakis, the owner of Rosie’s, I found out that Rosie’s is no ordinary pizza shop. If you are a native of Braintree, you know, or have at least heard of Rosie’s. From customer service to food quality, this Pizza Shop is an iconic restaurant for Braintree. Even renown Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports rated Rosie’s Pizza a 9.2 out of 10, and he has rated thousands of pizza restaurants.
The reason for this high praise is because of the food. Rosie’s uses the best quality and most fresh food, like Boar’s Head deli meats, non-frozen meat that’s marinated overnight, pizza dough is made from scratch, as well as a unique pizza sauce and mozzarella that is shredded in house. Rosie’s also has a famous buffalo sauce that is delicious on anything. Besides having great food, people return because of the great relationships with the employees and Greg himself. Regulars are treated like family, and if you stop by you can tell by the great atmosphere and welcoming staff.
To find out how Rosie’s reached this popularity I asked a few questions regarding the history and business of Rosie’s. Opening in 1972, Rosie’s has been through everything from recessions to this current COVID Pandemic. This is a family business, and Greg is a 3rd generational owner. Greg has never thought of operating a different business and would change absolutely nothing, as his love and passion is with the business. On top of this Greg is community oriented, as Rosie’s support and cater to many businesses in the area, as well as sports leagues. No wonder why people leave such great reviews.
The main business challenges Rosie’s faces are during times of economic downtrends like the recession and this current pandemic. With people budgeting, eating out less, and uncertainty of the future, restaurants took a significant hit as sales decreased. Through ups and downs of sales reductions, and vendors and suppliers shut down causing increases in supplier prices, Rosie’s and Greg did not falter. They remained optimistic and did not lay off employees and retained as many as they can.
The biggest impact was when the lockdowns occurred where many people stayed at home. Some of Rosie’s biggest customers come from local businesses and schools that cater from Rosie’s. With schools, events, businesses, shifting to being at home and canceling events, this had the biggest impact on sales for Rosie’s. However, Rosie’s is making it through with help and support of the community and generosity of their customers, but the sales are still low compared to pre-COVID. With the easing of lockdowns and increase in vaccinations, business has started to pick up again and will hopefully continue and return to normal soon. It says quite a bit about Rosie’s as the public image and strong support from the community came out when it was most needed.
A lot of businesses have transitioned to use more technology. Rosie’s has an updated ordering system, where all orders are recorded on a computer system, making processes easier and convenient. Additionally, everything is done in house. Rosie’s is not listed on delivery apps like Uber Eats, etc. All deliveries are done by delivery drivers in house and to order one must either go in store or call the restaurant. I asked Greg if technology would help in any processes, but it doesn’t seem to, as all the locals return consistently. Rosie’s does not have much advertisement as their name is spread around by word of mouth. That’s how popular Rosie’s is - they do not need to rely on advertisement to be successful.
Author: Caroline Hang, BSU Student
My Happy Place Nutrition is serving up the best shakes and teas on the South Shore! I had the opportunity to interview Becka MacPherson, the owner of this establishment. I was able to learn more about this family-owned business and what their philosophy was all about. Let’s get started:
So let’s start with are you from this local area?
Yes I am! My family and I are from Hanson.
Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business?
My mom had actually gone to a shake bar in Plymouth and had wanted to try to create her own business. She had worked for my dad in Halifax as an accountant/secretary previously and wanted something for herself. The first place we opened was Healthy Habits in Halifax. My mom loved the overall atmosphere of the bar, along with the freedom and flexibility to do anything she wanted, plus there wasn’t anything like this in the area. Now for My Happy Place, since we already had a location in Halifax that was successful, I wanted to open up another location in West Bridgewater. Since I was already in that line of work, I knew how to operate the business, plus my mom knew I wanted to run my own shop and so My Happy Place was born.
When did it start? What Year?
I opened My Happy Place September 12, 2018. I actually had the unit from August 2017, but wasn’t able to open until September of 2018.
What was it that made you want to start this business?
I fell in love with the overall atmosphere that this type of place can bring. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I knew that I wanted to start a place of my own. I also love the products that we are able to produce for our customers. With the business, we also do a lot for the community, such as breast cancer funding and Christmas donations, so being able to have a small platform made it easy to help contribute.
What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
I had the unit in August of 2017, and during that time we had already hired all the contractors to start the build. Unfortunately, due to damages to the electrical unit, we were pushed back almost a full year. Other businesses within the plaza were affected. We weren’t able to build the bar, couldn’t paint, so we were basically paying rent for a full year without business. We didn’t have any affiliation with West Bridgewater. I was using the GPS to get to my own business, unlike Hanson, where we had family and friends.
What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
I eat, sleep, breathe this place. I love being at work, since it’s super home based. I love what I am doing to do with the business. I knew that My Happy Place was going to be successful, because the first location was successful. But I also knew that it was two different businesses, so it was also going to take some time.
If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
I don’t think I would do anything differently to be quite honest. I am happy to be where I am with the business and how everything has turned out. Everything that we’ve had to go through has shaped this business today and how we operate.
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
Definitely new restrictions because of COVID, since we are more of a restaurant. Back in March, we actually closed for six weeks out of our own precaution. We couldn’t have stools at the bar, or any of the tables. And we are the type of place that people came to sit and hangout for a bit, so for us to not have that is huge. We transitioned to take-out only, which we have never done before. But now, the majority of our sales are take-out only and people do call ahead to place orders. So, the overall atmosphere has changed from before. With opening this location, we relied on the college students, since we’re right in between Stonehill and Bridgewater State. But now that everything’s remote, we don’t get as much business as we normally would.
If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
A lot of other nutrition clubs will try to push products and sales down your throat. But with us, we want the overall environment and atmosphere to be fun and inviting – from the friendliness of our coaches behind the bar to producing a great product. We try to keep it true to the product and the healthiness of it. I also pride myself in the decorations, because it makes you feel comfortable and at home. There are also a bunch of new nutrition clubs opening up and sometimes if a new customer walks in there, it can often be cliquey.
What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
Marketing, constantly using Instagram and Facebook! I’m crazy about it. I always post Instagram stories and that will usually make our numbers a lot better, since it reminds people to stop by!
Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
100% yes! I don’t know how businesses worked without social media before. We’ve done a website and newsletter, but 95% of customers that come in and buy our product are the ones that have seen our Instagram or Facebook pages.
Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the
Yes. I feel like I have already devoted myself to the social media pages to make sure they are constantly updated. But, I could try to update the website more often. No one really goes directly to the website.
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
My first summer opening, the entire parking lot was ripped up. The second year, COVID hit, so we have never had a normal summer yet. I’m hoping that there are no more giant hurdles and that we have a steady summer with regular numbers.
Increase or decrease, step away and be more a manager, passive owner?
I could never be a passive owner. I want to be in the store. With my personality type, I would have a hard time being passive.
What is the best way for our readers to connect with your team and to take advantage of what your company has to offer?
Definitely social media!
Author: Amanda Ransom, BSU student
In a time where everyone is always on the go, trying to accomplish a balance between work life, home life and personal life, somehow more often than not, our wellbeing gets placed on the back burner. At Relaxation Works Spa, Owner and Creative Director Kristen Sparks, and her talented team will create a personalized wellness path that will make prioritizing yourself and getting you feeling your best as easy as 1-2-3.
Kristen a native of Canton, MA first became intrigued by Massage Therapy while receiving her first massage treatment. “It was then that I realized I wanted to make others feel as transcendent as my therapist made me feel. I enjoyed everything about the ambiance, from the music to the aromas, and the all-around positive vibes the therapist had created. I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that.” She then enrolled into a program to become a licensed massage therapist and quickly recognized her natural ability as she quickly rose to the top of her class. In 2006, after graduation, Kristen began as an independent contractor who would travel to her client’s homes for their appointments.
In 2010, Kristen opened the doors to Relaxation Works as a sole proprietor. “It was about six months into it that I realized I would need to find a way to generate a new income stream if I wanted to be successful, and so I began to interview other massage therapists looking to sublet the space. At that moment, I also recognized my uncanny ability to acknowledge ways to create income from untapped sources.” Since opening the doors as a first-time business owner, Kristen has faced many unknowns and some very tough decisions. “It’s scary, but on the flip side, it is also blissful in a sense, because had I known all the things I would have been faced with throughout my journey, I may never have taken that first step.” To get her through, Kristen gives credit to her determination to be a successful business owner, while doing what she loves and is phenomenal at. “It is my ‘purpose’, I am making a difference in the lives of thousands of people, and by giving up I would be robbing them of the translucent feeling they deserve.”
Massage therapy is a broad category that is widely available, but Relaxation Works knows just what their clients need. As an educational based spa, Kristen and her team utilize their skills and personal talents to cater to the individual. Accepting the First Place Award for Best Day Spa and Massage, in the Best of the Best 2020 program organized by the Enterprise and the Taunton Daily Gazette. Through their signature intake process, up-to-date knowledge and amazing customer service Relaxation Works is topnotch. Give Relaxation Works a call and a friendly and knowledgeable team member will be available during the reception hours listed on their website to guide you with making appointments or to answer any questions you may have. No worries if you call outside of the provided reception hours, the team makes it their priority to ensure that any missed calls are returned, providing each client or potential new client with only the best.
Technology has played a huge role for Relaxation Works in many ways. Through use of current social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, clientele is quickly and efficiently informed of current happenings, while also giving access to her online retail shop. In search of an improved way to fill last minute available appointments and increase revenue, Kristen has incorporated a new AI technology that identifies returning clients and can book appointments according to their appointment history. This change goes hand in hand with their most recent move of converting more robust scheduling system that comes equipped with a marketing and reporting system.
With their wide variety of services, Relaxation Works will surely be able to fulfill your needs. Whether a relaxing therapeutic massage is just what you need, or maybe some R&R in their infrared Sauna. They offer amazing facials that include Kristen’s own all-natural facial care products, that are also available for purchase in her boutique. Or maybe you would like to try out some sugaring hair removal, who doesn’t want to get rid of some hair? For the full list of services please visit Relaxation Work Spa online and give yourself the TLC you have been looking for!
Author: Adrian Frias, BSU student
Bri’s Berries is owned and run by Brianna Fontes of Brockton, MA. I was able to interview Brianna and get to know more about her special skill in tasty treats. She specializes in dipped treats, including but not limited to strawberries, pretzels, cookies, and any other fruits or snacks you can think of. She also makes breakable chocolate hearts that make an incredible gift.
While the COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by storm Brianna was able to use it to her advantage, working on her craft to become the best around in assorted dipped treats and snacks. When asked what the hardest part of having the business in 2020 was she said “I actually do not have an answer to this question, 2020 opened the door for me and my business.” She believes that although 2020 opened the doors for her, the toughest part of the business overall was taking the initiative in creating the business. “Self-doubt was my biggest struggle prior to opening Bri’s Berries. I did not know if I would get enough business to keep going. Assorted and dipped treats are a competitive business to get into because of other entrepreneurs trying to get into the field as well. However, getting over the fear was the best thing that has happened to me.”
I asked Brianna what she envisions for her business in the near future and she replied by saying “in 6 to 12 months I see myself opening a small shop for Bri’s Berries. At the moment most of my orders are either picked up by the customer or delivered by me to the customer. Opening a shop will allow me to open the doors to new customers every day.”
Since Bri’s Berries is a small business I asked what kind of role technology and the internet play in the business. Her response was “it is a HUGE part of my business. I do my branding, customer acquisition, promotion and much more using technology. Due to the internet, I am able to share my business with a multitude of different people. The internet allows my work to be seen all over.” My first time trying Bri’s Berries I was blown away. I was able to try them while on campus before the pandemic hit. Her presentation and natural ingredients made it one of the tastiest treats I have ever tried.
Brianna uses her Instagram to post pictures of her work, to share her work with potential clients, and for publicity. When asked how she gets the word out about her business she says word of mouth plays a key role but social media is her biggest asset. She promotes her work using social media and also pays a small fee to turn her page into an ad in order to appear on the pages of potential clients in the South Shore. Brianna is extremely motivated to make Bri’s Berries as big as edible arrangements. “What drives me to make my business successful is being able to become my own boss. I love seeing my customers happy as well because it keeps me going to make the best treats possible.”
Do not hesitate to send Brianna Fontes a message to place an order for your choice of assorted fruits and snacks.
Author: Alex Karp, BSU student
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Barrett, born in Quincy, and longtime owner, and founder of Barrett’s Alehouse, which was established in 2003. They currently have 6 locations throughout the South Shore: Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Fall River, Fall River Waterfront, Barrett’s at Olde Scotland Links, and North Attleboro with a potential 7th location opening in Taunton within the coming year.
Tell me about your business.
“Our business is food & beverage where our business volume is 50% food and 50% liquor. All of the locations are sports bar themed with an average of 60 televisions in each restaurant. At least 20 drafts in each restaurant. Food business is very important, it gives you stability and longevity, so we try to keep up with the times and give people what they want.”
Why did you choose this line of business?
“I choose this line of business because my father was in the business, he was the executive/president of Howard Johnsons, he also owned and operated 10 restaurants, started Ground Round, so I grew up in the business. I went to Cornell University hotel & restaurant school, and the rest is history here I am.”
What separates your Alehouse from chain and other bar competitors in the area?
“Every location is different, but they are basically the same. There is a core menu throughout, 60% of the menu items, we allow the chef & general manager to change the other 40%. If you walk into any location, they all basically have the same theme - TV’s, sports, bars, fun atmosphere. Depending on the location, we have function rooms in some, game rooms, beach areas in others, so we try to take advantage of the room and give people what they want. We also try to get involved in the community as much as possible, we sponsor little league teams. We do all sorts of community activities, before COVID hit we did a lot of fundraisers. Every Tuesday was a fundraiser night in all of our restaurants. We also supported just causes in each location, in addition to supporting local music. After a year without live music, we are finally bringing back acoustic duos, singles, & DJ’s in two of our locations.”
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
“We have been forced to look at everything, every penny we spend and detail, we look at the products we buy, the inventory levels. We pay attention. During COVID, we have made sure to pay our bills every Thursday at 10:00am on the dot, we do not owe anybody anything. Whereas before, business was coming in, the money was going out, you did not pay as close attention to your financial statements as we do now. Volume and money hides all sins, but when there is less volume and less money, you begin to see what is wrong and what falls short, so this has definitely made us a stronger company.“
Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the
“The right tools… they’re called people. So, if you can find someone within each restaurant that is good at it, and that is the key. Most of our general managers who run each operation, first thing they do is find someone on the property that can handle it and do a good job with it. So, if the general manager cares and he finds the right person. It works. You also have to be consistent; you cannot put out 10 ads every day on social media you know? It is annoying. So, you try to schedule it. We come up with monthly calendars of what we are going to promote and how we are going to do it. “
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
“I think the key moving forward is going to be changing with the times. Outsides are going to become very, very important. There are still people who do not want to go inside a restaurant, there are people who have not eaten at a restaurant, except for maybe takeout, which has become very popular over the past year.
We have always had a craft beer, but right now we just signed up for a thing called “Untapped” that promotes your beer menu. Every time you log on and add a new beer it goes out to the 200,000+ people that are signed up for the app in the area. So, say we put a new beer in West Bridgewater, it will go out to everyone within a 25-mile radius that West Bridgewater just tapped a certain craft beer.”
“The thing is to always have an open mind, you hear something, and you say “oh that’s never gunna work” but… when you hear it you have got to pay attention to it, if you see it starting to take off then Bingo. It is something you want to do. You know, it is crazy until it is not.
With that, are there any final thoughts or words of advice that you can give to any readers who are interested in potentially starting their own South Shore business?
“I think personally, first of all I would not go into the restaurant business again, my kids do not want any part of it because you work nights, weekends, holidays, you know it gets brutal. Whatever path you end up choosing in life, you have to own it. If this is your passion, you need to do it with conviction. You cannot work Monday through Friday 9-5, vacations and all that and expect to be successful. If you really want to be successful, you have to follow that passion and do whatever it takes to get there. It is a commitment. I am not the brightest bulb in the building, but I work hard, and I care, and I do whatever I can to make my business better and I have always been that way. So, whether you are an electrician, plumber, in the tech business, whatever industry you are in, you have to strive to be the best. The willingness to always adapt and learn is critical to any success for an entrepreneur trying to start up a new business. You cannot be complacent.”