VOL. 110 | NO. 231 | Monday, December 2, 1996
MLGW class for minority businesses in food service industry
MLGW class to focus on minority food services businesses
By CAMILLE H. GAMBLE
The Daily News
Small and minority business owners in the food services industry can learn the secrets of growth and expansion as Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division continues its series of economic development meetings.
On Thursday, Judy Gupton, president of Executive Chef Catering, and Patrick Neely, owner of Neelys Barbecue, will share the career challenges, opportunities and successes that have contributed to the growth of their companies.
"The meeting is to give business owners information about how to grow their businesses, and that will reflect on Memphis Light, Gas and Water and the Chamber of Commerce and on the Memphis area," said Linda Reid, small and minority ________.
In the meeting, participants will explore advertising and marketing strategies, along with how to obtain funds for expansion, contracts and customer service training for a new or existing work force.
Reid said Neely was chosen because the story of his familys restaurant business is inspiring.
"Ive heard their story about their growth, and it is something that I think some of the people in the food services industry could use," Reid said.
Reid said she also chose the two speakers because of their knowledge in obtaining government contracts in the food services industry.
"We conducted a survey in August of small and minority-owned businesses, and they said they were interested in contracting with certain city agencies," Reid said. "Judy Gupton has been successful in that area, and catering is Patrick Neelys forte. So we thought we would combine those two successful businesses and offer their information."
Neely said, "One of the keys in our business would have to be hands-on management. It is hard to run a small business without being involved in what is going on.
"There are a lot of other areas that I am going to cover in regard to what it takes to get started," Neely said. "But to sum it up, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes, even if its 20 hours in a given day. Your presence when you have employees and having direct contact with your customers is everything."
Neely said he tells people they can call either Neelys location any time they are open and one of the Neely brothers is there. "Thats our motto," he said.
The meeting is set for 3 p.m. at the Home Builders Association of Memphis office at 776 Germantown Road and is open to the public. There is no cost to attend, but advance reservations are required by calling MLGWs Economic Development department at 575-3561.
Reid said she is expecting about 15 or 20 participants in Thursdays meeting.
The meeting is the second in a series of economic development meetings sponsored by MLGW and designed to address the business growth concerns of small and minority-owned companies in various industries.