Taking On An Existing Business? Take This Advice To Heart.

Is your business under new ownership? These entrepreneurs who bought existing businesses share how they made updates while keeping loyalists happy. 


Chris Baggott, new owner of The Mug, Greenfield, Ind.

“We started Tyner Pond Farm [and were] selling out of pasture-raised pork chops, bacon and steak -- but were left with a surplus of lesser cuts such as ground beef. The idea with The Mug was to give us an outlet for all that stockpiled hamburger.”

“It shifted from ‘How do we move our surplus hamburger?’ to a place where we captured the heritage of an Indiana drive-in, but with a modern farm-to-curb spin and recipes that are both familiar and special.”

“People had so much nostalgia for the place, we wanted to keep the drive-in vibe. My mother-in-law and others volunteered to be carhops, like in the ’50s! The old restaurant had a Facebook page, so we explained what we were doing and why. The respect from fans translated into engagement.”

“Many think ‘local’ or ‘farm to table’ is just for wealthy people. But because we’re vertically integrated with our farm, we’re able to keep prices competitive. Our signature quarter-pound burger is only $4.75, comparable to $9 from a traditional outlet. About 40 percent of our customers don’t even live in Greenfield.”

Convenience Store

Jeff Barney, new chef/owner of Saxapahaw General Store, Saxapahaw, N.C.

“The draw was doing great, no-frills food in an unassuming location -- a gas station! [The original also served food.] It’s in the midst of local farms, where we would get our meats and vegetables.”

“A store like ours -- convenience mixed with groceries -- has a community responsibility. There’s a school next door, and we serve lunch, charging a minimal amount relative to the high quality of food, because we believe food is essential to child development [and] that farmers are the backbone of our economy.”

“Our change was incremental -- first a formal breakfast, which grew into lunch, which grew into dinner. Then we started to make changes based on people’s daily needs in our rural community. The fact that we’ve kept gas and staples as well as hot dogs, pizza and barbecue sandwiches at great price points has been highly appreciated.”

“At first, the convenience-store element took a little hit because we made it clear that racially disparaging remarks and jokes would not be welcomed here. We really wanted to be an inclusive food experiment, so we kept the convenience vibe while adding on good, whole-food choices. We more than made up for what we lost.”

Dive Bar

Alexandra Wendkos, new co-owner of Dino’s, Nashville

“I had been to Dino’s before, but I never frequented it because of the smoke, rats and characters that would hang around. However, all these things created a reputation and a name for Dino’s.”

“Keep the cheeseburger, add a few more diner favorites, turn the lights down and keep prices the same. After six to eight months, we added liquor. I was hesitant, because I didn’t want it taking away from what Dino’s had been -- the oldest beer bar in East Nashville. Turns out, liquor was the best thing we could’ve done.”

“The approach was slower in the beginning because I was sensitive to the fact that people really cared about this Nashville staple. Like them, I didn’t want it becoming something it wasn’t. With time, more people became comfortable. The bones were there; it just needed a little muscle and fat to get where it needed to go.”

“People have appreciated the laid-back space we provide, and the $3 PBR tallboys! Entrepreneurs looking to relaunch a business should keep it simple. Embrace the history, take it slow and be honest. Don’t try to prove too much too soon. By being gracious and giving it time, the changes won’t seem like changes at all.”

Relax Taking On An Existing Business? Take This Advice To Heart. stories

More stories

Restore Your Missing/Deleted Smart Bookmarks Folder in Firefox 3

If you’ve started using the beta of Firefox 3, you’ve probably already seen the new Smart Bookmarks folder that is created by default. This folder can be useful for looking up sites you just visited or bookmarked… but how do you get it back if you accidentally deleted it?

Disable Certain default XP Applications

Sometimes when setting up computer workstations for company employees and / or family members, you might not want certain default XP applications to be accessible. In this tutorial I will show you how to disable the features Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, and MSN Instant Messenger.  Keep in

Join Your Local Freecycle Group!

Since it is Earth Day I thought I would include a quick post on how cool Freecycle groups are.  I doubt these groups will “save the world” or anything like that, they are pretty cool to join nonetheless.  I have found some cool tech items and other items that come in handy for everyday living.  If

My Vista Aero Glass Turned Itself Off, How Do I Enable it Again?

A reader wrote in yesterday asking why she no longer had the “pretty” glass windows, and how to get them back. It occurred to me that there might be other people with the same issue, so I’m writing up the (fairly simple) instructions for others that might have the same question.

Installing Open Office 2.4

Last week i wrote about switching my main OS to Kubuntu and so far everything has been going fairly well except for a few configurations here and there. I hope to have some cool posts regarding Linux topics in the near future. One of the things I really have enjoyed so far is Open Office. We can

Make Firefox 3 Use Windows Vista Glass Like Internet Explorer Does

One of the things that has really annoyed me about running Firefox on Vista is that Internet Explorer looks really slick with the Aero Glass extending down onto the entire navigation bar… and Firefox just looks pathetic sitting next to it. Thanks to the Glasser extension from my new favorite person