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‘Lovett’s Soul Food’ Heats Up with Makeover | Small Business Revolution – Main Street: S3E5

‘Lovett’s Soul Food’ Heats Up with Makeover  | Small Business Revolution – Main Street: S3E5


– We’re here in Upper Alton. We’re about to surprise Lovett’s. Merry and Brad do not know that we’re about to walk in and tell them that they’ve been one of
the businesses selected. – Yes. This, I’m really looking forward to. They’ve got some delicious food, which, hopefully, we can also
snack on while we’re here. – Hopefully, we will get
some of their famous snoots. – I get the feeling they’re going to be very excited to see us. – I think so. Hey, guys. – Hey, guys, we got some news. You’ve been selected. (people shout) Woo-hoo! – Oh my god. (uplifting music) – [Narrator] Small towns across the country are fighting for their survival with the odds stacked against them, but what happens if we join that fight? If we dedicate a little money, a lot of experience and thousands of hours of work into one small town, focusing on the businesses that are the heart of their main street. What started as an idea became a national movement, with over thirty thousand towns nominated for the $500,000
makeover, and more than a million votes cast for the winner. – [Mayor] Good evening Alton, Illinois. How is
everybody tonight?! (people chearing loudly) – [Narrator] Now, in our third season the team is taking on its
biggest challenge ever. The town is three times bigger than any we’ve helped before, and the hurdles Alton faces
will put to the test the very idea of main street America. So, Amanda Brinkman and her team of
Marketing Experts at Deluxe are going to work for the people of Alton, Illinois and they’re not alone… New season 3 co-host Ty Pennington will be
working with the team to rehabilitate the town’s buildings while a whole cast of Experts helps rehabilitate its businesses. Every episode we’ll be working with a new small business, to see if we can change the odds… if, together, we can start… a revolution. (jazz music) – [Merry] A lot of the items
that are considered soul food, that’s the food that the slaves had. – They had to think with that. Slaveowners threw it out,
they don’t want these greens, “Okay, what can we do with them?” It takes love, just
like a sweet potato pie. You have to get your potatoes right, and love them and caress them like they’re your women or
your man, you know what I mean? If you don’t have any love in your food, it’s not soul food, it’s just food. – She’d say, “Come here, Tom. “You the only one that
can keep this baby quiet. “I’m-a give her to you if
you can’t hush her up.” (laughs) – Know that, when you
dine in to have soul food, there’s gonna be some talking
going on at the table. – Yeah, it’s family-oriented. Any time you deal with soul food, you usually with your family, and that’s what brings people together. We’ve been coming to the Lovett’s ever since they existed. – The food is great, some
of the best soul food that I’ve ever tasted. I love the snoots. – [Brad] You go here. Snoot’s a pig nose, it’s
this, it’s that, the other. Comes down to, it’s a homemade pork rind. Like my mom always said, pig is nothing but a big pork rind anyway. I’m the king of snoots. Me and my mom run this joint here, but the family is big and strong. – My father was a pig farmer, and you had to be some kind of farmer to feed 19 children. (laughs) I have 18 siblings. The grandkids, we lost count. I think it’s probably close to about 200. – I think 10% of the population of Alton has Lovett as a last
name, so great family, great family care in that business, and absolutely tremendous food. In Upper Alton, they were one of the first to come in with a full-scale
restaurant up there. – When we moved up here,
it was just the barber shop and this loan place next door. Now you see all the
buildings up here are filled. I guess everybody started believing that it can be a good
place to start a business. – [Customer] Looks good, thanks, man. – Brad’s here all the time. He’s either out serving the people, or he’s in the back cooking. – [Brad] This place was
my grandfather’s dream, but it turned into my dream, so now, I’m 10 toes down, seven days a week. – I work 12:00 and night
to 8:00 in the morning, and around those shifts,
I fit in the restaurant, but if I could do anything, I would love to be at
Lovett’s full time, yeah. (soft trumpet music) – There’s been many times that we have struggled to stay open. There’s been months going by without me even making a paycheck. The longest vacation
I took was three days, you know, in the last three years. – [Merry] I wish we were
making more, of course, but when people come in here and say they ride past here every day, and they didn’t even notice we were here, yeah, we got a problem. This is my life. This is everything that I
didn’t know that I wanted. – My grandfather’s name
riding on this, you know? When I get tired, I just think about, he told us how he picked cotton as a kid for 18 hours a day. I can push through this. Why wouldn’t I put blood,
sweat, and tears in it? – Most entrepreneurs don’t start with a pile of capital
and a business plan. The Lovett’s story is much more common, a strong family, a passion, and an insane amount of work,
but making the transition from informal beginnings to a
carefully-structured business can be incredibly difficult. The brutal truth is, most places never make it over that hump. Merry and Brad are obviously
doing something right. They’ve made it three years, but they seem to be treading water, and a business is like
a shark, move or die. It’s time to take Lovett’s
to the next level. (funky music) Enter celebrity chef Deborah VanTrece. Her recipes have been featured at the legendary James Beard House, and her restaurant, Twisted Soul, is one of Atlanta’s
most popular hot spots. Zagat named her on their list of 15 badass female chefs to know, and as owner of a
successful catering company in addition to the restaurant,
this lady clearly knows how to make things run. – Good morning. – How are you guys? Welcome to Lovett’s. I’m Merry Lovett, nice to meet you. – I’m a hugger. Nice to meet you. – I’d love to show you around. – Yes, we’d love to. – Sounds like a plan. – This back here is considered
my house right here, ’cause I live there. – [Deborah] Can we come into your home? – Yes, ma’am, you’re invited. – All right, let’s see what we got here. – Right now, I’m boiling some snoots, want to get them nice and
tender and everything. That’s one of our coolers right there. We just work with what we got. – Is that a functioning fridge? – Yes, it is, that one’s functioning. – [Deborah] This one works. – [Brad] We can only hold two or three days worth of product. – [Deborah] And to get the best price, you have to buy in bulk. – Yes, ma’am, yes, ma’am. – I’m definitely worried
about what we can do. Looking at the kitchen,
it would be something, I would love to just gut it,
and start all over again. I think some other pieces
of equipment will help. They have, like, home deep freezers. It would be nice if they
had a virtual freezer. Do you guys have additional storage? – Yes, we do. As you see, it’s jam packed. – [Deborah] Your dry
goods, your paper products. – We have this freezer over here. We put stuff in this one too. – What are we looking at here? – This is the old-fashioned soda fountain. When we first came here,
I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was just a
beer tap or something. – It’s not functional right now. – Not functional at all. – It’s using up a lot of
real estate right now, right in your front area. Just walking around the restaurant, we can already see plenty
that needs to be done, but as far as the kitchen, I feel like I need a little
more first-hand knowledge, so I’m stepping into Brad’s house for a crash course in snoots. – Well, welcome to cooking with the king. (Amanda laughs) – Does that make me the queen? – Yes, you’re the queen today. – [Amanda] (gasps) Oh my gosh, like, the actual nostril. – You lay it out, turn
it over, and slice it. – I’m making snoots. – Yes, ma’am, slice and dice. – I feel like I’m nailing this. – Amanda is a natural. She is a natural snoot wonder. Gonna walk over to the fryer, and just throw them in there. When you don’t see any more bubbles– – That’s when you know it’s done? Is all the air coming out of the nose? Get it, it’s a snoot, air? I’ve got, like, five snoot jokes, and that was the best one. (Brad laughs) With the snoots in the fryer,
it’s time to get serious. – You’ve been in business three years. – [Merry] Three years. – Are you making a profit yet? Are you feeling good
about where it’s going? – I do feel that we are
making some headway, but I need to really sit down, and really get into it. – Okay, okay. You’re working somewhere else also, and then you’re here all the time. – All the time, yes, ma’am. – [Deborah] The goal is
to get you some help. – Yes, ma’am, yes, ma’am. – Because you’ll burn yourself out, and that thing that was so fun, that you were proud of, will become like a boulder on your back. – Let’s talk a little bit about, what do you want people to know you for? – I don’t want you to come in and be like, “They serving snoots, and they trying “to be all fine dining.” Snoots are like, get your hands dirty. I want you to feel almost like you going to the circus when you come in. You gonna come in, you gonna feel happy, you might get you a chocolate soda. I might be all over the
place, but that’s just me. I got my new ice cream I want to invent, my fried Kool-Aid ice cream. – But that’s not what you do. It’s like, stay focused
on what you do, soul food. – This happens to business
owners across the country. Part of what makes you a
successful entrepreneur is that attraction to new ideas, and creativity, and inventing things. – You can confuse people. Focus on what you do first. It sounds to me that it is a lot about family and friendship here. I think your place should
reflect all of that. I don’t think that it is. I don’t think it’s hitting it on the nail. There’s a lot in the window, to the point where you
can’t see in the space. The photos of the food, I don’t think they’re helping you sell food. It’s a beautiful space, so I think you should play up to some of
the aesthetics of the space. – I agree, the ceilings are gorgeous. I think there are parts of it that we want to definitely preserve, but clean them up a bit. I think it can happen a
lot in your own house too, where you start to not notice that you have things randomly placed ’cause you live in it every day, but that is kind of that
customer experience. – [Deborah] It’s, like, clutter. It’s like clutter, yeah. – I notice that there’s a broken window, and there are some spots on the floor that seem more like they’d be in line with things that should be
covered under your lease. Have you talked with your landlord about either of those fixes? – Oh yeah, we’ve discussed
it several times. Like the awning, it had got so bad, and he was like, “Okay,
I’ll get around to it, “I’ll get around to it,” and he never did. I called one of my brothers. I said, “Get the awning down.” – How long is your lease? – We don’t even do a lease with them. We just here month to month. – That might be something you want to fix before you start putting
money into repairing things, ’cause you don’t want something to happen after you’ve upgraded,
and in some kind of way, they push you out. I think that definitely is
something you want in writing. – We’ve got to get this
lease situation figured out, because Upper Alton needs Lovett’s. The area’s up and coming, but it’s been a long, slow climb. On our very first tour of Alton, we learned that this
neighborhood’s businesses haven’t always gotten the same kind of support that others have. – Do you feel like this area gets as much attention as other
parts of town or not? – Not at all. We’re in the lower income parts. These were predominantly black areas. – These guys work hard every single day, and like a lot of other
African American businesses, they’ve got more challenges
sometimes than anybody else. They’ve never given up on the dream that their neighborhood
is gonna come back. They’re the light at the top of the hill that makes people want to come up, but at the same time,
they’re not turning a profit. – There are plenty of challenges here, but they all get a lot
easier if sales go up. That means getting more
people in the door. Like the restaurant itself,
Lovetts’ marketing strategy has always been pretty informal. It’s our job to make sure the brand, the space, and the online presence feel as professional as the cooking does, and that starts with a pretty big ask, the name of the restaurant. When someone types in, “Lovett’s Alton,” you are the initial links
that are showing up. That’s great. We did some research, and soul food has five times more searches
than the term southern food. The word soul food doesn’t
appear within the name itself. – Can I give y’all some
education real quickly? Snoots are real big in this area. That’s why snoots first, it’s
snoots, fish, and chicken. That’s why the name was like that. I’m not trying to shoot you guys down, but I was just giving you my opinions. – Okay, ’cause there’s other places, too, where we can make sure
we’re listing things. That’s why your website’s
gonna be so vital, because we can add all these key words so, when people are searching
for snoots, fish, chicken, pork, anything else.
– The tags. – Exactly, hey, look at you, speaking web style language. – I used to do them a little bit. – I’m with the whole Lovett’s Soul Food. That sounds great to me. – From a marketing perspective,
we really want to make sure that your personalities come through, that the brand truly reflects what you want Lovett’s to be known for. Take a look at what we have up here. – Yeah. For me, the colors are too dull for me. I need bright, I need
flashy, I need happy. – I don’t know if, for
me, I saw bright colors for that particular space. I think I would use it
more maybe as accent. I particularly love that vintage feel, and I really do think, in that building, you need to play up on what
that building is itself, because that look is what was made for you and what you’re doing, even if we have to keep the pig. (all laugh) – Let’s talk about the pig. – [Deborah] Let’s lay
the pig on the table. – Let’s put Al on the table. – Is that the pig’s name? – It’s named? Oh, that makes it harder. – My dad’s name was Albert. – Oh, man. – It’s not so much that we’re
against featuring a pig. It’s just, we wanted to
bring to your attention that it communicates
more of that pulled pork, pork sandwiches, and
all these other things that you don’t currently
have on your menu. – To me, if you come up
with something better, then I’m with it, but
if you can’t at least be right there with it, then
I will be shooting it down. I’m-a tell you right off the top. – Maybe an updated version that would coincide
more with the direction of where everything else is going, and then adding some
more pork to that menu. – So are you saying it’s all right for me to bring back my
snoot pizza then, right? – If it was selling,
then yeah, bring it back. – [Brad] Just wanted to ask. – Yeah, I’m like, snoot it out. (all laugh) – I think it’s a great American myth that there’s equal
access to opportunities, to capital, to funding, and Merry and Brad have done a remarkable
job building a business out of basically just a love for food. – But once you go into
a restaurant atmosphere, it becomes a profession. – It’s a business now. – It’s a business now, but soul food came from
people who got creative, worked hard, and kept going. That strength will continue
to wrap itself around them, and just move them forward. (rock music) – [Amanda] One thing we know for sure, because we’ve heard it from pretty much everybody we’ve talked to in Alton is that we don’t need to change anything about Lovett’s food. It’s already great. It’s the experience
that surrounds the food where we can make an impact, and that means everything
from the online menu, to the tissue paper in
their snoot baskets. Deluxe will hire local contractors and work with Ty on
renovating the building, creating an atmosphere that will actually help them draw customers in. Deborah will continue
to advise on operations and getting them ready for
the traffic we hope will come. The Deluxe team will
handle the marketing end. Our job is to amplify the brand while holding true to
who Brad and Merry are. – How about Lovett’s,
amazing family-run business with a cool history. I think we have a lot that
we can do for them online, especially around soul food. – There’s over 60,000 searches for soul food near me every month. That’s a huge opportunity for them. – If you’re trying to look for a soul food restaurant
in the Alton area, Lovett’s is tough to connect to. We need to make sure that the marketing that we’re doing is focused
on how people can find them. – [Amanda] Before we can
get to work on renovations, the restaurant needs a real deep clean. Fortunately, the Lovetts
have plenty of help, and they all have the same last name. – Working in a kitchen, sometimes, you have to undo what
somebody else has done. It’d probably been a few
years before we got here of a lot of buildup, so
it does take some time to get where it needs to
be, but we’re gonna get it. – Like a lot of business, they’re piecemealing things together, so the biggest thing
that we can do for them is to give them a new
fridge and a new freezer. – I think the efficiency of the kitchen will become a real key to success. – [Merry] The refrigerators
have just arrived. I can’t wait to get them inside. Thank you so much. – While the entire Lovetts family gets the restaurant cleaned, equipped, and ready for it’s new look, we have to figure out what
that new look is going to be. That starts with the logo, and in our experience, that can be one of the toughest decisions
for a business owner to make. – We’ve got four different
logos to present. You know, Brad loves color,
and we’re not losing that, it’s just smaller doses of
it, but still impactful. We’ll have to see how he reacts to that. – I don’t know. The one with the circle
around it, I love it. – [Brad] I like the top
left, the one with the color. – I mean, we can go with it. It doesn’t matter to me. – No, no, let’s do what you want. Let’s just make a decision. Is it possible to turn the pig red? – [Amanda] It is. We actually have a take
on that right below here. – I love that one. – So we have a logo? We can keep moving? – We got a winner, yeah. – All right, okay, logo decided. We’ve got a logo and a color palette, which means we can get to work on something Lovett’s desperately needs, a fresh coat of paint. – What I see right now,
there’s way too many colors competing with each other. Here’s what I would do. Because they have so many windows, and there’s so much natural
light that comes in, you can actually risk it a little bit, and go a darker, like a gray. Everything else pops off of that. Your burgundies, you can still leave, because that’s your accent. The other thing is a big awning that’s got their new
logo and their new look so people can see it from the street. – [Cameron] I agree. I think it’ll drive a lot
more traffic into the area. – The people that already love their food are gonna come there. The people that have never been in there are gonna be a little weary of the way the exterior
looks, the way the sign is. Some things need to change to get a few more people in the door. One of the eye-soars that we’re
gonna have a challenge with is that gigantic crack in that window. – As a leaser, you shouldn’t be fixing the structural things,
so we have to help them get a solid lease in place. – Lease problems are one
of the most common hurdles we see entrepreneurs face. Luckily, one of Alton’s
most-respected firms, Sivia Law, is volunteering their services to guide Lovett’s
through the negotiations, so we’re pushing pause on the fun part to deal with the necessary part. In some ways, everything
else rides on this. – The current lease that was proposed had a number of onerous clauses. One had to do with the term. It was only for one year, and then went to month-to-month. Also, if he sold the building,
then he could give notice that they’re terminating the lease, which is very unusual. – That’s the thing I was
worried the most about. They’re gonna beautify it, and he’s gonna put it on the market. – Another concern is,
typical renter provision is insurance for the contents, but his is set up for insurance
for the entire building. – Let’s just play out a scenario. If we don’t get them insurance, and there’s a fire in the entire building, are they then liable for replacing the building for that landlord? – Well, that argument could be made. – Oh my god. Does that scare you? That scares me. Insurance feels like,
we just have to do that to make sure that you’re protected. – I can’t say that these
negotiations have gone smooth. – He has made it sound to us that you’ve been behind on rent, and when that happens,
you do lose your leverage. – The thing about that
is, I could see the guy in the back of the building, and tell him, “I want
to pay you the rent.” He’s, “No, no.” I have to wait for him to
engage me asking for the rent, and then he say it’s our
fault that it’s late. – What? For real? That seems weird. – [Merry] And he doesn’t give a receipt. – Actually, we have this
product called E-checks, which takes out that element of waiting for a physical transaction, so it would provide the record. – Absolutely, that would be
a excellent way to do it. – That way, he won’t get out of it. – [Merry] We’ll bring Jack. – Jack the Muscle, do they
call you that at the office? – No, they do not. (all laugh) – Regardless of the
outcome with the landlord, this meeting has already
changed our strategy. We’d earmarked some of the money Deluxe is putting into Lovett’s for improvements to the building, but insurance looks like
it’s the more urgent need. With the future at this
location less than certain, we’ll put whatever is left into things like tables and chairs, things that the Lovetts can
take with them wherever they go. On the legal front, we know
Lovett’s is in good hands, which means we can get back to work. – What we’re thinking of doing is changing this blue to bring
some of the yellow out. – You really want to be
able to tell their story. Any time you can humanize a business, that’s always a good way to go. We want to get photography
of Merry and Brad interacting with their customers, that warm interaction
that you can expect there. – Also build a structure around it that they so desperately
need to have people know that they can do takeout,
what their hours are, and when they’re available to come in, and what are snoots. Teach me a little bit
more about soul food. – When I was researching on Facebook, they post a ton of pictures of their food. Andrew was able to create
this awesome tissue. Isn’t that fantastic? – Oh, that’s awesome. – Now, imagine their pictures on Facebook, but with this great tissue
behind it, screaming Lovett’s. – We started an Instagram
account for you guys, and we linked it to your Facebook page. – Do it automatically come, or do I have to do
something to make it come? – Do you have your phone with you? I can show you how. We can really use social media to tap into and build some hype around
specials, or around seasonal or different menu items
throughout the year. – Speaking of the menu, what
the Lovetts currently have is pretty long, and fairly confusing. Julie’s working with Brad
on a less is more approach. – The next one says a half
pound burger and fries. What’s the difference? – [Brad] It’s one and the same. Keep the Midwest and drop the half pound. – We got a Midwest with
onion rings at 8.99. – [Brad] No, no, no, no, no, we gotta raise the price on that dish. – That’s what I would think, because typically, onion rings
are more than french fries. – It doesn’t seem like there’s been much science to the food
pricing at Lovett’s, and we haven’t seen any hard financials for the restaurant yet, so we’re sending in Damon Fieldgate to work with Brad and
Merry on the numbers. – How much is a snoot sandwich? – $7.58 with tax. – How much does that sandwich cost you? – That sandwich cost
me, I think, a dollar. – How much does a snoot weigh? – [Brad and Merry] Four ounces. – I love that. I love to hear that. – In unison. – I’m hearing good margins, but I don’t see it. Something’s amiss. – Something else is pulling it. – There’s other costs in your business, so you’re not capturing
the costs correctly in your business, and that being reflected on your statement. I think that we just have
to really understand, what is the true cost of
producing your product, versus what is an operating
expense within your business? Really focus on these elements. Don’t guess, and don’t look at it at the end of the month and be surprised. – I’m excited, I’m ready. – I always loved numbers
growing up as a kid, and I like making money,
so if you telling me I’m making more money, now
hey, you my best friend. (Damon laughs) – There’s a program
called SCORE Mentorship that would be a huge benefit to you, helping you work through these financials, and helping you understand
where your key drivers are. – Do you have things like
inventory control on your books, or do you just order when
it gets low on the shelves? – Basically. – Yes, sir. – I think we can help you set up an ongoing system if you don’t have one. We partner up, and we work on
how to solve those problems. – Maybe my favorite part of all of this is that an entire community has formed around supporting Lovett’s,
and we’ve all done it because we can see the value that they bring to Upper Alton. That, and we love the food. Human beings spend so much time
focused on their conflicts. It’s easy to lose sight of
just how much of our lives we spend working together. It’s been a joy working
with Merry and Brad, and we can’t wait to get back to Alton to see the new place, and to deliver a few last surprises to
set them on their way. – Hi, welcome back, you guys. How are you? – How you doing, Ms. Amanda? – How are you? – [Amanda] That’s unbelievable. – [Merry] I know, a big difference, on the whole block. – [Deborah] It does, it does. Look at the new logo. – I think they’re so
jealous, I know they are. – Let’s go and see inside. – [Merry] All right, let’s go. – (gasps) Oh my goodness. – No more blue. – It looks incredible. – [Merry] It does, it does. – [Amanda] You cleared
off all the shelves. – [Merry] Yes, we did. – [Deborah] It looks wonderful. – What do you think? What do you think? Do you like it?
– We love it, we love it, of course we do. – You do?
– Yes, yes, yes. It looks like a real restaurant. – It’s incredible, the new logo. – It looks modern, it looks authentic. – [Merry] It does look modern. – It still is very warm and inviting. Merry, Brad, this is incredible. – Oh my gosh, look how
great this counter looks. – It does. – I love it. I just love it. Look at the new tables and chairs. Wow. We added a waiting area for takeouts. – I think that’s probably gonna be an eating area as well. – We’re gonna have to turn people away, they’re gonna be so busy. – [Merry] I know, sorry. – They took down the pictures of the food. – Uh-huh, thank you. (Deborah shouts) I don’t know how Erin
got all of this in here, but she did it, she did it, Erin did it. She fit it in her perfectly. – Perfectly. – Your life is so much
easier, I already know. – [Merry] You’re telling me. – You guys, this is incredible. I love it, I love it. It’s absolutely wonderful. – [Merry] Thanks to you guys. – The future looks really bright. – It does, it does. – This is just the beginning. – Now that the space is ready for all these customers,
we gotta bring people in. – That’s right.
– Yes, ma’am. I think we went from
ghetto to bougie overnight, but I like it though. I like the direction it’s going in. – When we talked before,
we talked about the lease. What happened? Where are we? – We’re still probably where
we were when we talked before. We still don’t have a lease, per se, but I think he’s gonna let us stay here. We did get some insurance. – Wonderful, wonderful. – That was a long
discussion though, right? We had our whole wish list
of physical improvements to the space, and then we looked at it, we said, it’s far more important to pay for a year of insurance to take some of the financial relief off of the business and make
sure that you’re protected. – [Deborah] That’s great. – [Amanda] I would love to show you some of the marketing things. – [Merry] Aw, I love it. – When people come in her to dine, they feel like they’re a
part of the Lovett’s family, and we wanted to
communicate that visually. We’ve updated the pig. We heard you, that the pig was really an important part of the logo, but we modernized it a bit. – [Merry] Yeah, I love it. – [Amanda] What do you think, Brad? – It’s great. – Good.
– It’s wonderful. (all laugh) It’s wonderful. – One of the other things
that was really important is, Google actually has a
designation for soul food, so we added soul food to
the qualifier of restaurant. – Soon as that happened,
people were calling. – Yeah, that’s the day I
learned to trust the process. I asked everybody, “How
did you find out about us?” “We Googled soul food.” I said, “Oh my god.” I can’t believe I was wrong. You know that never happens, right? – Every now and then. It happens to me too. – [Amanda] This is the new website. – [Deborah] Oh, wow. – That is gorgeous, that is gorgeous.
– A lot of restaurants lead with food imagery, but
we’re leading with love. – Aw. – [Amanda] That’s why we have
you guys front and center. Down home soul food filled
with flavor and love. We want people to really understand. That’s your differentiator, is the experience that they get when they come in here,
and they spend time with the two of you. – The website makes people take you more serious as a business also. – The two most visited pages
on a restaurant’s website is the home page and the menu page. – [Deborah] I like how
this menu is designed too. It’s a lot easier to read. The photos are really, really beautiful. – Some days, I just want
to bite that screen. – [Deborah] I know, it looks so, so good. – One of the other things we got for you was a sandwich board, so we can put this out on the sidewalk. (hums) (all shout) – I saw that on the grid. I was like, “Where did that come from?” – We made them really nice and large so that your to-go
boxes can fit within it. This just elevates you
as a business so much. This looks like a legit restaurant that knows what they’re doing, right? That is so great. We also thought it would be really fun to have custom boxes for
your fried Kool-Aid too. – Cute, cute. – [Amanda] Then we have,
ta-da, the new menus. – Oh god, those are nice. – [Amanda] The weight of
the paper, the coating, the way it’s been organized. It just feels like a
different kind of restaurant, and a different kind of experience. We wanted to make sure, on the back, that we’re telling your story. Let’s make sure that people know about how incredibly special
the Lovett’s family is. – This is amazing. – It sure is. – You guys have a whole new restaurant. – We do, we do. It really actually
looks like a restaurant. – It’s, like, mind-blowing, because the Lovett’s
name might not have been the best name growing up, ’cause there were so many kids, and they might’ve been
a little less fortunate, and that’s the fire that’s inside of me to prove everybody
wrong, that we own this. This is us right here. – I bow down to your
determination, and your faith. I don’t think that this could’ve
happened to better people, or more deserving people. Now don’t cry, ’cause
you’ll get me crying. I’m so proud of you two. To see people of color succeed in any business is very fulfilling. What needs to happen is for more of us to step out there on faith, and be real CEOs of our story. – We have one more surprise. We love your family story. Brad, you talked a lot about being on your grandfather’s farm, and remembering what that felt like. You talked a lot about your dad, and how much he has meant
to your entire family, so we had this custom poster commissioned. – Oh my god. (Brad gasps) – [Amanda] We noticed
that you had a picture of Grandpa Lovett behind the counter. – [Merry] Sitting on
the edge of the chair, like he always did. He’s getting ready to tell us something. – That’s amazing. – To know that people
cared enough about us to come in and help us is amazing. – It was my grandfather’s dream. Now I know I can’t let him down. I gotta keep pushing now, you know? – This country is not that old. Grandpa Lovett was a pig farmer. His grandfather was a slave. Four hard-fought generations later, Merry and Brad are entrepreneurs. That family journey is
nothing short of astonishing, but it also makes sense. The food they cook is all about creating beauty in the face
of adversity and oppression, and their willingness to
share that culture with us has truly been an honor. – [Brad] There’s no turning
back, there’s no nothing. My grandfather watching over my shoulder, then nothing is impossible. – [Narrator] Bluff City Outdoors is a riverside bait shop
with rich history in town. – This a landmark. They treat you with love
coming through the door. – [Narrator] But online
competition has snagged profits out from under them. – We just have not been able to get back on track. – [Narrator] The Small
Business Revolution team is diving in to help. – I’d say this is our biggest task. – [Narrator] Can the
Small Business Revolution bring new life to an old standby? – I have one more surprise, but I need you to follow me outside. – [Narrator] On the next episode of Small Business Revolution Main Street. – While Brad and Merry were hustling to keep their restaurant running, they put marketing on the back-burner. Visit deluxe.com/lovetts to learn more about how the Deluxe marketing team built an online strategy that’s turning Lovett’s into a soul food destination.

Comments (14)

  1. seriously hope i can go there some day 🙂

  2. I remember the Lovett's from way back – went to school with the oldest daughter, Blonette and Aaron. Sang in a teen group with Aaron for some years. I loved their parents, Ophelia and Feeboy – beautiful people who were full of love and kindness for everyone. Have not visited the restaurant yet. I hope I get to before I leave this world for some good ole snoots. I live in St. Louis – have been for over 15 years now and am disabled so it's kinda hard for me to get around walking nowdays but I do still drive. Be looking out for this Nicholas to stop through. Much success to you and GOD bless.

  3. This half-hour commercial on YouTube should help Lovett's as much as anything.

  4. I hope that they keep their kitchen clean.

  5. I hope they make it and grow! 🙂

  6. Y'all make me want to visit!

  7. Thank you for lifting up the Black experience with such reverence and respect.

  8. That was such a beautiful story. I would definitely travel to eat there.

  9. When that music played when Ms. Deborah stepped on the scene…Hunni!!!!!!!!

  10. I think he was a little stubborn just listen she trying to upgrade you hello

  11. Its was truly an inspiring story and gave hope to be as an entrepreneur, I learned a lot especially about the SCORE mentorship program that I'm definitely gonna check out!!. Gave me hope for my own business.. God Bless and Thanks Again, Keep Pushing !

  12. Landlord playing games so he can put them out at his leasure

  13. Beautiful couple and story!

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