Business Survival in a Pandemic

B2U Podcast- Business Survival in a Pandemic

 

 

In this episode, we are joined by Subrina Collier, co-owner of Charlotte restaurants The Uptown Yolk and Leah and Louise. We talk about Subrina’s career path in the food industry, the importance of connecting with your community, and answer the question: how can entrepreneurs survive and thrive in the pandemic?

 

Female: Welcome to the City of Charlotte’s “Open for Business” mentorship podcast, where we feature local entrepreneurs and partner resources to discuss ways to overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s our goal to connect small business owners with the people and resources necessary to thrive as we all move forward beyond these challenges, because moving forward means moving together.

Jerrianne: I am your host, Jerrianne Jackson with the City of Charlotte’s Economic Development office. “Open for Business” is an initiative brought to you by the City of Charlotte to help small businesses get through this COVID-19 pandemic and to have resources when they exit the pandemic. On our show, we’ll talk about all kinds of resources to help small businesses survive and thrive. From how do you manage your business, financial resources, tips and tricks, we are here to make sure small businesses thrive in the Charlotte regional area.

We have a really wonderful treat for you today. Today, we have Ms. Subrina Collier, co-owner of the Uptown Yolk and Leah & Louise. I’ve known Subrina for a couple of years and she is a jewel to the Charlotte area. She’s a transplant here, but so am I. We love Charlotte. We love everything about the small business ecosystem. We’re living in some very difficult times, but we are not upset, we are not pivoting, we are not challenging ourselves to go back, we’re really looking forward.

Subrina: Yes.

Jerrianne: So, Subrina, thank you for joining us today.

Subrina: Thank y’all for having me.

Jerrianne: I know you’re a very busy woman and we so appreciate everything that you and your husband are doing in the Charlotte area.

Subrina: We love Charlotte, the City of Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County, we love everything. The active ways they try to foster small business. So, any time we can come and speak on it, we are up to do it, so, thank you.

Jerrianne: We thank you.

Jerrianne: So, one of the things that I’ve been doing throughout this pandemic is I’ve been listening to podcasts. So when I’m out running or I’m doing different things, I’m listening to these podcasts, getting energized, really trying to figure out, jeering in, which ways are you moving, what are you doing. And one of my favorite podcasts, they always ask this question to the guest, and I’m going to ask this question to you, Subrina, what was your first job where you made income? What was your first hustle? What was your first thing that made you go out and just like, “Look, I got my own check. I could buy my own stuff.” Tell us.

Subrina: My first job was Wendy’s.

Jerrianne: Fast food?

Subrina: Fast food. Wendy’s in Memphis, Tennessee.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome.

Subrina: I was 15 years old and I just wanted a job. I hadn’t worked in food before, but I was like, “I can try it.” You know, I had a friend that was working there. I was like, “Okay, I can do it.” And I would not think 20 years later I would be a restaurant owner doing what I do.

Jerrianne: So working in fast food was your first job. How did that experience bring you to where you are today? And also, when you talk about that, talk about your business. Tell us about your small business and everything that you have going on.

Subrina: Okay. Well, fast food molds you. Back in the day when we were doing fast food, it was very fast, less computer-generated. So you had to know how to countback. You had to already have…you had to think ahead on a lot of things. Less things were computerized. So it was more, you know, more raw. And so, I feel like that molded me to know how to…you had to know how to problem-solve and there was nothing to do it for you. So I feel like fast food taught me a lot about customer service and then been quick on your feet. So now, you know, fast-forward 20 years later, we’ve been restauranteurs almost nine years now.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome.

Subrina: Thank you. With Uptown Yolk and Leah & Louise. And Uptown Yolk is breakfast and brunch, and we transitioned from South Carolina from full service to counter service. And then Leah & Louise is our full-service dining, like, modern juke joint restaurant that my husband, Chef Greg, and I run. Background on him, I met Greg when he was working at a hot wings spot. You know, I met him on…

Jerrianne: Fast food?

Subrina: Yes. Greg was the hot wing guy.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome.

Subrina: So I would go in there to study around the corner from my university. I need back noise to study. And so, I was like, “This hot wings spot, let me go over here. It’s around the corner. I can go in there and eat some wings.” You get a wingding meal and study. And Greg was the guy that was flirting with the girls when they came in. He’s supposed to be in the back. He’s supposed to be in the back window. He’s leaning all over talking to the girls…

Jerrianne: And what you felt about that? When you saw, you be like, “Mm-hmm.”

Subrina: I was not fond of him. I will tell you, I was not fond of him. I was like, “He’s handsome, but he is…”

Jerrianne: You need to get back to work.

Subrina: Yeah, you need to get back to work. But, like, it fostered, the area for me, I learned front of the house.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome.

Subrina: So waiting tables and hosting, it taught me a lot about people and nuances from working at Chili’s to Red Lobster, because I hosted before I waited tables. You can’t wait tables till you’re 18. And so, when I started waiting tables, I started learning nuances, I started knowing what people needed before they said anything. Working, and people don’t, I think some people don’t understand working in fields of service really teaches you about people, and I feel like that is an advantage that we have now because some people are restaurant owners that have never, you know, really worked in a restaurant or they just, you know, put the money up. They haven’t actually worked in it. So I’ve done well over my 10,000 hours, you know, of restaurant work, you know, more so, 30,000-40,000 hours, and so…

Jerrianne: I like that thought that you’re going down. Because a lot of times, when we think about small business and entrepreneurship and even the youth that are looking at going into small business, you don’t always think about the experiences that you have that bring you up to this point, especially when we think about minority entrepreneurs and minority small business owners. Tell me about your life and how maybe your mother or your father put this in you or somebody in your school, in your environment, what molded you to help you get to this point that can inspire other small business owners when they look at their life story?

Subrina: So, for me, I did not want to be a small business owner. My mother owned a temporary agency.

Jerrianne: It was your mother.

Subrina: It was my mother.

Jerrianne: Okay.

Subrina: So my mom, when she was pregnant with me, we spoke about, she worked at 7-Eleven and she was like, “You know what, that is not for me, retail.” So my mom was in clerical work. And then she worked for temp agencies and then she got to the point she was like, “I wanna do this myself.” And as a young child, at that point, I was an only kid, it took away my mom from me. I was like, “Oh my gosh,” but I was learning so much. I learned so much about dedication, and there was no off time, like, it was, let’s get it done, let’s get the contract done. And so, my mom…

Jerrianne: Hard work.

Subrina: …put so much of that in me and she told me, when I opened my restaurant, she was like, “I told you. I told you.” But she taught me about making sure things get done and really putting your all into it. And so, that was my first, like, experience of entrepreneurship because I was there with her. So my mom was always taking calls, always trying to make sure contracts, you know, went through. And that was my first experience. So I think that is a huge factor. I probably don’t give her enough credit for it.

Jerrianne: Shout out to mama, dear mama.

Subrina: Mama did that. So mom put that in me. And for her to not ever work in the restaurant industry, it was my own way. Like, I love food. I love food industry, so.

Jerrianne: And I like what you said though. You said, dedication, hard work, perseverance, those are the things that all small business owners need. But you also talked about processes and systems and making sure that you understand what you’re doing. So I want you to touch a little bit about some programs that you have taken along the way. With the City of charlotte, we offer the AMP UP program and you are the alumni of the first class, so thank you for your dedication to that program. I know you’re going through another program now. But how important is classroom learning using those resources? Because it’s more than just working hard and dedication.

Subrina: AMP UP is one of my favorite programs. I’m not just saying it because you’re here. AMP UP, it taught me so much. It is working on your business while in your business. So, a lot of us are still working in our business and we weren’t working on it. And so, like the growth plan process, going through meeting up, we had like, you know, our group meets every two weeks. Those things were so important. I learned not only from you and Nikita, our instructor, my other classmates that were in different industries. That is very important to get the point of view from someone else that has no dog in the fight. They’re saying, “Hey, this is helping my business,” and I’m saying, “Hey, how about you invoice?” I don’t work on invoices but I could see that invoicing would help them if they changed their terms. Like, small things like that were huge.

Jerrianne: The networking, the engagement.

Subrina: The networking, the engagement. Because I think a lot of us, it’s hard to listen to someone that’s not doing or experiencing what we’re experiencing. So it’s kind of like, how can you tell me? Well, you can tell me because you have a business just like I do. And so, that was important with AMP UP. I tell anybody that can go through it, go through it.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome.

Subrina: And then that prepared me for my James Beard Foundation on women’s entrepreneurship program.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome. And that’s the one you’re in now?

Subrina: That’s the one I’m in now actively. And now, like, we’re doing growth plans. But I already have a template for a growth plan from AMP UP. So I’m going through and I find myself updating like we were supposed to, updating my growth plan. So I’m very happy about that.

Jerrianne: So when we think about development for a small business owner, it’s long-term. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Can we say that?

Subrina: Yes.

Jerrianne: Can we say that, as your business grows and as you transition, that you may be in stage one, the startup phase, but you may take a class to get through that mid phase, and then as you go through another phase, you may have to take another class. So all of our resource partners that are with charlottebusinessresources.com, they help provide that information. So I wanna talk a lot about, and I won’t say a lot, but it’s a lot going on in 2020. 2020 has been like, you know, if I woke up in 2020, I was like, “2020 is going to be the year!”

Subrina: Yeah, it’s the year.

Jerrianne: And, you know, I was excited about it. I was like, 2020. I feel like I’m 15 years out of college, you know, 2020 is gonna be an amazing year. And it has been an amazing year because nothing happens without chance, none of those things, everything in life makes you strong and it makes you better. So when we think about how your business pivoted, so let’s talk some, we don’t always talk about the bad days, the struggles. So let’s share a little bit about maybe some struggles that you all had this year and how you pivoted through that time and how you’re thriving. You’re in Camp North End?

Subrina: Yes.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome.

Subrina: Thank you. Thank you.

Jerrianne: Every time I say it, I feel chills because I used to go to the Yolk when you were in Rock Hill.

Subrina: Yes. So you know our story, our transition.

Jerrianne: I know. I know your story.

Subrina: Greg and I are, you know, that’s not to pat us on the back, we are used to pivoting because we came in, a lot of minority businesses come in undercapitalized. So…

Jerrianne: Undercapitalized, what does that mean?

Subrina: You don’t have money. We only came in, when we opened in Rock Hill, we had less than $20,000. My dad took out 401k money and he was like, “Make it work.”

Jerrianne: That was the seed money.

Subrina: That was the seed money. He was like, “Make it work.” Anybody that knows about restaurants knows that’s not enough money to open a restaurant. That’s not enough money to open a closet. But we had to make it work. So, you know, my city, where I’m from, molds me. We tell people we’re from Memphis. When you come from like a rough area, you have to be diligent and you have to be like, “I have to make it out.” So, for us, it was, “Okay, we’re going to make this work.” And so, when you fast-forward, how can we expand our market? How can we get more people to see us? How can we… Charlotte, an opportunity in 7th Street Market came open, let’s go over there and take that opportunity to kind of get our voice out more for people that have heard of us. But we’re going to have to change, we’re going to have to pivot. We’re going to have to pivot from full-service to counter service.

We did that and we got a lot of love and people and more opportunities, even with the City of Charlotte. Like, I was doing more catering to corporate things because I’m in the middle of the city.

Jerrianne: And they saw you.

Subrina: Yes, people have to see you. “Oh, you know what? It’s the restaurant over there.” It’s sometimes you just need to be in the eyesight of people. And so, that was like one of our pivots. And then when we said, okay, we’re gonna open up Leah & Louise, this was pre-COVID. So we’re doing construction, and we’re getting ready to open. We’re supposed to open like March 18th or something, and the day before we open, they said, the mandate went from 50 to 10 people.

Jerrianne: Wow. The day before.

Subrina: The day before we were supposed to open. It was, yeah, the mandate from 40 people to 10 people. Because we only have 40-something seats, so we were like, “Okay, we can work that.” When they said 10 people, that was it. So, immediately, we said, “What do we do?” We went to curbside. Our debut was curbside service. So we started having, we put big tents outside, we put the menu up.

Jerrianne: And that was the pivot?

Subrina: That was the pivot. You have to…nothing, I feel like life, if nothing, if 2020 has taught us nothing else, nothing goes as planned.

Jerrianne: That’s right.

Subrina: And so we went through, started curbside, and when we were able to open, we’re still on restriction now but it’s still, you know, people are showing love, we’re still able to meet numbers, we were able to keep our employees on. With Uptown Yolk, we transitioned immediately to curbside. So, when it was just us and maybe two other places when the market opened, curbside ordering. We’ll bring it out, we’ll bring it out. It was important for me to keep my staff. They got families and bills and I just can’t be like, “Oh, we’re good. We’ll live off Leah & Louise.” I need to make sure that my staff, you know, I feel like people, they can tell if you care about them. That’s important for staff, like, to care about them. I can’t fix everything, we’re not perfect, but if people see that you care, they’ll be loyal to you.

Jerrianne: And that’s important though…

Subrina: That’s important.

Jerrianne: …because when you think about the employees in the small business, small businesses nationwide…

Subrina: They are the backbone. They are the backbone.

Jerrianne: Backbone of the community.

Subrina: And the heart.

Jerrianne: And it’s not just something that we say.

Subrina: Well, it’s true.

Jerrianne: It’s true.

Subrina: It’s true.

Jerrianne: When you work for a small business, you feel the passion with the owner, you’re there with them, you see the business grow. You could see from Rock Hill, to 7th Street…

Subrina: You get to see the transition.

Jerrianne: …to Camp North End. You see the transition. So how have you kept your employees positive? How have you made sure that you and Greg keep the energy going through it all?

Subrina: You have to keep people encouraged. So, people have dreams outside of working for you, right? So, for what we do, like when we just did the soulful sessions block party, they have their own businesses. Like Oscar has Jimmy Pearls, which he runs out of 7th Street Market.

Jerrianne: So this is a network that you have?

Subrina: It’s a network that we want to…Lola, she loves art and tattooing, that’s my manager up front. You come, she set up her art at the…I want to foster your passions outside of me. Brandon has a bow business called BowDown. I want you to use my resources, because I’m closed at night, right?

Jerrianne: Yeah.

Subrina: Use my place and rent it out or just let me give it to you. So I feel like that’s important to put people in the front. Greg at Leah & Louise, he has Jasmine, she does her pastry boxes because she’s a pastry chef. People need to see that. People need to see that Shay, our head sous chef, what she does. So, it’s important to…our biggest thing is when you’re done with me, I’ve taught you something, you know. Because you can’t hold on to people, they don’t belong to you. But I want their experience with me to be, “I learned this from Subrina.” Whether it be, you know, treat your employees good and try to help people. Like, I just want you to have learned something positive from us when your time is done with me, so.

Jerrianne: And I appreciate that though. You talk about the ecosystem. Someone has one dream and you said, at night, you may close down to let them do something.

Subrina: Yeah.

Jerrianne: So Charlotte is an ecosystem of small businesses.

Subrina: Definitely.

Jerrianne: So if you can help someone else get started on their small business journey, you have the resources that you can provide for them.

Subrina: Whether it be you’re using a small business photographer, you know, this is a photographer, “Hey, I need food pictures.” We can circle our money back around through small businesses. Certain things, you have to use big companies for, you know, certain distributors, you have to use, but if I can use Fresh Fish for all my produce, and they can bring my flowers from Kim Shaw, a small city farm. I know Kim, you know. So, Kim provides all my flowers for Leah & Louise. I get a delivery every week.

Jerrianne: That’s awesome.

Subrina: I feel like those things are important because we’re running a business, so, you know, it’s still financial but I can rub your back, you can rub mine because we’re in this together. You know, we can’t be close right now but we’re in it together.

Jerrianne: So let’s talk about the brand, Leah & Louise. When I go on your Instagram, everything is clean, is sharp, is professional, and I appreciate that.

Subrina: Thank you.

Jerrianne: Tell me how important it is for you to make sure, as a small business owner, that you hire the right people, that you have you attorneys, you have your graphic designers. What does that process look like from when you first got started until now? And I know that’s what…

Subrina: Look, you clean up and you learn. Hopefully, during the transition of people owning a business, you learn and you say, “Okay, we need to sharpen this up.”

Jerrianne: Sharpen this.

Subrina: Sharpen it. You gotta keep your knife sharp…

Jerrianne: There we go.

Subrina: …in more ways than one. So we gotta sharpen this up. So let’s maybe get…let’s get a photographer to do this as opposed to us taking the picture. Let’s get some…and we’ve had some great…Peter Taylor takes a lot of our photos, our food photos. And this is thing, we have a relationship with him. A lot of times, Pete, and y’all can’t go to him for free, but he does a lot just off of love because he saw our movement. Jonathan Cooper, a lot of photos are done just off of love. And then, you know, you go up to him and be like, “Hey, I want to pay you for this shoot.” And so, a lot of things are synergy, you want to have good relationships with people. People will do…

Jerrianne: Good relationship. Let’s talk a beat. Come on.

Subrina: People would do a lot for you if you just have good relationships because I am a believer of being liked, genuinely liked, like good energy with people can get you further than experience. Greg and I are not like university, like, we got degrees. Like, I was done with college after three years, you know, that wasn’t my path, but I’ve gotten so far just off of relationships with people. You treat me good, I treat you good, you know. And so I feel like that’s important in business, small and big.

Jerrianne: So, and I pause because I think that we really have to talk about this impact of the network, the impact of relationships, the impact of knowing good people. In this world of COVID, we can’t get out like we did in years past, but you can still make those relationships. You still have to pick up the phone, call people, text people. How can I help you in your business and then how can you help me? So when we talk about the minority small business, woman-owned, African-American owned in Charlotte, what do you think would be one thing that you can say to other minority-owned businesses? 2020 in a year as such, where you can pivot your business but you’re doing awesome, and I’m so, so excited for you guys.

Subrina: Thank you. I appreciate that, for real.

Jerrianne: For real.

Subrina: I appreciate that.

Jerrianne: What can you share, one thing from your entire life experience, from what your mom taught you? And my mom was a small business owner, she talks.

Subrina: So you know. Organize and act.

Jerrianne: Organize and act.

Subrina: I think a lot of us, we kind of jump out. This isn’t even for me. We don’t organize before, but don’t spend so much time organizing and you don’t act. A lot of us do a lot of planning, which is good. You get those sources and you learn as you go, but you have to act.

Jerrianne: You gotta act.

Subrina: So you gotta strike while the iron is hot. You got to, timing is more than people realize. And so, for 2020, organize. I hope people took this time that we’ve had some downtime to go through and organize. Now it’s time to put into action, to go through and say, “I’m gonna launch my business. I’m gonna apply for that business license and go ahead. I’m gonna go ahead and put that trademark in.” These are things I have to tell myself, so I’m not just speaking, you know, from this high place.

Jerrianne: Yeah. Oh, I hear you now. I need some more of this.

Subrina: And I’m not a structured person, so that’s why I say organize because I’m not structured. You have to know your weaknesses when you’re in business. I feel like some people, we don’t want to know, just human, you don’t wanna know your weaknesses. My weakness is my organization, my structure. So I have to actually pay attention to that and focus on that. And so that’s my advice to people. Because sometimes we’re not organized.

Jerrianne: We’re not organized.

Subrina: I tell small black business owners all the time, you gotta be sharper. Because it’s a smaller population so we gotta be sharper. I’m not saying it’s fair but it’s just what it is. You need to be sharper because it’s only so many of us. So make sure you’re sharp so you stand out. You will stand out in the crowd. And so I think that’s important when people are like, “Oh, I really liked how this was,” or, “how this service was,” or, you know, “I really liked that dish.” You just wanna put a little more. It’s small touches make a huge difference, and that’s just not in restaurant. That’s in if you have a temp agency, that’s if you have an insurance company, small touches. My pharmacy, Premier Pharmacy on Monroe Road, after I had surgery, they text me to check on me. That’s huge. And I live all the way in Steele Creek.

Jerrianne: It’s that customer service.

Subrina: I live all the way in Steele Creek. So I drive to Monroe Road to get my prescription. It’s small touches. And I think that is an important, and a very important thing that we overlook sometimes.

Jerrianne: And then we often overlook that large corporations were once small.

Subrina: Every large business was small.

Jerrianne: So when we think about you in Charlotte, but what is 2021 and beyond look like? Maybe is it you move to different cities?

Subrina: So, we love Charlotte, we love the Carolinas. So I feel like this is our core, you know. And if we do something and we say, “I can open something back home but I won’t be there.” You get what I’m saying?

Jerrianne: Yeah.

Subrina: So I can do that. We like boutique style. It’s just very intimate. So whatever business that I do on hospitality, I still want it to be boutique and intimate. That’s important for me. Some people, their business, you might be in tech and you want yourself to go nationwide, or if you’re in insurance, you want your clients to be nationwide. For us, it’s important to just remain…we wanna remain as local as possible. But, you know, certain things that we’re doing now will call for us to be, you know, our faces will be out a little bit more, which I’m excited about. You know, there’s fear in business, even me being in it as long as I have been, there’s fear but I work through it. So I’ll be scared. I’m one of the people, I’m scared of stuff sometimes but I still do it.

Jerrianne: But scary don’t make you not do it.

Subrina: It don’t make me not do it. Imma work through it.

Jerrianne: You look over the mountain and be like, “Ooh.”

Subrina: I’m the person who will walk through the haunted house crying. Imma walk through it but I’m gonna cry.

Jerrianne: Well, look, you good because I’m at the haunted house, like, “I’m not going.” The only way I’m going is if somebody push me, but if you push me it, I’m going to run full speed.

Subrina: And see, and I think that’s how a lot of us either are in business, either I’m gonna run through it or some people stay outside the haunted house. It’s, you know, what are you gonna do?

Jerrianne: Well, Subrina, I appreciate you.

Subrina: Thank you.

Jerrianne: I got one last question for you.

Subrina: Yes.

Jerrianne: If you could do it all over again, if you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

Subrina: I would tell myself, “It’s gonna be okay.”

Jerrianne: It’s gonna…

Subrina: That’s the only thing I would change.

Jerrianne: It’s gonna be okay.

Subrina: I would tell myself, “It’s gonna be okay.” Because there was at times, I was just like, “Oh no, what are we gonna do?” It’s gonna be okay. So, even when someone else was telling me, I couldn’t hear it. At certain times I couldn’t receive it. That’s what I would tell myself. And I tell people now that are going through 2020, I tell people all the time, “It’s gonna be okay.” It is. And also, the worst, my motto is also, the worst you can do is tell me now.

Jerrianne: When I was in college, my mom used to tell me, “Trouble don’t last always. This too shall pass.” And when I first started working at the city 12 years ago, our marketing lady, she asked us to bring a picture of our childhood and our favorite quote, and it was, “Trouble don’t last always.” And since we’ve been working from home, I took it home. And I’ve been thinking about that. It’s not trouble don’t last always, this too, shall pass.

Subrina: We will get through this.

Jerrianne: We will get through it.

Subrina: I feel like Charlotte has done a very great job at trying their best. They can’t fix everything, right? But they’re going through and saying, “Hey, y’all. We see y’all. We’re trying to do Open for Business. We’re trying to do innovation grants. We’re trying to do, you know, Zooms to kind of engage.” People need that. At this point in time, where not only our people, the businesses are suffering, they don’t have interaction. We thrive off of people interaction. People water us.

Jerrianne: We’re humans.

Subrina: Yes. Other humans water us and so we need that. And so, I feel like Charlotte has done an amazing job at that.

Jerrianne: Well, thank you. Thank you for being in the Charlotte area.

Subrina: Thank you. Thank you.

Jerrianne: We so appreciate it. openforbusiness.com, we always have that resource for you, charlottebusinessresources.com. We’re here for our small businesses, we wanna be here for the community. And a couple of highlights that I wanna make sure that I point out that you said and I want you to close with, tell us where your business is located, that is all about the networking and engagement. You gave a shout out to a lot of small businesses, what I so love, because we’re not in it alone, you’re not in it alone, it’s people around you that help you. So it’s about having those relationships, good relationships. Bad experiences make you better, so we don’t run away from the bad relationships.

Subrina: You don’t like them but you keep them.

Jerrianne: But you keep them.

Subrina: Yes.

Jerrianne: So it’s the relationships, it’s the structure. It’s knowing how to run your business. And you know how to run your business because you’re engaged in different programs, AMP UP Charlotte, the Beard program that you’re in now.

Subrina: And I want to point out, you are never at the epitome of your business. You can always learn.

Jerrianne: You can always learn.

Subrina: So I wanna point that out because I feel like sometimes, we get in our business to a certain point, we’re like, “Oh, I know everything.” No, you can always learn because there’s so many different mindsets and perspectives.

Jerrianne: There’s so many different things.

Subrina: And so, you can always learn something.

Jerrianne: The Women’s Business Center, they have a lot of podcasts, a lot of different things. Natalie’s on Instagram. I’m on Instagram, I’m sitting there listening to Natalie. I’m like, “I wanna learn. I wanna be engaged.”

Subrina: You wanna learn.

Jerrianne: Because we should be sponges as humans and always learning. The Latin American Chamber, they’re doing some awesome things. The Black Chamber, National Black MBA, a lot of great programs that small business owners have to attach to. If you can’t go during the day, if you’re awake 3:00 in the morning, if you’re a high-energy person, turn on the podcast.

Subrina: Just listen to it.

Jerrianne: Just listen to it. Be engaged.

Subrina: Even listen to it while you’re going to sleep. Just get it on something going. Listening to City Council meetings when they’re on the, you know, that’s huge, it’s big to do. I do that sometimes when I’m cleaning up. I don’t need to see your face, the messenger don’t matter, I just need to hear it. And so…

Jerrianne: Always learning.

Subrina: Always learning.

Jerrianne: Always learning, always engaged, and making sure that in your business, you have the key, the CPA, the attorney, and then one thing that you talked about today…

Subrina: A bookkeeper is important.

Jerrianne: Yes, the bookkeeper…

Subrina: A bookkeeper is important. I can’t tell people enough. I have to tell myself, a bookkeeper is important because you need to know. Everything comes down to numbers, everything.

Jerrianne: But then think about things like COVID, when it hit and the grants came out, they asked for your books and you need them. You need them.

Subrina: You need a profit and loss statement. If you have nothing else, you need to know this is what I’m coming at. You need your payroll statements. And I know it’s hard at times and it’s hard for people to be like, “Man, I can’t afford payroll. I can’t afford an accountant.” Just get what you can.

Jerrianne: Get what you can.

Subrina: As far as even cleaning up the business, like when you’re cleaning up your social media pages. You know, paying for PR, you don’t have to get the highest level they have. “Hey, do you have a package that I can pay for this month?”

Jerrianne: Or you can barter.

Subrina: You can barter.

Jerrianne: And you can barter.

Subrina: Because, depending on how your business is, I’m helping you like you’re helping me. So I feel like those things are important. They’re like the food is the meal, right? But you need these apps on the side and the cherry on top. You need that.

Jerrianne: You need everything.

Subrina: You need that. You need that coke on the side. So I feel like that’s important, just as much as the dish is, you need those other things to make your meal complete.

Jerrianne: And to make your small business grow.

Subrina: Yes.

Jerrianne: To scale, scale up.

Subrina: Scale up. We learned that at AMP UP.

Jerrianne: Scale it up.

Subrina: We learned to scale.

Jerrianne: So where can we find you? Tell us about your hours, social media, where are you looking?

Subrina: We are Uptown Yolk, which is breakfast and brunch. Right now, we’re on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We have curbside and counter kiosk. What we pivoted to over there was, as opposed to having someone at the counter with contact, people can self-order on the kiosk and we set it on the counter, or we just bring it out to the car. So we want people to feel safe.

Jerrianne: You said Monday, Thursday?

Subrina: No, we’re Friday, Saturday, Sunday…

Jerrianne: Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Okay.

Subrina: …10 a.m. to 2 p.m. And holiday hours may vary, but we’ll keep that updated. Instagram is Uptown Yolk, and Facebook is Uptown Yolk. And for Leah & Louise, over there, we’re open, we’re closed on Monday, Tuesday, so Wednesday through Sunday. Right now, we’re transitioning. We’re like Wednesday, Thursday, 5 to 9, and then Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 6 to 10. So, we have…

Jerrianne: Can you make reservations?

Subrina: You can make reservations if you go to leahandlouise.com. You can make a reservation or Resy. Wednesday is walk-in Wednesday, so we make it so people can come in and, you know, you don’t have to have a reservation. We’re still on COVID restriction, so, you know, we can still only have 20-something people inside, and we take that serious. So, just make sure, I tell people to do a reservation if you can.

Jerrianne: Awesome. With that…

Subrina: And that’s at 301 Camp Road, Leah & Louise, and Uptown Yolk is 224 East 7th Street.

Jerrianne: Well, thank you.

Subrina: Thank you.

Jerrianne: Next time, you gotta bring Greg.

Subrina: I will.

Jerrianne: You already told the story about…

Subrina: I have to have him working. He gotta do the other work, so, yeah. And this is, you know, right now, you know, this is a high energy time right now, especially today, so.

Jerrianne: Listen, well, you know, I would hug you but since we can’t hug, we’re gonna do a little… Until next time, Subrina.

Subrina: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Jerrianne: Thank you ma’am. I’m glad to have you. Thank you for joining us on today’s podcast. We are so thankful to have Ms. Subrina Collier here. If you are interested in future podcasts, please like our podcast, share what you would like to hear on charlottebusinessresources.com. We are so thankful for everything our small businesses and entrepreneurs are doing in the Charlotte area and we look forward to future engagement and come back and hear all the future podcasts on charlottebusinessresources.com. Until next time, I am Jerrianne Jackson with the City of Charlotte.


The B2U Podcast is now available on YouTube! Watch today’s episode below, or click here for additional small business interviews.

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