Local Roots and Provisions

Lincolnton, NC

First in Tenacity

Neighbors Wes and Deana Spainhour and Ethan and Rachel Herman felt that Lincolnton needed an upscale restaurant. To their excitement, the local government agreed, putting out a request for proposals for a restaurant in a historic building downtown. The four neighbors knew they had what it takes. Each of them brought something different to the table: Wes was a trained chef, Deana worked in finance, Rachel in human resources, and Ethan in construction. They had the requisite skills, but none of them had owned a restaurant before. “At the end of the day, I’m thinking, what in the world have we gotten ourselves into,” Rachel said.

Doing the Small Work

Their building required significant modifications to both preserve its history and meet their business needs, a challenge they were prepared to meet. However, the new restaurant posed other problems they hadn’t anticipated: “When we opened in 2021,” Deana said, “we were still really heavily in COVID and it was super hard to find staff . . . you just got to be willing to adapt on the fly.” The four of them adapted, often performing multiple roles to fill holes in their staffing. “Whatever business you’re doing, don’t be afraid to do the small work,” Ethan advised. “You just got to pitch in wherever you can,” Deana added. “The staff see owners working, it makes them work harder.”

“The biggest thing that [the SBTDC] helped us with was the actual financial plan—dissecting those numbers and creating those assumptions.”

Filling the Knowledge Gap

The Spainhours and the Hermans encountered the SBTDC early on in their business’s development phase as they sought help with financing. “The biggest thing that they helped us with was the actual financial plan within the business plan—dissecting those numbers and creating those assumptions,” Ethan explained. SBTDC counselor Anna Jackson introduced the group to a banker to help them get a loan. Later on, she connected them with a marketing group and advised them on human resources issues. Her experience counseling other restaurant owners helped fill in the four partners’ knowledge gaps.

New Offerings

Since they opened in 2021, Local Roots and Provisions has flourished. They’ve expanded their bar and added equipment in the kitchen. After a year in business, they decided to add a lunch service, which, though it has “brought its own challenges,” has significantly increased their revenue. They use the SBTDC as a regular resource on HR, marketing, financial analysis, and anything else they need help with.

New Storefront

Today, Local Roots and Provisions is eyeing new ways to expand. Once they tackle the logistics of preserving their products, they plan to develop a storefront inside their existing space to sell the house-made sauces, dips, and other ingredients used in their dishes. In 2021, they won “New Business of the Year” in Lincoln County, and they get consistently positive feedback from the community.

Creating Memories

Local Roots plans to develop partnerships with local charities to give back to the community that has welcomed them with open arms. Already, they’ve done numerous sponsored events with schools and nonprofits in the area, including “meals for churches and things of that nature.” But their biggest gift to the community, Ethan says, is “that the guests that come in here love the experience . . . that’s the most rewarding thing for us is those memories that they’ll talk about for years to come and say ‘You remember that one time at Local Roots?’ and for me, that’s extremely rewarding.”

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