• Charlsie Pecoraro

Locals Supporting Locals in Baton Rouge, Mobile & Baldwin County!

Isn't it interesting that suddenly the shift to supporting local farmers, restaurants, retailers and others has become top of mind for many of us? My Meet da' Boss platform is built on the foundation of supporting privately owned businesses. Let's explore how many of these entrepreneurs have dealt with the changes to their daily operations.

Recently, I spent some time on the phone with my older sister who resides in Georgia. Over the past couple of weeks her intent has been to find local meat & vegetable sources instead of shopping at box stores for groceries. I am happy to share with you that she has been very successful!


Fortunately for us, the coast offers many options. I'll share some of my favorites with links below for you!


Baton Rouge


The Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge was a Saturday destination for me when I lived in the area. In order to accommodate customers during Co-Vid, creativity abounded. They actually developed a drive thru market! Regular vendors like my friend Anne Milneck, owner of Red Stick Spice Company and culinary trained chef, rolled up her sleeves and started teaching all of us how to cook on Facebook live. She has kept so many of us in self-isolation entertained with her "real life" persona in the kitchen. I have been making a list of all the things that I must purchase at her store when I return to Baton Rouge. Not only does she participate in the Farmer's Market, she also has her own retail location on Jefferson Highway in Mid-City. Meanwhile I do have the option of ordering online! There is a monthly spice club subscription that is calling my name!


Abby at Wanderlust introduced me to the beautiful Mimosa Handcrafted Jewelry Line created by Madeline & Dawson Ellis. They created a "hug" ring with the desire to raise donations for the Baton Rouge Emergency Aid Coalition. The community response has been incredible and the campaign continues. My daughter, Amy, and I are loving our hug rings we got for Mother's Day.


Ellen Pino, owner of Avant Tous Beauty Bar & Spa was so helpful offering beauty "emergency" tip videos on social media for everyone self-isolating. This week she has been able to reopen the doors to her spas and I know that the women of Baton Rouge are so appreciative!




Meredith Waguespack, owner of Sweet Baton Rouge, a t-shirt company, is no stranger to helping others in need. Recently she introduced a line of shirts & accessories specifically aimed at supporting other locally owned businesses. Be sure to check out this unique clothing company.


Emelie Alton at Bistro Byronz and Jim Uridales at Mestizo's brought their restaurant fare to local neighborhoods. These enterprising owners created family pack options and centralized distribution spots to accommodate their patrons. I am so happy that both of these long time Baton Rouge establishments are gradually reopening for dining!


There are countless stories about how creative owners have made lemonade out of lemons during the pandemic in Baton Rouge. I urge you to support them when you can.


 

Mobile


My friend, Brooke Goff, owner of Domke Market has more inventiveness than most people I know! Instead of getting down about the effects that the shut downs were certain to have on her wine bar & gourmet shop, she took action! One of the most popular ventures was a "drive through" Sunday brunch where you'd find 60 or more cars lined up in her parking lot ready to pick up a fabulous meal! She was mindful about partnering with other locally owned businesses including Meredith Simmerman at Reney's Honey Butter. Meredith opened a curb delivery service for her specialty business and went on to create all sorts of packages including a monthly Bread & Butter Club.


I've been buying fresh seafood from Cecil Barnes, owner of Shrimp by the Pound for years. This Bayou La Batre native has been shrimping all of his life and his seafood is top notch! He has been doing pop-up selling long before it ever became a trend. His corner location on Cottage Hill and Schillinger Road hasn't changed since I moved here 5 years ago.


There are a couple of excellent meat markets in Mobile. I have bought from both Mosley's Meats and South Alabama Custom Meats. Both of them are certainly worth checking out. South Alabama has marrow bones available for making broth or spoiling your canine kids. Mosley's has a second location in Baldwin County!


If you are in search of fruit, vegetables, farm eggs and beautiful plants, then my friend Nancy, owner of Ted & Nancy's Fruit Stand has got what you need! She also carries local honey, Reney's Honey Butter and more locally produced items.


I have been amazed at how business owners who were accustomed to meeting face to face with clients have adapted to utilizing other means to connect. Ashley Scarbrough, skin care specialist & colorist, has become a expert at virtual consultations. The team at Synergy Realty Group, Keller William Mobile Realty, have mastered the fine art of selling & closing real estate deals while practicing social distancing. CPA'a Paula Waldo & Richard Lindsey have seen a big increase in their client base with the roll out of PPP & EIDL loans. They have been able to handle so much of their tasks over the phone at Lindsey & Waldo, LLC.


Play Cafe Mobile Owner, Sydney Loper has been a HUGE resource for parents at home with their littles. Her new business has been closed since March due to Co-Vid. We are so excited that she is offering summer camps beginning in June.



Kyle's Kitchen Food Truck jumped on the neighborhood bandwagon and set the trend for so many other small businesses like their's. If you visit, track this one down and order a Turkey Ham Tumble Wrap...their meats are from South Alabama Custom Meats! They were a big hit in our area!


My friends out at The Hickory Pit were quick to offer curb side service in addition to their regular drive thru once the dine-in option was curtailed. This southern cooking restaurant has been a mainstay in the area for decades. Brandon Van Hook, owner, and Derek Smith, manager, have done everything possible to feed the community breakfast, lunch & dinner 7 days a week.


Be sure to spend some time on this site exploring all of the local Mobile County businesses. These owners have pulled together to help one another survive over the past few months. Trust me they appreciate each and every one of you.


 

Balwin County


Kassie Gundlach and her team at Back on the Rack in Fairhope managed to make the best out of a challenging situation at her boutique. Videos and social media posts were the key to keep revenue flowing. She offered shipping and curbside service for her customers. She shared that practically everything they featured on social media sold the same day. Ladies if you are looking for investment pieces at a fraction of the retail price, this is your boutique! The store has been remodeled and I must say I love the "facelift"!




Next door to Kassie's place, Julwin's Restaurant reinvented itself as a little grocery spot for the locals. Owner, David Julwin, was determined to take care of this very tight-knit area. The next time you are in Fairhope, stop in and order the legendary fish tacos. They are the BEST I have ever had anywhere.


Real estate has not slowed down in this market. Heather Loper and her team have been working to find the perfect beach properties for buyers. Although they handle properties all over Baldwin County, Orange Beach is her home so she's got the insider's tips! I've enjoyed seeing all of the closings she has posted with proper social distancing going on.


Her good friends and restaurant owners, Ginny & Lane Gilbert created Family Meals for 4 at Villaggio and Ginny Lane. These popular restaurants located at The Wharf would normally be filled to capacity right now. During social isolation, they offered some incredible deals, plus pizza for the littles. I must admit that I picked a couple of meals and they were incredible.


Lisa Harkey at Alacoast Insurance Agency and Acme Pressure Washing have embraced the Baldwin market as their own. Lisa and her team are talented at finding the most insurance coverage for the $ for their clients. Daniel Lopez and Jeff Yoe have brought their state of the art cleaning equipment to both commercial and residential clients in the area. Be sure to read all about them on the website.



 

This week in lieu of one Boss of the Week, I want to recognize every local business owner that has made the necessary adjustments to this very unexpected time in our lives. It has been stressful and at time scary for most of them. I applaud the bulldog tenacity that I am seeing and I believe that all of us will become better versions or ourselves. ~Charlsie