At the end of December, I will be moving to Ohio to be closer to some family. I believe this is a great thing for not only me, my wife, and our young kids, but also for Carroll's Kitchen.
It has been an absolute joy to be part of starting Carroll's Kitchen. It's one of the proudest accomplishments of my life and an experience that I will always look back on with immense delight. I have met so many incredible people over the last couple years and I'm honored to count you as friends.
Let me first be clear: the community support for Carroll's Kitchen has been incredible and business is going way better than we expected. Our general manager, Nina, knows how to run an excellent restaurant and our chef, Liz, produces amazing food that has people coming back again and again. We average 55% return rate for customers and our sales are already 30 - 40% higher than we predicted.
Our finances have been in the black since day one, and we have you, our customers and supporters to thank for that! It's one of the reasons I can feel comfortable stepping away at this time - because I fully trust that we're in great hands.
When Vicky shared the idea of a nonprofit restaurant with me back in January of 2015, I immediately knew this was something I couldn’t NOT be part of. So after a few months of praying and exploring the idea further, I made a bold decision to quit my job so I could focus full attention on launching this dream into reality. From the beginning, I knew my role was to get the doors of the restaurant open, and then we would reassess the needs of the organization from there.
We formed a board and became a nonprofit in August 2015, got our 501c3 status in March 2016, threw a killer launch party with 250 friends in April where we announced our location at 19 East Martin Street, raised over $200,000, and opened our doors on September 19. I'm so proud to have been able to launch a business/nonprofit in just over a year of work because the community was hungry for something like what we were creating.
Vicky and I had been discussing for the last several months that based on our individual strengths and expertise, it might make sense for the organization if we were to switch roles. Given her 35 years of restaurant experience and her ability to mentor the women in our program, it seemed more natural that she should hold the Executive Director title. And given my strengths in bringing people to the table and creating structure, we thought I might add more value as the board president.
So while I won't be here physically as much as I was, I'll still be involved as a founder and on the board. In swapping roles, we both feel that the organization is now better poised for the next phase of our mission and vision. We have also brought on a part-time program director, Theresa Garrett, to help with some of the program and public engagement opportunities.
Around the same time we were discussing this transition, my wife and I found out we are expecting our third child, and we have been wanting to get closer to our family support network. I had been simultaneously feeling a pull to be part of some of the revitalization happening in my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
All of this combined led us to make the decision to leave a city and a community and a job that I have loved so much - in pursuit of a new adventure.
We so much appreciate your prayers and support for my family, for Carroll's Kitchen, for the women in our program, and for the community as whole. We look forward to continue to push forward with you until our vision is achieved: that there would be no more women experiencing homelessness in Raleigh.
Thanks for helping us be more than just a meal.
Co-Founder and Board President