2012 BBQ Restaurant Opens in Danville
Veronica and Toney Thompson, of Winston- Salem, North Carolina, attended an SBA informational workshop in South Hill, Virginia in August of 2004. At that time they met Diane Arnold of the Dan River SBDC of Longwood University and asked for help in establishing a new business in Danville.
The Thompson’s met in college, married, raised a family and dreamed of one day owning their own barbeque restaurant. Once their children left home they got their CDL licenses and worked as a team driving large rigs cross-country. They traveled through all 48 lower states stopping and sampling barbeque everywhere they went. During this period they purchased a thirty-five food mobile catering unit and began catering events during their driving breaks and vacations.
When the Thompson’s met with Diane, they asked for help in evaluating a for sale restaurant located in an area where they had lived as children. Diane and the Thompson’s met several times over the next few weeks to define their list of informational needs (due diligence) for evaluating the project and an action item list. While Veronica worked on writing the business plan, Diane and Toney divided up the action items and collected, analyzed and verified the required information. Some of these tasks included getting the necessary financial documents from the seller, contacting the zoning, fire marshal, and inspection offices. Other activities included: Checking with the ABC and Lottery Commissions and Crown Communications for instructions on continuing with current licenses, and meeting with local bankers for interest in funding this project in the amount of $235,000.
Once Toney was granted permission by the City of Danville to install the barbeque smoker on the rear of the property he and Veronica were able to finish out their business plan. At Diane Arnold’s suggestion they shopped their package to their bank in High Point (where they had their personal and catering operations account) and they approached the owner of The Plaza about carrying a portion of the loan and working for them for one month to ensure a smooth transition of ownership. The Thompson put personal equity into the project for working capital and Fidelity Bank of High Point, NC made the Thompson’s a loan of $144,000 at 6.5%, thus bringing the project in at the anticipated cost of $235,000.
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