Sinplicity Catering had its fortuitous beginnings in early 2001, when executive chef and co-owner Leland Atkinson became a regular client of the South Fairfax SBDC. Leland has had the good fortune to work with some of the best chefs in the industry at Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Hotels, the White House, and Mark Miller’s Red Sage. Leland wrote the Julia Child-Award Winning ¡Cocina! A Hands-on Guide to the Techniques of the Southwestern Kitchen. Additionally, he has created recipes and food stylings, and conducted research for numerous other cookbooks, including On Cooking by Labensky/Hause and Mark Miller’s Red Sage.
Leland came to the SBDC seeking technical assistance for turning his wholesale gourmet ice cream business into a brick-and-mortar retail shop. With the assistance of business partner Alex Schriefer (formerly the South Fairfax SBDC Director), Sinplicity Café opened in Crystal City, Virginia. The name Sinplicity was intended to represent their “self-indulgence without apology” approach to cooking (and handcrafted ice creams in particular). “If heaven had a café, it would be just like this.”
As the business grew, the model changed to meet customer demand, which was for gourmet catered meals. Sinplicity Café relocated to Falls Church, Virginia, and became Sinplicity Catering. Leland and Alex had remained long-term clients of the South Fairfax SBDC, and now they sought assistance on all aspects of business – financial planning, partnership agreements, marketing and growth initiatives.
Fast forward to 2013: Sinplicity Catering is one of the best corporate caterers in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC market. Generating annual revenue in excess of $2 million, Sinplicity Catering now has a fleet of trucks delivering their gourmet products around the beltway and beyond.
After nearly a decade, Leland has again approached the SBDC with the vision of opening another brick-and-mortar store – built on a commissary model where product will be provided by Sinplicity Catering and assembly will take place at the store. These gourmet sandwiches – known as Sinwiches – will be served for breakfast and lunch in the high-traffic area of the Wilson Boulevard corridor. For the past year, SBDC staff has counseled Leland on creating a concept, conducting market research, and working with 21 business experts (and hungry customers) to help refine the menu.
Today, Sinplicity Catering is primed for growth and continued success with the future launch of Sinwich; and the SBDC looks forward to continued interaction with Leland (and a few free samples of his delicious gourmet creations).