Sammy’s Avenue Eatery is a coffee shop with a small town feel located in the heart of the business district in north Minneapolis. The menu includes coffees, artisan sandwiches and soups, and desserts.
Since opening in 2012, owner Sammy McDowell has been building the business from the ground up. After working in and managing restaurants as well as running a full-service catering company for almost two decades, Sammy knew he could create his own restaurant. As an experienced chef, he was ready to explore and experiment with foods that costumers could enjoy and that he could feel great about serving.
He designed the eatery environment to be welcoming and community-centered. Ask Sammy what that means, and he’ll tell you it’s all about customer service. He takes pride in treating his costumers like family, and he encourages his team of six employees to do the same.
For the first few years, business growth was slow and steady—just the way Sammy preferred as he was getting started. That’s beginning to change, and the business is growing more rapidly. From 2014 to 2015, business revenue grew 30 percent thanks to increased restaurant and catering sales. Catering sales alone currently make up a third of the overall business’ income.
Sammy considers the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) an invaluable resource for first-time small business owners like himself. One of the lucky ones, almost all of Sammy’s Avenue Eatery promotion happened organically through word-of-mouth. However, the team at NEON taught Sammy about the value of marketing including social media and promotions. Using his learnings and NEON’s assistance, he’ll launch his company’s first website later this year.
Coming off his busiest quarter yet, Sammy is ready to take Sammy’s Avenue Eatery to the next level. He plans to open a second location in 2018. The new location will be larger and offer full-service amenities including an expanded menu and more gathering space. He wants current and future customers to know that Sammy’s Avenue Eatery is a community place with great food and people, and everyone is welcome.