Following ten years of working at some of the region’s finest establishments, SCORE client Corey Fletcher realized his dream of opening a restaurant of his own in January 2017. Today, Revival Kitchen & Bar continues to thrive in downtown Concord, where Fletcher serves New England and Old World classic dishes from locally sourced ingredients.
Pursuing a Dream
With a solid reputation in the industry and experience in both culinary cuisine and food and beverage management, Fletcher decided to venture out on his own. “Most chefs always have a long-term goal of opening their restaurant in the back of their mind,” he explains. “There were no true farm-to-table restaurants like this in Concord. I felt like I was filling a niche and it seemed like a great time to get in on the ground floor of the city’s growth,” he said, pointing out that, with the recent Main Street renovations, Concord is becoming a vibrant food scene.
Partnering with SCORE
“Corey had a lot going for him, including a solid reputation in the industry, over 15 years of experience, and a great restaurant theme,” Calvano points out. “But securing financing for a restaurant can be tricky because they’re considered a high risk by banks,” he adds.
Calvano introduced Fletcher to the Capital Regional Development Council, which, in collaboration with Franklin Savings Bank, was able to provide the financing he needed to purchase the fixtures of Sunny’s Table, a restaurant that closed at 11 Depot Street in Concord. Fletcher renegotiated the lease at the same location, where he now operates his 70-seat restaurant.
Paying Attention to the Plan
With Calvano’s help, Fletcher created a two-year financial plan that includes sales projections and other key financial measurements. “We continue to meet every few months to review the plan and see how the business is trending,” Calvano points out.
“As a new business owner, this has been extremely helpful to me,” Fletcher says. “It’s great to have another pair of eyes to help you along the way.”Calvano agrees, saying “having a third party looking at your numbers can sometimes spot trends that you might not have thought of.”
“Sometimes, if you spread the risk among two or more organizations, it can make it easier for a small start-up to secure the funding it needs,” Calvano explains
“CRDC and Franklin Savings communicated well between each other and with me. It was a quick loan process. I think I closed on the loan within a month of first approaching them,” Fletcher notes.
Putting the Pieces Together
Fletcher spent considerable time creating a detailed business plan. “Getting a restaurant up and running is like tackling a big puzzle with lots of little pieces that need to be put together—including financing, negotiating a lease, vendor relations, building a team, marketing, and more,” he says. Fletcher knew what he was in for and wasn’t afraid to ask for help. “I had heard of SCORE and their work with small business owners just like me,” he says. “Fletcher reached out to SCORE’s Merrimack Valley Chapter and was quickly put in touch with mentor Gene Calvano.
Moving Forward with SCORE
Fletcher says he plans to continue meeting with Calvano. “Gene’s a great sounding board for ideas. As a former business owner himself, he’s stood in my shoes. He knows the inner workings of running a business and has the mindset of how to market it, run HR, track financials, etc.,” he notes.
“Even if you have a solid business background and feel you can do it all, I still think SCORE is a terrific resource for business success,” Fletcher says.
Free, Confidential Business Counseling in NH
SCORE New Hampshire continues to be the state’s largest and most proficient provider of business mentoring and educational services through over 175 certified mentors from six regional chapters. We also provide valuable online business information, resource materials, tips, and tools, along with a robust webinar program available 24/7. Visit SCORE New Hampshire online to find a mentor near you.