Month: December 2020

Luchal’s Catering

Luchal Lucas and her husband were stationed in Fort Carson when she fell in love with Colorado Springs but her roots are in Compton, California. “Strait Out of Compton” she laughs as a line of patrons are waiting in the winter temperatures for her signature dishes.

With a degree from Auguste Escofier campus, Lucas has always been enticed by the creativity of food. Growing up watching her mother cook was an inspiration but where Lucas says her real love of cooking food came from was while she was in the military.

“I was a 92 Golf in the army before I got out in 2018. There was a Major in the Army who really loved the catering business I was creating and really pushed me to continue this business. A lot of the military has really helped me to get to this point. They are the ones who really turned the wheels for me.”

Starting as a catering company, then a food truck and now a full blown restaurant operation in Trolley District’s new COATI, Lucas was intentional about growing organically. Their menu items were grown organically as well.

Lucas goes on, “The customers really built our menu. The catfish was the menu item that caught on and the customers could not get enough of it. We definitely have a southern feel. Our customers would special request items and we would run with it. We have always been for them.”

And boy are the menu items a hit! Crab fries are the top requested item but don’t forget their wings and shrimp, sausage and grits, fried okra and rotating seasonal items.

They also promote their 98 cent wings, even as COVID hit and certain food prices started to skyrocket. “We still have kept our 98 cent wings even when it cuts our pockets but we know our pockets aren’t the only ones being cut.”

As a solider, Lucas remarks on what COVID has meant for her business as a veteran –

“Our mission behind our businesses feels a little deeper. There’s a lot that has happened to get to this point. I’ve slept on grounds before, I’ve seen the ‘dirty’ and as a solider I think about things differently. I was ready to take on COVID.”

Lucas and her team love their customers and asks of the community to really support small business during these troubling times – “Even if you can’t come and purchase, please push our social media platforms. Just by sharing and giving people the knowledge on the street and in store. Word of mouth has gotten us to where we are, we appreciate the organic marketing. We just want our people to be able to work and support their families. We aren’t looking at turning a profit – we just want to pay our people.”

Luchals is open for take out/delivery at both their food truck and their storefront in COATI.

Social: @luchalscatering
Website: facebook.com/luchalsgourmetcatering

Meet the Photographer

Tina Joiner

Tina Joiner Photography

Tina Joiner with Tina Joiner Photography came to Colorado Springs after college to work at a nonprofit in town – Compassion International. She fell in love with her husband Darren and they have two small girls together. After awhile at Compassion, she pursued her creative dream of photography. Tina grew from on a handful of weddings to being the number one rated wedding photographer in Colorado Springs.

Since COVID hit, Joiner has taken a hit as the event and wedding industry has been in shambles following large event/wedding closures. Thankfully most of rescheduled but the wedding industry has taken a toll. Joiner has worked to pivot her business emphasizing elopements and smaller/outdoor gathers.

As a small business owner, she understands – “Small businesses are the heart of our community. It is important to shop at local small businesses to support the hopes and dreams of our friends and neighbors. I love that shopping local gives wings to those hopes and dreams. Small businesses give our community life.”

Social: @tinajoinerphotography
Website: tinajoinerphotography.com

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter is a homegrown and eclectic grocery store in downtown Colorado Springs. Owners Stacy Poore and Aubrey Day opened the neighborhood store in September 2019, the quaint yellow stucco building sits south Nevada close to the Trolley District. Adjacent to the grocery store is a full operating liquor store that they own as well.

“We both had a long time dream of opening a neighboring store but were on different paths. A mutual friend brought us together!” says Day.

The grocery store is a full operating grocery store with over 50 Colorado produced or manufactured items. Their desire is to support as many Colorado products as possible. Day also comments, “Customers really appreciate how much community products we use. We are like a farmer’s market in that way. We are incredibly proud of this.”

Both with nonprofit backgrounds – Stacy from Care and Share Food Bank and Aubrey from Public Health, they realized that their love of food and sustainability was so important. Their love of community, feeding people and creating convenience for their friends and neighbors is their number one goal.

Poore remarks on this by stating – “We are not our best selves when we are hungry and don’t eat well. We are better friends, parents, workers, better community members and volunteers when we have the food to thrive. Food is a basic need so providing access to it is very important.”

As the pandemic hit in early 2020, the team had to make some changes recognizing there wasn’t twenty thousand people working downtown anymore – most were now working from home. This also changed the way they were raising capital. Instead of self-serve options as planned, you’re greeted by friendly faces who are happy to serve you coffee, pastries and array of incredibly grocery items safely. They are stocked with full produce, artesian breads, take-and-go prepared foods, greeting cards and go-to items like dips/salsas, tomato paste and juices.

Though they are a local grocery store, they remind their friends and neighbors that they too are a small business. “We have the same challenges and possibilities as any small business so right now we want to encourage our neighbors that we are open and safe and ready to serve them,” Poore says with a smile.

Website: breadandbuttermarket.com
Social: breadbuttercos

Meet the Photographer

Lauren McKenzie

REN Creativ

Started in 2017 as a side hustle, and when a full time job was gone – Lauren McKenzie of REN Creative put pressure on herself to curate her own business.

“It was not easy building a business, it was extremely hard but I’m wrapping up year three and I’ve worked harder than I ever have in my whole life. I can never go back to before REN Creativ”

REN Creativ is a woman-owned, small creative studio that collaborates with independent businesses to share their stories through a strategic mashup of a design, photography and digital media.

Lauren studied visual communications years ago and gained incredible training in graphic design, web design and digital media through a host of well known and respected agencies and businesses.

With massive ties to the community, including The Colorado Springs Independent and Support the Springs, Lauren’s heart and mantra has always been ‘community first.’

“Respect us. Support us. Love us. It’s so important to support your women owned, BIPOC and minority owned businesses. Small business in general. We have grown so accustomed to supporting big box stores and forget that small businesses are the backbone of this country, “ McKenzie concludes.

Social: @rencreativ
Website: rencreativ.com

Reanna Werner, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Reanna Werner, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the founder and Chief Problem Solver at HR Branches. She is an innovator who is ready to bring professional HR to small businesses. Over her 20+-year human resources career, she has had the unique ability to experience many markets and industries through the “HR eye”. The demand for easy to access HR services for small businesses became prevalent when her husband opened up his CPA firm, he was constantly asked HR questions by his small business clients. Reanna quickly realized that small businesses have been left behind in the world of HR. Now, she has made it her life’s work to fix that.

Recently, the Colorado Springs Business Journal named Reanna a 2020 Rising Star, and HR Branches Received 2nd place for the CSBJ Best in Business: HR Firm.

“It was great. Reanna helped me so much.”

Sheena Sampsel

“Brad and Reanna were so generous to give me time and share their expertise. I learned a ton and both sessions provided much-needed clarity.

Lara White
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