I recently frequented one of my favorite new restaurants to find it permanently closed after less than a year. This locally sourced brunch place had pinpointed all of the farms that supplied their food on a map of California that hung like gallery art in the center of their restaurant.
They made sandwiches at their shop with donated food for the homeless and wrote inspirational notes to tuck inside their brown bag lunches. Their food was not only nutritious but delicious, and they seemed to always have patrons when we went, not too many that there was a line out the door, but enough that they always seemed busy.
I wish that we had spent more time there, more money, told more of our friends, or left glowing yelp reviews, but we are only two people, two people who took a delicious restaurant for granted because we thought how could this fail?
I’m sure that’s what the entrepreneur owners believed too when they started out.
They probably thought they’d make great food that people want to eat in a location newly dubbed Silicon Beach – amid shiny live/work complexes, surrounded by startups and young people.
They ventured that they could morally source nutritious food, give back to the community, and be excellent.
Part of me imagines that they did so well as a restaurant that they shut their doors just to expand, or open in a better location, or take a much-needed break. But they probably failed, as so many businesses do, and I want to take a moment to say thanks.
Not just to the restaurant that served the best breakfast tater tots that I have ever had the pleasure of eating, but to every entrepreneur who embarks on a journey that tries to make the world better.
I’m not just talking about the tech entrepreneur (though we need you too).
I’m mostly talking about the unseen baker that wakes up at 3am every morning just to bring a handful of baked goods to their city. Or about the small store owner that stocks chotchkies and cookbooks and beautiful things all of which I wish I could buy. I’m talking about the start-up plumber who shows up at your house on a Sunday afternoon and fixes your toilet because you’re at your wit’s end.
You are the unsung entrepreneurs, the heroes that we hurriedly thank on our way out the door.
You are the folks who had a dream and risked everything to bring us delicious food, adorable chotchkies, and functional plumbing.
A mentor of mine once told me that to be successful you must jump in the water, swim as fast as you can, and slowly increase the speed.
To those of you out there swimming as fast as you can – we’re behind you, and we appreciate you.
This is your headline, one you don’t often get — keep doing what you’re doing, we believe in you, and your hard work does not go unnoticed.
And if you decide after everything you’ve been through that it’s time to hang a permanently closed sign on your front door, there are people out there, lots of them maybe, who will mourn the loss of your mini quiches, your adorable iPhone cases, or even the best breakfast tater tots in the world.