Each morning, Tim Sanford wakes up earlier than daybreak and heads to his barbecue restaurant on Clay Avenue. The 46-year-old father of three fires up the wooden smoker and begins cooking ribs, sausages, brisket and different meats that kind the menu of Tim’s Smokehouse BBQ.
Not lengthy after Sanford begins cooking, De’Jonae Curtis wakes up and will get prepared for her dwelling faculty courses. The ten-year-old begins her job later within the day when she bakes cupcakes and intricately-designed specialty truffles for Dee’s Child Muffins, the stand she owns within the Vicksburg Mall.
Sanford and Curtis are on reverse ends of the enterprise spectrum — one branching out and increasing, the opposite studying the ins and outs at an extremely younger age — however they each are among the many new companies which can be surviving and thriving in Vicksburg throughout a troublesome yr for the restaurant business.
“Vicksburg is a city that takes care of its personal,” stated Jennifer Sanford, Tim’s spouse. “We get happy with the times we will put that join that claims ‘offered out.’ Thanks, Vicksburg.”
Catering to cooking
Tim Sanford didn’t set out into maturity with the purpose of opening a restaurant. He discovered cook dinner some issues by watching his father, a proficient yard pitmaster who labored the grill at household gatherings however solely began cooking himself to attempt to make some ribs for his mom.
“I tousled a number of meals,” he stated with fun. “I made ribs after ribs after ribs till I acquired it proper.”
Ultimately, Sanford taught himself sufficient to grow to be an excellent cook dinner — ok to open his personal catering enterprise about seven years in the past. Years of cooking barbecue for weddings, birthdays and household reunions gave him the arrogance and clients to wish a extra everlasting base of operations, and in September 2019 he opened Tim’s Smokehouse BBQ at 1713 Clay St., on the nook of Clay and Fifth North streets.
Along with barbecue favorites like ribs and pulled pork, Sanford cooks up batches of soul meals, beans and rice, jambalaya, or “regardless of the clients need.” The restaurant began small however has since expanded to serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to eight p.m., except the day’s batch of meals sells out sooner.
“I opened right here to have a industrial kitchen for catering, after which we served lunch plates, after which that was a restaurant,” Sanford stated. “Lots of people just like the barbecue, however we additionally smoke meats. We’re doing extra varieties than anyone else. We do brisket, pulled pork, sausage, you title it.”
Alongside the restaurant sits a big wooden smoker and a pile of small logs to feed it. Tim’s Smokehouse BBQ has generated a loyal clientele of downtown metropolis staff and people from the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers amenities on the town. Enterprise took a success when the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, however seems to have weathered the storm. Sanford stated he has catering jobs lined up by means of the top of the yr, and the total tables contained in the restaurant have been changed by a gradual stream of takeout clients.
“I believe I get pleasure from with the ability to work for myself. However seeing folks consuming my meals and smiling is satisfying,” Sanford stated.
The Sanfords have additionally turned the restaurant right into a household enterprise. Tim and Jennifer’s son, 21-year-old Tim Jr., helps his father cook dinner the meat. Their 23-year-old daughter Ebone is a pupil at Mississippi School and works on the advertising facet of issues. Linda Sanford, Tim’s sister, works part-time on the weekends.
“Tim was capable of finding all people’s strengths and domesticate a enterprise,” Jennifer Sanford stated. “All people does their factor.”
A younger entrepreneur
Rebecca Curtis vividly remembers the night time her daughter, De’Jonae, got here to her in tears whereas having a private disaster.
“She was asking, ‘Why don’t I’ve a enterprise? What’s my reward?’” Rebecca recalled.
Nicely, a part of it’s that De’Jonae was solely 9 years previous. Now that she’s 10, De’Jonae has discovered the reply to each questions.
De’Jonae is the proprietor of Dee’s Child Muffins, a bake store within the Vicksburg Mall that sells an assortment of truffles, desserts, and 20 flavors of cupcakes. The stand opened in February 2020 and now sells practically 250 cupcakes and a number of other customized truffles per week. De’Jonae does all of the baking.
“I believe I’ve come a great distance, to assume I began once I was 9. I can do something I put my thoughts to,” De’Jonae stated.
De’Jonae’s mother and father, Rebecca and Tommy Curtis found her love of baking virtually by chance. Tommy tried to file a basketball recreation on the household’s DVR, solely to find his daughter had stuffed it with greater than 100 cooking reveals.
De’Jonae devoured every episode like considered one of her tasty cupcakes, studying baking methods and recipes. Her mother and father each stated they have been shocked to search out out the depth of their daughter’s information.
“She made a 7-Up pound cake and I used to be going to have a chunk simply to humor her, however we ended up consuming the entire thing. It was good,” Tommy Curtis stated with fun.
Rebecca Curtis posted about her daughter’s baking success on Fb, and from that, a enterprise was born. Orders for greater than 4 dozen cupcakes got here in, and shortly the household determined so as to add to its enterprise portfolio.
The Curtis household — Rebecca, Tommy, De’Jonae, and their sons Christian and Tommy Jr. — personal a number of small companies, starting from the cupcake stand to a fitness center, tax preparation agency, music manufacturing and graphic design. Christian and De’Jonae even have a monetized YouTube channel with greater than 40,000 subscribers.
All of them have helped make Dee’s Child Muffins a hit. Rebecca assists with the enterprise facet of issues whereas instructing De’Jonae the fundamentals of working it. Christian helps within the kitchen and likewise assists with advertising and signage.
“Our entire household is entrepreneurs. My grandma had a restaurant,” De’Jonae stated.
Rebecca Curtis stated the purpose of Dee’s Child Muffins is to offer De’Jonae some spending cash and her first style of enterprise expertise. The hours can range relying on De’Jonae’s faculty and exercise schedule, however on-line orders are taken at DeesBabyCakes.com.
“I’m taking a look at it as instructing her grow to be a profitable entrepreneur,” Rebecca stated. “We make simply sufficient cash for her to get her nails performed and purchase some outfits. So long as the payments are paid and she or he’s getting the abilities to be on her personal, we’re good.”
Regardless of some limitations on the present enterprise mannequin due to her age, Vicksburg’s youngest enterprise proprietor has massive goals for the long run.
“I need Dee’s to be a franchise at some point,” De’Jonae stated. “Youngsters can do something they set their thoughts to. You may be the largest pop star ever in case you work arduous. I need to set an instance for youths in the entire whole world. They will dream as massive as they need.”