(light music) Funding for "Working Capital" is provided by the Friends of KTWU and Go Topeka.
Welcome back to "Working Capital."
So, you've got a great recipe for a new business.
What comes next?
With so many ingredients needed for a startup, what and where are some of the local resources to help you reach your dream?
Today we're starting from scratch.
It's all about business on "Working Capital."
(light music) Creating flavors from his heart, David Scroggins has shared his artistic culinary skills for friends, family, and commercial kitchens for many years now.
Armed with a menu showcasing some of his offerings from the restaurant of his dreams, Scroggie's Southern Comfort has been born and is looking to hit the road.
Thanks for joining us on "Working Capital," David.
Well, thanks for having me.
Well, let's just start off, your earliest memories with being in the kitchen and cooking.
Well, that's quite some time.
My grandmother was a great cook.
My mother was a horrible cook, and I was the fat kid that always wanted to be in the kitchen to figure out what she was doing and if I could eat it.
And she decided that if I was gonna be in there she was gonna put me to work.
And so my fondest memories are always me in the kitchen.
I remember the very first thing I did was an oatmeal and raisin cookie recipe for a vacation Bible school bake competition.
And yeah, from there on I've just gone food crazy, as you will.
You have a new idea.
You're thinking restaurant.
You're thinking some way to get this menu, 'cause I know you cook for a lot of your friends is what I've heard.
Yes, so I know they love it.
So tell me, how really was this idea to finally just, how was this born?
The idea of having a food joint, as I kind of always have called them, has always been a strong point for me.
I studied vocal performance and classical music in school, in college, and I remember that all of my travels, if I wasn't on stage, were centered around me eating.
And so the idea of bringing something that I love to do into a business aspect just kind of evolved, if you will.
So tell me about all the influences on the flavors you're bringing in.
Tell me, you know, what else struck you?
I have an uncle who moved to New Orleans almost 30 years ago, and I have an aunt who moved to Atlanta also about 35 years ago.
So this Midwest boy is a big old soul boy, down Southern boy at heart.
And that's kind of where all my combinations have come from.
When I came up with this concept I didn't really want to call it soul food because that usually denotes fried chicken and things like that.
And I didn't want to call it just a Cajun and Creole food because I did have some kind of Southern and soul food ideas in my cuisine.
So me saying Southern Comfort kind of made this concept.
It was a play on the liquor, if you will.
That's my world is Southern soul food, Creole Cajun food.
Tell me about the normal Saturday cooking for your friends at your house.
What does it involve you in the kitchen?
Well, in college I had two good roommates who one day created what has now become called the game.
And the game is basically a poor man's version of, you know, the popular Food Network game where we all go to the grocery store.
They all randomly pick out ingredients and there's very few limitations to what they can get.
I take it back to whoever's house or our house and I cook and make a menu and make a whole dinner meal out of what they came out with.
What are some of the favorites that you've come up with out of their ingredients?
I mean, being kind of a scientist in the kitchen, I guess.
I would not call me quite as much a scientists is just crazy.
And that helps in the food world.
You know, you always hear people say that baking is an exact science.
Well, cooking is not.
Once you kind of have a few key goals.
I had a friend one October a couple of years ago bought a pumpkin, like a carving pumpkin that you use, and we made a Spam and cheddar pumpkin soup.
Spam and cheddar.
Spam and cheddar.
So for our viewers out there, describe these flavors mixed together for us a little bit.
You know, I stay on a very simple thing, which is also an idea that you will hear a lot of Southern people say, is that if you just know how to cook onions and green peppers, anyone will think that you know how to cook.
My thing is then if you add bacon to virtually anything, you can make that also work.
So in that sense, onions, green pepper, Spam, which played as my bacon, some cheese, and some pumpkin will also always make an incredible meal.
Well, I always respect people who can make pretty much anything in the kitchen.
So I know you probably have a few favorite ingredients that help lead to your menu.
So when we get back, we're gonna talk about this dream menu and how this kind of propelled you forward in wanting to share it with the community and the world.
It's time for a short break.
When we return, we'll dive in for seconds.
We'll be right back.
You're watching "Working Capital."
(light music) Welcome back.
We're just starting to talk about David's dream menu.
So to start with, gimme your top five ingredients that really speak to this whole menu.
Because we are going Southern and because we're going Creole and Cajun, you have to start with the trinity.
And the trinity in Creole cooking is onions, green peppers, and celery.
They are the basis for virtually every savory meal out there.
I am probably the biggest fan of pork on the planet, as I used to tease people, me and the pig have been best friends since the third grade.
And so bacon and pork products like that are probably within the three.
So that's four.
And then I'm a good lover of tomato paste.
And I know that sounds weird, but tomato paste can be in savory, it can be in sweet, and it can go about anywhere.
A little flavor and a little thickening for about anything.
It's for about anywhere.
Let's talk about this dream menu.
Gimme some highlights and tell me what's in it.
Staying in that world.
There's a slight difference in the world of Creole and Cajun cooking.
Cajun is deep country bayou and Creole just means that you were able to get to the ports and be introduced to things like tomatoes and stuff like that.
So my cooking is a little bit more towards Creole in that my gumbo has tomatoes in it.
Cajun gumbo would not.
So I have a chicken andouille gumbo.
I have jambalaya, red beans and rice.
I have things that I've kind of made up on my own, which is cheese grit balls, which are just grits that we've cooked with cheddar and a couple of other things.
We've let it set up and then we deep fat fry it.
Can't go wrong with that.
I mean, you can't go wrong when you fry something.
And then some other unique things, collard greens and rice that have been wrapped up in a collard green leaf and then deep fat fried.
Gosh, almost like a fried egg roll.
Almost like a fried egg roll with collard greens instead of egg wrap.
Oh, that sounds delicious.
Okay, so you have the menu.
I have the menu.
You have a logo.
I mean, you have the basis of what you kind of wanna show as your style in the kitchen and the other flare.
Are you looking at a restaurant?
Do you look at food truck?
I mean, what swayed you in the direction you're headed now with this?
To be honest with you, it started as a game.
We were just playing around with, this was our form of monopoly.
How could we do this?
And we looked at a food truck first.
No, we looked at an actual restaurant first.
And location didn't work for us as well, as well as, because I'm in a wheelchair, making a full-sized restaurant kitchen accessible is a little bit more difficult.
So we went into the food truck and we found out that that actually is a thing.
It's not like I would be the first person ever to be in a wheelchair that started a food truck.
And so that's the direction we've kind of started to go into.
It's a little bit, little bit cheaper.
Making it accessible to this wheelchair will bring the biggest challenge because there's tons of food trucks out there.
But yeah, that's kind of where, that's how the direction evolved.
You start building a following with this.
I mean, is your goal still to have a brick and mortar at some point?
You know, once you get these flavors out there or the food truck, you know, a lot of people, it's gonna be their whole life because of that flexibility.
So you can go where the crowds are at and you can make your own hours a little easier.
So what are the benefits to you really from this food truck, besides just cost?
Ideally, yes, we would like to have a brick and mortar.
Ideally, I would love to turn a building straight into Mardi Gras and have the, you know, ugly beads hanging all over everything and the mask everywhere.
And I won't say that the food truck won't have that, but one of the things that helped with the food truck is just kind of helps get your name out there.
The popularity starts to go and you go from people being a willing to follow you wherever you go to people being willing to come wherever you are.
The food truck helps that.
There are challenges, areas that have a lot of food trucks, Topeka currently has about 12, but in cities where food trucks are larger they have more access to food truck parts is what they are often called, which we currently don't have.
And don't always have Topeka weather.
(laughs) It's kind of hard to get people to stand out and wait for their food when you've got six inches of snow on the ground.
Good luck on continuing this journey.
So I hope to see you on the road here soon.
We hit it.
It's time for another short break.
When we return, we'll find out how the Washburn Small Business Development Center can help, whether just starting a business or already in the middle of it.
We'll be right back.
(light music) Welcome back to "Working Capital," supporting Kansas small business since 1983.
The Washburn Small Business Development Center can be a catalyst for your business.
They support new entrepreneurs and businesses in development and strategic planning, along with helping current businesses grow, among many other services.
Joining us today from the Washburn SBDC is the assistant director, Nadia Arbelo.
Welcome to "Working Capital," Nadia.
Thank you for having me.
So you have someone walking off the street.
There's so many ways to go with this.
What's the first thing?
Well, one of the first things we do is we wanna find out what it is is their project or their service idea.
And then from there, do you have a business plan?
Do you have financial forecasts?
Are you... Do you have experience in this kind of business?
So asking those initial questions to see where the client really is from the very beginning and where it is that they wanna go.
How fast do they wanna take this?
What are their credit scores and credit ratings?
What are some of the things that they're going to need or think that they need for their business?
And how do they believe that they're going to be able to obtain them?
Okay, so they walk in and they have none of that.
So they don't even know how to write a business plan.
What kind of resources can you offer them in regards to that?
So at SBDC, as business advisors, we have templates for the initial startup of a business plan.
And we also have financial forecasts that can be forecasted for three years out.
That really doesn't take a lot of effort and time but we're always there to review with them.
We can help provide them with market industry information and research.
We can help them along the way with their business plan and the operations of what does that look like and where are you going with that?
And is this the right direction?
Do you need to pivot in a year or two?
What are the future plans that you have?
And so getting them to get all of these overwhelming ideas out of their head, onto paper, into a roadmap that they're gonna be able to follow and have direction from.
I mean, starting a business is kind of like herding cats.
I mean, there's so much going on and you really need to stay on top of all of it, right?
Hence you need a team.
And we do talk about, who do you have supporting you?
Is it your family?
Do you have friends?
Do you have a partner?
Because that support, especially from a family and/or friends, is very, very necessary because starting a business can be very overwhelming and things can really start looking one way when they actually need to twist and turn another way.
So being able to have that sounding board of other people, whether it be a mentor, whether it be family, friends, and/or your business advisor with SBDC, that's what we're there to find out and to help you to create, if you don't have one.
You have your business plan.
You get all through the initial steps.
You have all your certificates, everything to open up.
Is there any help finding spaces for new business in Topeka?
So what we do, especially here in Topeka through Washburn, is we have different resources that are either members of the chambers of commerce and/or outstanding members within the community.
We can provide those type of resources.
It is up to the business owner to start looking into that, making those phone calls, making those connections, building those relationships.
Because once again, relationship building is what it's really all about.
And doing that networking, making sure that they're talking to the right people, whether it be a realtor, a broker, a landowner, whether it be another business that wants collaborative efforts from someone else that's very similar to them.
What's the number one thing you deal with on a day-to-day basis with new clients or existing businesses?
One of the things that we deal with is that business plan review and making sure that those financials and the business plan, that they add up, that they work together, that they're in sync.
Because eventually this is going to go to possibly a lender or an investor or a funding resource.
And we have several, we have quite a few of those here in the Shawnee County and Topeka area as well as across the state.
So that's really one of those daily things is, what are you doing every day to advance and to grow your business, and how can we help you?
What are all the good ways to get capital for your business?
What are all your options out there right now?
So there's lots of options.
And to name just a few, we have what's called Network Kansas, which is across the state of Kansas.
They are a fund holder of resources that are given to the state of Kansas by the governor and/or by other entities.
And they provide loan programs.
They are matching, which means that you still are dealing with a bank and you go to a bank but you have that gap, it's called gap funding.
They are that gap funder.
So if they can help with a 60-40 or 50-50, a 70-30 split, then that's Network Kansas.
We also have the traditional lenders.
Are you a veteran, and do you need an SBA loan?
Is that something?
Well, we try and funnel you to those SBA lenders.
Grant opportunities, very limited, but we do have some, and they can come through the Kansas Department of Commerce, they can come through Go Topeka, Topeka Partnership, who is also a partner with us, a resource partner, and other entities.
So it all really depends on what it is the business owner is looking for and what their need and their ask is.
It's time for another short break.
When we return, we'll talk a little bit more about business.
You've been watching "Working Capital."
(light music) Welcome back to "Working Capital."
Okay, so I think part of David's portfolio now is a little crowdsourcing to get some of the startup costs covered and get things going.
So can you talk to us a little bit why you're going that route, David?
And then maybe Nadia can talk to us a little bit more on her side.
We kind of started in that route because we did talk to Nadia about six months ago and she, you know, just was making it clear that, for lack of better word, we needed more skin in the game.
And coming from a long history of health issues, I didn't have much.
So the crowdsourcing for us is just kind of that way for us to start the ball rolling, for us to kind of also let the crowd know that we're there and that we are starting to try and take it serious without trying to come off as a scam, which is the fear for a lot of people with crowdsourcing now, is that people are a little less leery of giving out money because they really truly don't know what you're planning on doing with it.
So our crowdsourcing has only really helped us with friends and family that we know.
We haven't tried to spread it out to, you know, to a world of folks that do not know us and know what direction we're heading.
Is it a smaller amount usually than what you would go to a bank for?
I mean, it is kind of a stepping stone.
So it it is just to get your foot in the door.
Do you see more people coming?
I know you don't deal a lot with this area but do you see a lot of people coming down that have started this way or maybe that's gonna be one avenue along with getting loans or looking for grants?
Absolutely, and even some of the businesses that are looking at larger dollars and larger amounts, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing is something that they are doing.
I do appreciate David being able to say and speak to the transparency of the crowdsourcing and the crowdfunding.
That is not one of the particular things that is in our wheelhouse, but that is part of bootstrapping and that's part of that support and that's the start of that team of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding is making sure that it's also like a proof of concept.
You know, being able to show that, yeah, this is a viable business, this can be done, and it can be done in this way.
And we're just asking for you to invest in us and believe in us and believe that what we are trying to say and/or do is bankable and fundable down the road.
And right now we just need your proof of concept startup assistance.
What's some of the breadth of businesses you've dealt with, with the startups?
I mean, coffee shops to, what's some of the bigger small businesses?
Juice bars to acquiring car washes and buying other businesses from manufacturing in the state of Kansas, buying another business that's bigger than itself in another state, and being able to bring that, which is a very unique funding opportunity.
We've worked with a construction company, financial planners, the retail.
Does anyone walk in with just, "I have money I wanna invest.
I wanna start another business.
Can you help me find the right avenue?"
Does anyone ever do that?
They do, because there's also what's called buy sell biz.
And we can somewhat kind of lead them toward those brokers that are looking to find the channels to help people buy and sell a business.
What are some of the opportunities coming up short term, long term here in Topeka?
What are some of the avenues you're directing people towards?
So some of the short term and/or long term are just making sure that small businesses, we're helping more people, and in helping more people, helping more Kansans to develop the small business that they have and being able to grow with that.
And with that comes other resource partners that are out there in the community.
In the next couple of years, we will be in another facility and another building downtown.
We have plug and play here for Google for those innovations and those manufacturing ideas and concepts.
We work with a lot of development entities to help a manufacturer or an innovator to get the things that they need.
Well, having small business in the title, how large will you help?
I mean, what scale?
I mean, are we talking a 500 employee?
Is that still gonna considered that small business?
500 is still considered, that is the max.
But normally we work with businesses that are anywhere from one to 50.
That is the average.
Okay, so you have someone out there viewing this.
They have an idea.
They're really hesitant on doing it.
Give them their pitch of why they should come see you or why they should just, you know, step in.
Well, first off, one of the things that we do provide is in-person training and education as well as webinars and virtual training.
Once a month here in Topeka, I do a presentation, a workshop, how to start a business, which is at the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library.
And that is held for a couple of hours.
And that's a good start.
That's where you're gonna get that real basic information.
But we do do a deep dive into what is that basic information and how does that work?
What does that look like?
Then reach out if you feel like, yeah, this is something I really can do, then reach out to us and we will be there to help you in any way we possibly can.
But you can also sit at that table or sit in that room and realize, eh, my idea, well, maybe we should just keep it an idea for a while.
Maybe I need to work on my ideation stages.
Maybe I need to ask more questions.
The market's not quite there yet.
You're too far forward.
Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.
Big broad thinking that somehow needs to get focused back down.
Well, thank you, Nadia, for some great advice, and thank you, David, for hearing your story here and we look forward to having some of these snacks though.
I don't know if my waistline can take that, but anyways.
Well, that's a wrap for tonight's show.
I'd like to thank David Scroggins from Scroggie's Southern Comfort, along with Nadia Arbelo from Washburn Small Business Development Center for joining us today.
And if you know of any interesting businesses or business topics, we want to hear from you.
So give us a call, drop us an email, or send us a letter.
See you next time, and thanks for watching.
It's all about business, and you've been watching "Working Capital."
(light music) Funding for "Working Capital" is provided by the Friends of KTWU and Go Topeka.