It all started with some hungry neighbors. Nichelle and Luke Thurston longed to find a restaurant that served the fresh seafood and coastal cuisine they had enjoyed in abundance at eateries in Pensacola, Florida. But the tastes of home were tough to find after they moved their family to Louisville, Kentucky.
So, Nichelle took matters into her own hands, cooking big family dinners of fried lobster tails, crab cakes, and fried snow crab with Cajun seasoning. Her grandfather’s recipes smelled so good, soon neighbors were asking her to cook for them, too.
“My neighbors caught wind of it, and it came to a point where they began to buy it,” she says. Before she knew it, she was making 40 plates a day. Eventually, the Thurstons purchased a food truck and, within about eight months, moved into their first brick-and-mortar location in 2015.
Believe, and then achieve
Now on any given day, there are lines out the door at the eatery’s two Louisville locations, queuing up for Cajun crawfish, lobster and waffles, po’ boys and so much more. The Seafood Lady has even been featured on Chef Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”
“Our vision is to feed the community,” Nichelle says. To her, that means not only feeding their customers, but providing jobs so employees can feed their families and support people in the community who are going through hard times.
In addition to serving her customers, The Seafood Lady is involved in community happenings, including various events that feed the homeless.
The Thurstons’ community focus and growing fan base helped lend itself to The Seafood Lady being named the 2nd place winner in point-of-sale platform Clover’s 2019 CloverAchievers contest. “The Seafood Lady represents ingenuity and hustle,” says Mark Schulze, Clover co-founder. “It is an impressive feat to go from selling food from your home to successfully opening multiple locations in just a few short years. That is the true spirit of a CloverAchiever.”
“As an entrepreneur myself, launching a business and watching it grow, I personally understand the daily challenges business owners face in running and growing their businesses,” adds John Beatty, Clover co-founder. “As part of our commitment to empower small business success and provide innovative solutions, we launched CloverAchievers to spotlight entrepreneurs who have a passion to succeed.”
Serving up success with a side of tech
Having grown to two locations and employing more than 20 employees, The Seafood Lady relies on technology to keep the restaurants running smoothly. From Day 1, the Thurstons have relied on Clover’s point-of-sale system to process credit cards and achieve so much more. Among so many front and back of house tasks, the Clover platform creates a seamless customer history that allows The Seafood Lady to better serve their client base, track sales trends, and better manage inventory.
Of course, social media--and the notoriety that The Seafood Lady’s delectable cuisine brings--has helped drive the business’s growth. From the beginning, Nichelle used social media as a marketing tool, posting photographs and encouraging customers to do the same and tag the company’s profiles. The Seafood Lady has amassed nearly 60,000 followers on Instagram and roughly 49,000 on Facebook. Giveaways and promotions through the platforms also helped attract new customers. And, of course, being featured on Guy Fieri’s show gave them a massive boost in notoriety.
“When people come to town, they automatically know about us because they’ve seen us on the Food Network,” she says. Next, the company plans to expand one of its locations and then grow its existing customer base. But, the heart of the business will always be serving up mouth-watering cuisine to the community they love.
To learn more about The Seafood Lady and the other CloverAchievers contest winners, visit www.firstdata.com/clovercontest.
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