We welcome Kevin Crowley, the owner of The Lox Bagel Shop, as our guest.
Right now, they have one location in the Short North. He went to the Culinary Institute in New York City. From there he brought that skill back to Columbus, where he met his wife and they have two young children. As a restaurant entrepreneur, Kevin talks in-depth about how you have to have an irrational belief in your concepts and your people. You have to block everyone else out and just go.
How did Kevin get interested in cooking?
I grew up in the era of the transition of PBS television shows into the Food Network, where you saw Emeril and sort of the evolution of the celebrity chef. When I came up to Ohio State for undergrad, I started working in restaurants and immediately realized that I loved it and this was my calling and started not going to school and started going to work a lot more, eventually dropping out going to the Culinary Institute of America and New York. From there I traveled across the country working in different restaurant jobs.
So why bagels?
My wife went to Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. Anybody that’s from there knows Bagel & Deli Shop. She offhandedly said, Why don’t we do a bagel shop one day? And I and my massive ego at the time was like scoffing at the idea, How dare I not use all the technique or skill that I learned to do something as low brow, at the time in my head, as bagels? But, seeing this sort of resurgence in Jewish deli food and artisan bread and the carb movement sort of going away a little bit, we ended a couple of wonderful restaurants. We could tie our skills and technique that we’ve learned into something that’s very approachable.
His thoughts on the team he has built.
The rest of the team came together pretty organically through connections. Probably 60 percent of them were still with us today, pushing three years later. I have crazy talented people that are ready for more and it’s my job to provide that for them.
I genuinely believe if you see a good person come through your doors, no matter where you are in your business, you need to bring them on board and get them into your circle. Because that’s only going to push everything forward for you in the long run.
And Kevin’s advice to young entrepreneurs.
Take the leap. I told friends and family that I was like the guy standing at the edge of the cliff, just waiting for somebody to push me over the edge to do my own thing. If I could give my younger version of myself advice it would be move faster, go quick, make the mistakes, learn from them, and pivot. And you know what? Fail fast. You know, just keep pushing.
The Driving the Cbus podcast co-hosts, Scott McComb, CEO of Heartland Bank, and Kailyn Bucklew (McComb), a third-generation community banker, offer two different perspectives as they sit down and get real with local business owners. From well-established companies to startups, small businesses are the heart and soul of Columbus. Tune in to find out how it all began, what keeps them up at night – the current struggles they face, and what successes they are most proud of with some entertaining stories along the way.