Create Bridges: Small Business - Big Rural Impact

Episode 26: PennyLoafers and the Secret to Good Customer Service

September 30, 2021 Create Bridges AR Season 1 Episode 26
Create Bridges: Small Business - Big Rural Impact
Episode 26: PennyLoafers and the Secret to Good Customer Service
Show Notes Transcript

Brandon Mathews takes the mic on this episode with a literal mom and pop duo in Mammoth Spring, AR. Penny and Kenny Bohling own and operate PennyLoafers, a self-proclaimed coffee shop with New Orleans style beignets, coffee, and a few other offerings you wouldn’t expect to find like the “world’s famous Rueben, biscuits & gravy, and the largest Belgium waffles Brandon has ever seen. Kenny and Penny are incredibly welcoming people, and have hearts of service which is highlighted in the second half of the episode. 

We also discussed going big in business isn’t always the best option and can limit some of the flexibility you want as a small business owner, or that creating good customer service and experience is just as important as your final product or service. It was summed up best with “It’s about the people.” Whether you are in the food industry, the service industry, or work remotely across a tri-county region, there is something to take away from Penny and Kenny’s story. 




Phone: 870.710.1341

Address: 131 S 2nd

Street Mammoth Spring, AR 72554



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Fair enough. I will I will poke and prod.

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We've been we've been considering an escargot with a creme brulee sauce, but we're probably going to pass on that.

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Well, I won't be the first one in line. We'll stick to the Jalapeno deviled eggs.

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Come join us, explore the impact of small business here in rural Arkansas.

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What challenges would you face? Who can help you meet those challenges? How do you get in touch with others like you?

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This is CREATE BRIDGES Arkansas. And we invite you to come across these bridges with us.

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Hello, everyone, this is Brandon Mathews back with another installment of Arkansas Small Business, Big Rural Impact.

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Today's guests are literal mom and pop duo in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. Penny and Kenny Bowling

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own and operate Penny Loafers, a self-proclaimed coffee shop with New Orleans styles,

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beignets, coffees and a few other offerings you wouldn't expect to find,

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like the world's famous Reuben biscuits and gravy and the largest Belgian waffles I've ever seen.

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I caught Penny and Kenny on the eve of their one year business anniversary,

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and I couldn't believe it had only been one year since a ribbon cutting ceremony.

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Kenny and Penny are incredibly welcoming people, and they have hearts of service, which is highlighted in the second half of this episode.

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We also discussed how going big in business isn't always the best option.

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It can sometimes limit some of the flexibility you want as a small business owner.

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Or that creating good customer service and experiences is just as important as your final product or service.

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Shameless plug. The CREATE BRIDGES team launched a workforce training program this month called CREATE LIFT, and online,

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self-paced training certification that equips employees with knowledge and desired areas like Essential Skills,

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customer service and hospitality, to name a few. If you want to learn more, go to or check out the show notes.

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This episode runs a little longer than most, but the more I spoke to Penny and Kenny, the more I wanted to listen to their story.

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I think they summed it up best by saying it's about the people.

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Whether you're in the food industry, the service industry, or work remotely across the tri county region like me,

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there's something for you to take away from Penny and Kenny's story. So without further ado, here's our conversation.

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Well, good afternoon, Kenny and Penny. Thank you so much for having me here at PennyLoafers.

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I'm just so excited. I've wanted to do this episode for a while.

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I know you guys have been a fairly new business in town, but you've seen a lot of success over the last year or so.

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But, Penny, we'll start with you. If you just introduce us, tell us who you are, what you do here, and then we'll move to you, Kenny.

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Uh, my name is Penny and I am one of the owners of PennyLoafers Cafe here in Mammoth.

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And we are getting ready to celebrate our one year anniversary on Friday.

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How exciting. Kenny? Well, I am Kenny and I am the loafer in the PennyLoafers community.

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And I am the husband of Penny and I do, as I'm told.

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Tell me what your business what is your business? What do you guys offer here?

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Well, we offer, of course, community coffee, and our beignets is what we started with.

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And now we have a full menu that goes from anything from gravy and biscuits to the world's best ruben.

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We have a full menu and that's we have our little shop that you can come in and get gifts and foods that we get through the Amish. Rubens and coffee.

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Have you ever seen that anywhere else? No. Does Arby's sell coffee?

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Does Starbucks have rubens? Definitely not. OK. All right, that's great.

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You guys are fairly new to the area. You've been here a little while, but this isn't home for you all, correct?

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You guys are transplants. It's home now. Share with the listeners why you located relocated here to Mammoth Spring.

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And how did you decide on opening a coffee shop in this town?

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Well, we came through on the way out to South Dakota with our other business to the Indian reservation.

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And we had lunch here and we had never been this way before.

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GPS brought us this way. And a couple of weeks later, we were looking at houses online and one just happened to be listed and we found it.

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And several months later, here we are and we've been here at the end of January will be six years.

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We've lived here and we were traveling a lot.

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We love to travel. So in 2019, we were taking a lot of cruises and enjoying each other.

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And we're still newlyweds, I guess you would say. And we couldn't cruise any more during covid.

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And we got bored. And we actually opened this as a vintage shop and selling coffee and beignets.

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And it's just kind of morphed into a cafe now.

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And that's how we got here in Mammoth. I have to say, I think you guys are first guests that we got bored and decided to start a business.

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So I think we've officially covered all angles of that.

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So in addition to the coffees and Ruben, you mentioned you have a few other things made by the Amish.

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Can you just describe to our listeners what some of those other products are and goods?

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We have a wide variety of jams and jellies and salsas, honeys.

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We have local honey and we have some flavored honeys and mustards and barbecue sauces.

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We have pickled eggs, pickled beets. We have a wide variety of stuff.

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And then on, you know, for gifts and things, we have dips and beef jerkies and towels and aprons and candles and mugs and T-shirts and hats.

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Kenny, we've talked about this a little bit beforehand, but when you guys first opened almost a year ago, you had some furnishing.

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And were kind of curating really cool furniture and vintage items for sale.

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Sitting in here today. That's gone and you've expanded the cafe.

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What has that experience been like? Well, the key with any any endeavor I've been in my entire life since I was a kid on

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the playground and kindergarten selling Rollo's for 25 cents apiece when I bought a whole pack for 25 cents,

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was always delivering what the people wanted. And if they weren't happy with Rollo's in kindergarten, I'd bring resee cups the next day.

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And, you know, I was getting all their lunch money.

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And and I guess that's twisted in many ways.

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But, you know, nothing's really changed all throughout the years, no matter what business we've ever done or been involved with.

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You're an exercise of futility if you're trying to sell somebody something that they really don't need or want.

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The kids on the playground didn't need Rollo's, but they wanted them. And the people in Mammoth are no different.

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We thought Mammoth was maybe a bit more of a tourist town just from perception.

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When we opened and found out that was more of the antique business kind of thing,

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was more of a deal for either maybe downtown 63 or down and Hardy or something like that.

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Whereas the town of Mammoth really was literally starving for food.

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There's not many places around that serve up anything.

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And as people came in, the you know, the time after time they like, well, what else have we got to eat?

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What else have we got to eat? And, um, at the time we didn't have anything.

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We had a few flavors of coffee and in fact we just had black coffee when we first opened with cream and sugar and and beignets like they served at

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Cafe du Monde down in New Orleans, and we soon realized there was a much bigger demand.

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So any time you have a question like that, I mean, to me it's just business 101.

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You give the people what they want. Penny, anything you want to add to that?

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No, that's exactly what I would have said. Everybody wanted more and more food and they still want more and more food.

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But we've had to put a halt on our menu as far as growth because we have a full menu and we're just Kenny and I work in here.

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It's it keeps us hopping breakfast and lunch.

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And we try to keep it open with breakfast and lunch all day long from open to close.

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And that brings in more people. Because it's what they wanted. As you guys have expanded your your offerings, you know,

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we're in the middle of hopefully towards the tail end of this whole pandemic.

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But a lot of businesses have struggled with their supply chain. And the food industry is one that, you know, it's been hit hard.

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But how have you guys managed to, you know, ensure that you can still offer the world's greatest ruben,

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your coffees and other sandwiches and soups and things? Well, we started out in with one outlet, you know, and then we realized

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we better have another outlet, so we didn't limit ourselves to, say,

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a truck that comes through every week and delivers a certain amount because we've actually been turned down by

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a food delivery service. And then at that point, we decided, you know, we don't want that, we want to we want to serve the best we can get.

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And fortunately, we've been able to do that through the Amish.

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And we try to keep our outlets open, though, and we buy in bulk where we know we know we have a reserve and our freezers have grown.

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And our like our specialty things, we we really try like our French fries.

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We handpick those. We don't, you know, we don't want to skimp on those.

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So it's it's kind of been a chore, but we can do it.

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We found out if we have more than one outlet, we can do it. You just don't limit yourself.

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I think that French fry comment is so interesting and poignant to good management and knowing your product.

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Another podcast, how I built this. I think Guy Raz is the host on there, but he interviewed,

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I believe it was the individuals that created five guys Burger Place, and they had the same mentality about the mayonnaise.

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Don't skimp on the mayonnaise. People know the mayonnaise they like.

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And they they did these blind tests to say, look, it costs a little more for this mayonnaise,

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but we're going to have it because that's what people want. And exactly, you know, maybe the mayonnaise is a magic trick.

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I know I'm a big fan of the fries, so thank you for keeping those. I'm going to keep eating them while we're still talking about food.

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How did you guys decide on the menu you have and what do you do to, you know, bring new products and try new things?

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Well, we have fourteen grandbabies and they all like different things.

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And so really we take some from them, we take some from our kids, but we do our best when we're in the car driving.

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We take a lot of road trips just to talk and that's an uninterrupted discussion.

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And we come up with, oh, this might be good. You know, we should try this.

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And sometimes people come in and say they'll they'll say, can you make a Snickers coffee?

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And I'm like, well, I'll try. And all of a sudden, that's our best seller Snickers Coffee.

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And they've come along different ways. But a lot of it also revolves around as far as the foods go, the food end of things.

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We have such a limited space in the kitchen. We have to really put the analytics on and figure out what can we do.

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It's not what we want to do necessarily. We always we're always going to do what we want to do.

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But if it doesn't work with a limited amount of space we have, it's just a physical impossibility in the logistics of it would never work out.

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So a lot of the food choices are not only from our discussions in our talks and whatever,

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but most of the time our discussions and talks involve an item. But then

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will it work in the kitchen? Can we actually physically make it happen?

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And so if anybody was listening that, you know, has a limited kitchen or a limited,

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you have to make your space work for what you're wanting to prepare,

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whether it's a restaurant or a guitar strap company or whatever else you might

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be having if your logistics don't work and aren't going to work. As co-owners

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how do you guys manage that logistics? You know, who who's doing the ordering? Who's who's the main cook?

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Kind of walk us through that, because there are a lot of people who I think are listening to this.

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You guys are quite literally a mom and pop shop.

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So for others who say, hey, I think I can do that or I want to try that, how do you guys divvy up those tasks?

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It just naturally happens. It's the strangest thing. You know, once we started doing this,

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Kenny is the main grill cook and I try to stay out of his way when lunch is busy

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and I take care of the front end and all the coffees and and do those things.

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Breakfast is my thing. And like with a homemade quiche and different things of that nature and the biscuits and gravy and waffles.

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And I do those things, but it just kind of happened that way.

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I can't there's nothing I can say that.

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We just work well together, you have to be sure you can work well together, because if you don't, it's not going to work.

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Yeah, that's for us. And without getting, you know, spiritual on this thing, there is a biblical verse says the two shall be one.

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And if you work together as a team, as one unit, you aren't going to get into conflict because you're one and the same.

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And so you're each other's right hand.

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And if you go through life with that mentality, you're you're going to be much more happy, more successful, more content.

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And, you know, if you have someone that you can sit on the front porch in a rocking chair and not

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have to feel like you have to talk to them and still know they're your best friend,

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then the world is good and all is well. And will I do most of that?

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Well, I do all the ordering, he lets me know what we need as far as meats, as far as the things that we need.

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He does all of the, I guess, inventory and I do the ordering and I take care of the books and the money and like I said, it just flows that way.

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It's just a natural flow and and it works for us.

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So kind of changing gears a little bit. What's an obstacle or challenge that the two of you've had to overcome as business owners,

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that you didn't expect? The challenge that people, the problem,

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I should say, that people have in this world because it's not a challenge, it's a problem that they have, is that

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there are three words that if you live by in business, in life in general, if you live by these three words, you'll be fine.

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And those three words are whatever it takes. And if you have a challenge.

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And you live by the words whatever it takes, and it's not a challenge, it's just part of life.

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If you have four people coming to the window one time and they want to order four sandwiches and you've already got 12 orders in the back.

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You know, some people are going to flip out and not be able to handle it and other people are going to do whatever it takes.

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Same thing goes with if you have to if you have a, you know, plumbing situation or whatever the situation is, if you just realize that,

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you know, tomorrow you're going to wake up and, Lord willing, the sun's going to shine, you do whatever it takes to get to tomorrow.

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And there's really nothing that you can consider as an obstacle.

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There are challenges, but every challenge can be overcome.

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And if you do whatever it takes. Well, you guys mentioned it that you also have another business.

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Some of our listeners may be are working full time or maybe they have a side hustle going on, but they want to expand into something full time.

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What advice would you give someone who is already, you know, putting in 40 hours in one thing and they're thinking, hey,

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I think I could really make this other thing take off, but I just can't step away from, you know, what I'm doing right now?

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What what would you tell them? I would tell them right off the bat that those three words are the reason that they haven't done it.

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I just can't you can make a thousand and one excuses why you can't do it, but you can do whatever you want to do.

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It's that simple. It's just it it's a mental thing. People can think they can't do it.

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Um, but they can you can do whatever you want to do.

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Life is too short to say you can't. If you want it, do it.

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If you don't want it, don't do it and quit your whining. We have learned to balance you know, we we do Lakotah early in the morning.

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And we do Lakotah in the evening and we do PennyLoafers in between and and usually by the time we sit down at night,

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we're exhausted, but we have a goal. And we want to do whatever it takes to reach that goal and to hopefully not have to come in one day,

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maybe see our daughters run this or, you know, somebody else take it over where we can camp or bow, fish, whatever we want to do.

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And so we're going to do whatever it takes right now. But we enjoy it anyway.

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So and we figure if if you're happy doing it, you need to keep doing it.

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And if you're not happy, stop doing it.

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I'd have to think there are quite a few listeners who are out there that really that message resonates with that.

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I don't have to be unhappy where I'm at right now, I can take control and move into a new position. As business owners,

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there's obviously a lot of responsibility, but there's also a lot of reward, obviously, being able to make your own decisions.

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But what's been the most rewarding piece of, you know, being the owners and operators of PennyLoafers?

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Well, we've we've, of course, made a lot of new acquaintances, a lot of new friends.

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We have we have people that come in every day and sometimes they'll sit till we close and have coffee and eat.

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They bring other people. They bring other people. And it's really been, of course, word of mouth, you know, in our advertising.

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A lot of it, a majority of it. And that is rewarding for me because I like to see people happy.

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I like to feed people. I like to see folks happy. And we have a well, like today at lunch, we had some new ladies come in.

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They just bought a bungalow down the road and they were talking with all the other tables and we were full up and everyone was so loud out here.

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When I came out, I couldn't say, could I get you some more coffee or and that makes me happy.

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I like to hear people conversing with other people, meeting new people, because there's a lot of lonely people out there.

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And yeah, but when I lock the door every day, I'm very thankful because we've made somebody happy, but somebody made us happy as well.

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And we feel like we've done we've had a good day and we feel like we've been successful.

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And that's something that's important to me, because, like I said, I've always worked for the man,

00:19:53,370 --> 00:20:00,650
sometimes two and three jobs, and when you go home at the end of the day, you've worked for the man.

00:20:00,650 --> 00:20:05,900
And there's not much of a successful feeling to me working for the man,

00:20:05,900 --> 00:20:13,790
but when I lock that door every day and that we can reopen tomorrow, you know, with that same attitude, it's going to be a good day.

00:20:13,790 --> 00:20:23,150
I think one of the coolest things about. You know, running this place is meeting people like you, Brandon.

00:20:23,150 --> 00:20:31,730
Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, it's you know, I never probably would have met you and, you know.

00:20:31,730 --> 00:20:38,000
You're an asset to the community as well as, you know, the people around us in the chamber and the,

00:20:38,000 --> 00:20:42,080
you know, the state park and everything, it's it's all about community.

00:20:42,080 --> 00:20:50,000
And it goes back to what I was saying about the Rolos on the playground. It's bringing to people what they want to make them happy.

00:20:50,000 --> 00:20:55,280
You will you whatever you give, you'll get back tenfold, no question.

00:20:55,280 --> 00:20:59,930
And it all comes back to people, whether or not you're in the people business or not.

00:20:59,930 --> 00:21:03,430
Everything is the people business.

00:21:03,430 --> 00:21:09,370
And it goes back to what you're saying about the five guys in the mayonnaise and the French fries and all like that.

00:21:09,370 --> 00:21:18,950
If you have employees, if you if you have someone working for you, you have a problem.

00:21:18,950 --> 00:21:26,770
You only need people who work with you. And you have to realize that.

00:21:26,770 --> 00:21:37,030
So the five guys realize that the mayonnaise is working for them, but the people who deliver the mayonnaise are working with them.

00:21:37,030 --> 00:21:45,610
That's a problem that we see a lot in big corporations and stuff, because the minute that you lose that touch with your employees,

00:21:45,610 --> 00:21:54,010
well, you've lost that touch with your customer and you'll see quality of product dwindle, you'll see quality of service dwindle.

00:21:54,010 --> 00:21:59,030
You'll see all the things that go hand in hand with

00:21:59,030 --> 00:22:06,610
losing touch with your customer because it it all ties in together.

00:22:06,610 --> 00:22:11,920
I want to talk to you guys a little bit about marketing and advertising. I know you have a Facebook page.

00:22:11,920 --> 00:22:19,010
PennyLoafers has a website, but just kind of share with our listeners and maybe some of the business owners that are listening to this,

00:22:19,010 --> 00:22:25,450
how do you guys market PennyLoafers? We started out using Facebook, just strictly Facebook.

00:22:25,450 --> 00:22:33,760
You know, it was free. And that was a big thing for us, you know, really managing our money, you know, especially at the beginning.

00:22:33,760 --> 00:22:40,810
But we started out with Facebook and we in the last two or three months have been on TripAdvisor.

00:22:40,810 --> 00:22:46,000
And that has been a big, big one for us is TripAdvisor.

00:22:46,000 --> 00:22:51,190
We were on the low, low end, the lowest of the low with the restaurants.

00:22:51,190 --> 00:22:54,760
And then in a month we were the the number one restaurant in Mammoth. Wow.

00:22:54,760 --> 00:23:04,030
So we were proud of that. If if I could say we were proud and we we did one billboard out on the highway coming from Memphis

00:23:04,030 --> 00:23:09,070
area where they can people we have a lot of traffic coming up from Memphis and in through here.

00:23:09,070 --> 00:23:13,180
So we get we have really seen a lot of people coming in.

00:23:13,180 --> 00:23:17,140
I saw your billboard, you know, and finally found you and wanted to, you know,

00:23:17,140 --> 00:23:24,790
so the billboard and we're almost afraid to advertise too much more because our workload just for me and Kenny is just tremendous.

00:23:24,790 --> 00:23:28,750
And that's pretty much word of mouth.

00:23:28,750 --> 00:23:34,540
Word of mouth has been a big thing for us. And that goes back, though, even farther than Facebook, though.

00:23:34,540 --> 00:23:43,300
The thing that anybody who might be listening might be interested in hearing is that, you know, when we first opened, we didn't even do Facebook.

00:23:43,300 --> 00:23:48,820
What we invested a few hundred bucks in was some banners, some signage,

00:23:48,820 --> 00:23:56,350
and we took some chairs and threw them out on the sidewalk that we took home and spray painted and brought some

00:23:56,350 --> 00:24:05,440
color to town and just things that were extreme attention getters that initially going to bring people in.

00:24:05,440 --> 00:24:13,210
I find it I've seen in my years a lot of people who go to start a business will spend a ton of money up front,

00:24:13,210 --> 00:24:22,180
buying fixtures, buying, you know, if it's a restaurant, new refrigerators, new this, new that, and spending all their money up front,

00:24:22,180 --> 00:24:29,050
investing in these high quality items, that that may look great and they may be wonderful.

00:24:29,050 --> 00:24:37,780
But when it comes time to actually open the doors, they've spent so much money trying to get the fixtures and the store ready.

00:24:37,780 --> 00:24:46,210
They have no money left for marketing down the road or they have no money left for operating expenses in the first couple months.

00:24:46,210 --> 00:24:56,770
When you open something like this, you can't expect to quit your job and start making a replacement income within 30 days.

00:24:56,770 --> 00:25:06,610
That's not how success is built. You have to be able to supplement and sustain yourself while you get something up and running.

00:25:06,610 --> 00:25:11,650
And the best way I know to do that is put a limited amount of money into something to start with.

00:25:11,650 --> 00:25:16,870
And because you may be on a winning thing or maybe on a losing thing, and no matter which way it goes,

00:25:16,870 --> 00:25:23,110
if you don't have that much invested in it to begin with, then if it doesn't work out, you haven't lost that much.

00:25:23,110 --> 00:25:29,230
And if it does work out well, you can always go back and upgrade things as you go and, you know,

00:25:29,230 --> 00:25:36,160
don't go spending, you know, crazy amounts of money on marketing or this or that or whatever until, you know,

00:25:36,160 --> 00:25:41,780
if you have a, you know, a reasonable idea of success for the future.

00:25:41,780 --> 00:25:48,760
There's something in your combined answer that I think is really important to consider with small business owners and just business in general.

00:25:48,760 --> 00:25:52,240
And we've only discussed it on a couple of different episodes.

00:25:52,240 --> 00:26:00,760
But kind of the mindset, it seems like, is get a business, grow it as big as you can, try to be number one, you know, be Fortune one, Fortune ten.

00:26:00,760 --> 00:26:06,880
If you're not there, you're a failure. And going around to the different communities, talking to the different business owners here,

00:26:06,880 --> 00:26:13,960
I've learned that you can be successful and maybe not be a multimillionaire multibillion dollar business.

00:26:13,960 --> 00:26:21,970
How do you square, you know, not wanting to be maybe the biggest coffee shop in an in cafe in town or,

00:26:21,970 --> 00:26:26,770
you know, the biggest boutique or the biggest flower shop or whatever it is, it's in a community.

00:26:26,770 --> 00:26:35,820
But still having a successful business and balancing that. To be small sometimes is a great thing.

00:26:35,820 --> 00:26:43,140
Because it it brings people closer together and that's what we feel here in PennyLoafers, like I told you earlier,

00:26:43,140 --> 00:26:47,820
when the ladies came in today, new to town, when they left, they felt like they had friends.

00:26:47,820 --> 00:26:54,600
And you may not go to a coffee shop to make new friends, but it's it's a perk.

00:26:54,600 --> 00:26:57,960
And on the way out the door, they're like, we're definitely coming back here.

00:26:57,960 --> 00:27:02,250
We will see you soon. And we hear that almost every day.

00:27:02,250 --> 00:27:10,440
Well, pretty much every day. And if that's the way people feel when they walk in, they say, oh, we love it in here.

00:27:10,440 --> 00:27:17,300
We'd love the small hometown mom and pop feel of your cafe.

00:27:17,300 --> 00:27:24,590
Then we've done what we wanted to do and why change that, you know, why change that?

00:27:24,590 --> 00:27:35,710
You know, to get a little bit bigger, maybe. Down the road, maybe, you know, it might happen, but to get biggest is not always best.

00:27:35,710 --> 00:27:42,130
And one of the perks with PennyLoafers is, is you can we can kind of do what we want to do.

00:27:42,130 --> 00:27:46,570
As far as the people that come in,

00:27:46,570 --> 00:27:54,980
you can tell if somebody is hungry and doesn't have money when they come up and count their and, you know, we're able to feed.

00:27:54,980 --> 00:28:02,540
People in the community without you know, it doesn't it's not broadcasted, but, you know, that's so well it is now.

00:28:02,540 --> 00:28:10,970
But, you know, like we have just an example. There's a little man and he comes in two or three times in the week.

00:28:10,970 --> 00:28:17,750
And he's just recently started doing it. And he comes in with a little Wal-Mart bag full of produce that he's grown.

00:28:17,750 --> 00:28:22,610
And we went we've already kind of morphed from the tomatoes to the sweet potatoes.

00:28:22,610 --> 00:28:28,520
And he'll say, he will bring me a big bag in the mornings early and he'll have his little stained coffee cup and he'll say,

00:28:28,520 --> 00:28:37,010
will this buy me a plate of biscuit and gravy and coffee. And he brings produce all the time and trades it for, you know,

00:28:37,010 --> 00:28:43,610
in the man around the corner with a with a vegetable booth brings us a watermelon, says, can I tried this for four waters.

00:28:43,610 --> 00:28:47,330
You know, I had so much produce back there the other day from trading, you know,

00:28:47,330 --> 00:28:57,650
but that's something that we can do because we're not so big that we have to account for that biscuits and gravy or that cup of coffee.

00:28:57,650 --> 00:29:06,020
And it makes a big difference in people. It sounds like service is really important to you all being able to give back to the community.

00:29:06,020 --> 00:29:09,260
It's something we don't talk about a lot on the podcast with business owners.

00:29:09,260 --> 00:29:17,750
But what drives your community service and what are some of the things that you, you know, feel invested in and wanting to give back?

00:29:17,750 --> 00:29:21,500
Well, I've been there. I was a single mom for many years.

00:29:21,500 --> 00:29:32,270
I raised four babies. And when I was running from abuse, I was actually set out in front of a shelter in a storm with four babies, one newborn

00:29:32,270 --> 00:29:37,430
by my parents, I mean,.I had no you know, I didn't really have any help.

00:29:37,430 --> 00:29:47,080
And the abuse went from four to 44. And so I knew that I wanted to treat people right.

00:29:47,080 --> 00:29:55,570
But it was it's always been in my heart to treat people right, and that's what we are very strict about between me and Kenny,

00:29:55,570 --> 00:29:59,800
is we know when these doors open in the morning that when people come in, number one,

00:29:59,800 --> 00:30:04,630
you're going to notice and you're going to speak to and acknowledge everybody that comes through your door,

00:30:04,630 --> 00:30:09,700
whether it's the garbage man that just needs to borrow the restroom or if it's, you know,

00:30:09,700 --> 00:30:14,950
our delivery guys, if our delivery guys are FedEx UPS guys, they come in hot and sweaty.

00:30:14,950 --> 00:30:18,910
They know they're more than welcome to walk over and get them a drink out of the cooler

00:30:18,910 --> 00:30:23,020
because we want to take care of them because they take care of our stuff that they deliver.

00:30:23,020 --> 00:30:28,300
So it's not just your customers, it's your delivery people. It's whoever you know comes in your door.

00:30:28,300 --> 00:30:33,220
We want to treat everybody with the utmost respect that comes in our door.

00:30:33,220 --> 00:30:42,400
To me, it is twofold because you can't be that way unless you have to be able to give.

00:30:42,400 --> 00:30:48,400
You can't give unless you have. And so that the origins are twofold.

00:30:48,400 --> 00:30:55,930
One is from where Penny came from, being able to have that burning desire in your heart to help.

00:30:55,930 --> 00:31:03,980
But the other is you have to look at your bottom line. And if you're not making a cash flow, you're not able to do that.

00:31:03,980 --> 00:31:13,720
You can't give to everybody. So by giving, you realize that it's a natural product.

00:31:13,720 --> 00:31:17,470
It's the flow of the universe. It's the way God works.

00:31:17,470 --> 00:31:26,530
When you give, you will be given back tenfold. And so if you if you go into it realizing it,

00:31:26,530 --> 00:31:33,970
not only is it because it's something you want to do because of what you've been through as a child and all those things which are 100 percent true,

00:31:33,970 --> 00:31:41,230
you also have to go into it from the attitude that, hey, if we're good to the community, they're going to be good back to us.

00:31:41,230 --> 00:31:50,230
They're going to become loyal customers. Well, I think Kenny had a I think he had a touch of of reality when he grew up in South America.

00:31:50,230 --> 00:31:59,140
And he saw them living on the hillsides in boxes and he saw them little kids trying to wash your windshield with dirty water to just to get a biscuit.

00:31:59,140 --> 00:32:05,930
You know, I think he really he tries to give I watch him give over and above and beyond.

00:32:05,930 --> 00:32:14,750
To everybody, and sometimes it bites him and it hurts him, I've seen him shed a tear over just trying to be a good person,

00:32:14,750 --> 00:32:20,720
but so we've both had our our way of life, you know, that's brought us to this point.

00:32:20,720 --> 00:32:25,190
But our number one thing is it's all about the people. It's what they want.

00:32:25,190 --> 00:32:34,190
It's how you treat them. And at the end of the day, when you lock your doors, you've done all you can do to please that person and to help.

00:32:34,190 --> 00:32:37,760
And that's that's kind of where PennyLoafers is at.

00:32:37,760 --> 00:32:48,200
So what wisdom or knowledge would you impart to someone wanting to get into the restaurant or food industry. Run away quickly?

00:32:48,200 --> 00:32:55,120
I, I would say get involved in the community with folks, go around, find out what they want.

00:32:55,120 --> 00:33:00,070
All we would hear was we need someplace to eat because we needed someplace to eat,

00:33:00,070 --> 00:33:05,770
because I can't just eat anywhere, I'm I'm very limited in what I can eat.

00:33:05,770 --> 00:33:11,410
And we knew that this little town needed some some place to eat.

00:33:11,410 --> 00:33:19,270
Little did we know that we would be the the new cafe in town, you know, like we started out.

00:33:19,270 --> 00:33:23,830
But we we really listened. You have to be a good listener.

00:33:23,830 --> 00:33:28,390
You have to understand what your community wants needs.

00:33:28,390 --> 00:33:38,860
And that's how our menu came to be. And if we can do it, if somebody asked for it, they asked for hamburgers, we found a way to do that.

00:33:38,860 --> 00:33:45,010
It took us a while, but we found a way to do it. And now we serve a really good hamburger.

00:33:45,010 --> 00:33:52,000
And that's that's how we did. We just we found out what our community wanted and we try to give it to them.

00:33:52,000 --> 00:33:57,550
One thing that my dad always told me growing up, and it's so ironic because he was never in the food business,

00:33:57,550 --> 00:34:00,340
but he would see these lines around restaurants.

00:34:00,340 --> 00:34:06,850
And when times are good, when times were bad, all my life growing up and he always said, you know, people got to eat.

00:34:06,850 --> 00:34:11,140
And if you serve something good, that's the rule number one.

00:34:11,140 --> 00:34:15,760
Forget about anything else. Whatever you serve, make it good.

00:34:15,760 --> 00:34:18,940
If it's delicious and yummy, people are going to want it.

00:34:18,940 --> 00:34:24,040
They're going to seek it out because people love to eat.

00:34:24,040 --> 00:34:32,140
There you go. I probably should have led with this first. How did you come up with the name PennyLoafers and what's the meaning to you all?

00:34:32,140 --> 00:34:37,120
I don't know. We were coming back from a cruise and I'm cheap Kenny

00:34:37,120 --> 00:34:41,110
will tell you, I'm cheap. I like thrift stores and I like it.

00:34:41,110 --> 00:34:45,130
But I. Right. You know, I had I was I had to raise my babies like that.

00:34:45,130 --> 00:34:47,590
So we were coming back from a cruise.

00:34:47,590 --> 00:34:55,750
And I was I told Kenny, I said, I think I want to open like a little thrift shop, you know, junk shop and call it PennyLoafers.

00:34:55,750 --> 00:34:59,050
And he was like, that's really cute. I like that.

00:34:59,050 --> 00:35:09,640
And it just it was just on my mind, on my heart you know. And then when this we got to talking about open the vintage and he's like, it's PennyLoafers.

00:35:09,640 --> 00:35:15,700
And I said, it's penny loafers. And our little Dutch girl, you know, and she's our symbol.

00:35:15,700 --> 00:35:21,730
And everybody, you know, comes in, well, we've got to have a T-shirt, got to have a mug, you know, love PennyLoafers.

00:35:21,730 --> 00:35:26,710
And the joke is on Penny and he's loafer.

00:35:26,710 --> 00:35:35,890
I think we got that in the back. Penny, Kenny, thank you so much for joining me this evening here in PennyLoafers to record this episode.

00:35:35,890 --> 00:35:41,050
I never have a dull moment with you, too. I love just popping in and getting to talk with you.

00:35:41,050 --> 00:35:43,990
And and clearly, the community thinks highly of you all.

00:35:43,990 --> 00:35:51,580
And I appreciate having another place to eat and and commune with with with other people in the community.

00:35:51,580 --> 00:36:02,720
But just thank you so much for joining me this evening and being on the program. You're welcome.

00:36:02,720 --> 00:36:12,620
For more information about this or any CREATE BRIDGES podcast or more about CREATE BRIDGES in Arkansas, visit

00:36:12,620 --> 00:36:14,630 The CREATE BRIDGES 

00:36:14,630 --> 00:36:21,920
Small Business, Big Rule Impact podcast is made possible by a Wal-Mart grant to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture,

00:36:21,920 --> 00:36:38,152
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