Shane Matlock, The Burgundian: Coffee & Waffles, Providence, RI

Love at First Sight

 

Since working in his first coffee shop at the age of 17, Shane Matlock has aspired to own a café.  He always loved the role it played in the community, intersecting culture and lives.  College kids came in for a break, parents brought their sleeping babies, local politicians held Q&As, and bands kept their musical dreams alive on weekends.  The shop offered a daily boost or reprieve for people.  It became an important part of their lives.

During his 10 years with the Army, Shane’s commitment to his dream was strengthened.  One of his assignments included 3 years on the border of France and Belgium.  During his time there, Shane fell in love with how food and drink played an integral role in society.  “People slowed down their lives to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and pastry during an afternoon break.  Long leisurely dinner with a glass of wine and great friends was the norm.  It was this type of atmosphere that really spoke to me, that I want to create for my business,” shared Matlock.  “It was during this time in Europe I discovered that we in America were doing waffles all wrong.  The Liege waffle is where it’s at.”

A Rhode Island First

 

 
 The Burgundian coffee shop with seating on top of the British Double Decker bus. 
When Shane started thinking about building his own business, he first began by looking at the food and beverage landscape in Providence and Boston.  Two things were obvious to him: food trucks were a huge hit, and the donut craze had taken over.  He researched what he could do that was similar, but at the same time would stand apart.  He envisioned a coffee shop in the shape of a British Double Decker bus, with seating on top. Shane then began thinking about his signature product.  Something that would be new, versatile and yet very transitional.  The Liege waffle came to mind.  He researched locations in the U.S. where this waffle had been sold successfully and decided he would be Rhode Island’s first Liege waffle company.  Shane worked on his recipe for months and even went to Belgium to learn how to make his product.

 

The Burgundian: Coffee & Waffles

“Starting a business in general is tough but thrilling,” shares Shane.  He found that there are countless people to convince that the business is viable - family, friends, investors, partners, customers.   It then takes preparation, research, market study, competitive analysis, and lots of risk.

He went to the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) and the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in Rhode Island.  There he attended some of the free classes that CWE offered on branding, growth plans, and general business startup.  He also went through two different business startup courses, included the SBA’s Boots to Business program.  Shane then decided he was ready to go to the banks for funding.  He reached out to VBOC Director Brian LaFauci, who met with Shane on multiple occasions to help him prepare his financial package. Shane was able to secure a bank loan to purchase his double decker food truck. Shane credits CWE, VBOC and Hope & Main with giving him many of the tools he needs to be successful.

Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

  • Ask for help. Do not let your pride get in the way of your potential success.
  • Be a sponge and absorb information. 
  • Call business owners in your industry and others.  Ask questions and learn from them.
  • Research and attend classes provided by CWE, VBOC, SBA, SCORE and more.  
  • Get an accountant to set up your financial system immediately. Don’t wait to get your books in order.  Although they may be expensive, accountants can help you set up your system for success.
  • Do not give up.  Block out the internal and external negative voices.
  • You are better than you think you are.
  • “There are times the voice in your head will tell you to give up, that you are not good enough to make this work – shut that voice down and constantly remind yourself the truth of who you are, and what you can accomplish.”  Shane Matlock

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     The Burgundian:  Coffee & Waffles
    www.WeAreBurgundians.com