Being an entrepreneur in a small town (Princeton, West Virginia) building a novel approach to womenswear is far from easy. Actually some days it is so extremely difficult that you have to wonder if this big dream you are building is even possible. It is in moments like those that I look to Erin French’s Lost Kitchen in Freedom Maine. For those of you who don’t know Erin – she was born and raised in Freedom, a small, remote town in Maine, and doggedly tackled her dream of building a top-quality farm to table restaurant in her town against all odds.
So many people told her that nobody would travel to Freedom to eat fancy food. She battled adversity after adversity in her personal life, in her professional life. But in the end, she built her dream and is having a profound impact on her community. Her dream is something you can see, feel, touch and smell. It creates a feeling of comfort and it shines a light of abundance and opportunity, creating a nice cadre of jobs while supporting local farmers. In Freedom, where her current restaurant building in an old mill was falling down before it was renovated, she serves gorgeous farm fresh food alongside towering bouquets of local flowers, with a team of local women who bring food from their farms and come together to create a magical experience each evening of the dinner service.
When I begin to wonder if what we are building is even possible, I think about Erin and her dream. I picture myself entering her restaurant, what the light would look like, what the flowers would smell like. Erin French has a memoir, The Lost Kitchen and a show on Discovery Plus. In the tough days of the Fall and Winter after long days working my day job and topping it off with business todos I would eat scrambled eggs straight out of our small cast iron pan with toast, a bowl of olives and a glass of wine and watch Erin French overcoming some other obstacle be it Covid or the absence of a crucial food delivery. The level of comfort this brought me was indescribable. Last weekend I again found inspiration in her work as I finished her memoir.
I find so much solace in her story and knowing that someday mine might light the way for some other entrepreneurs doggedly holding the rains through the days they are dragged through the mud.
Ultimately, I know in my heart that this dream is doable. Indeed, we are doing it no matter the challenges. There are many supporters here that are looking at the same deck of cards – this crazy lady in a small town building a very challenging dream, and they say – yep I believe you can do it. And together we keep going. And see what happens.
Thank you for your support.
Go, fight win.