Chamber Insider Blog

SBA Finalist Spotlight: EatLoco

Thank you to EatLoco for answering a few of our questions.
Congratulations on being named a finalist in the Loudoun Destination Business of the Year category!
The 24th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards will be on November 1, 2018 – Tickets/More Info Here

1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today? 

What started as a marketing company in 1998, turned into a healthy resource blog called EatLoco in 2016. The blog was designed to provide Loudoun County with an online resource for recipes, tips on working out, home remedies, a place to find roadside farm stands, farmers markets, healthy restaurants, etc. However, we learned through research and diligence that farmers needed something that no one had ever offered them before: Marketing. Fast forward to today, and we now manage 2 of the most successful farmers markets Loudoun has ever seen. With an eye still on educating Loudoun on healthy lifestyles, we have turned the One Loudoun and Brambleton farmers markets into full-blown Marketplaces with over 140 farmers, crafters, artisans, food producers and so much more. We are a Loudoun Destination! We provide markets with awesome venues, incredible traffic, and free marketing to all our vendors.

2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?

To be recognized by the very county we have set out to help would be an absolute honor and a life dream. It would be the ultimate reassurance of a “job well done”. It sends a message to our vendors and customers that we’re not messin’ around. The more we grow, the more our vendors and markets grow, and the more they grow, the more Loudoun County grows. Simple economics. (You may actually find us dancing in the streets if that happens).

3.  If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing?

I would probably be starting another business. (I can’t seem to help myself). That’s a tough one. I do have several hobbies that have taken a back-burner for the past 20 years. I think resurrecting one of them might be fun. Something outdoors fits me well. I’m a big baseball fan and would love to make it out to more games,

4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book? 

I am reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I have always been a John Grisham fan and his first book, A Time to Kill is one of my favorites. I am also very much into self-help books like those by Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Jack Canfield, etc.

5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do? 

I would love to go white-water rafting again. I haven’t been since my 30’s. Camping out the night before, rafting the day of, and putting down some cold brews with some of my good buds around a campfire afterwards, sounds like a great time to me. I would love to get a card game going again too. Good whiskey, good cigars, good friends (and maybe some good venison). Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!

6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?

It’s great when I hear my 28 year old daughter’s excitement about EatLoco and telling me what a great job we’re doing (kind of a role reversal, but hey, I’m human too). She is also a marketing pro in Nashville and we often have conversations about new ideas for EatLoco. I love it when she starts a sentence with “Dad, ya know what would be really cool…??”  I always sit up straight when she says that because I know the next words that come out of her mouth will be something awesome that I had never thought of before.

7.  What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?

I always knew I wanted to work for myself one day. I didn’t know what it would look like or what I would actually be doing, but after watching my father (a blue collar factory worker) barely make enough for our family of 8,, I knew I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny, my own clients, my own free time and the size of my own bank account. I started my business in 1998 and never once looked back. I have truly never regretted it.

8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

My old boss, Ron Briney, who I met back in 1986 in San Diego. He made me think outside the box when there was no box. He knew I had a creative mind though he was not creative-minded himself. Loved that guy. I still think about him almost every day.

9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County? 

Loudoun County is very competitive and I like that. It pushes us all to do better (which I suppose is what makes Loudoun the richest county in the country). Loudoun is also a “giving” county. I have lived in many big cities in my life. Nothing compares to this, I promise you.

10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?

Usually, I’m spending time with my bride. Sheryl and I run two very active (separate) businesses in Loudoun County. We like to spend “free time” with friends and family and sometimes binge watching something good on Netflix or Hulu, usually with wine in hand. Other than that, we love to relax out by the pool, take a couple days to visit our kids, or to just take a short trip a few hours away to “forget about life for a while”.

11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?
I like spending some of my time at our farmers markets on the weekend. Not to work them (we have staff that takes care of that), but to purchase my weekly fruits and veggies, to meet some of the new food producers and chefs, and to simply say hello to our current vendors. But Loudoun’s wineries, breweries and cideries are also some of our favorite weekend spots.