We had the good fortune of connecting with Farley McDonough and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Farley, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think of risk as completely necessary in my world; uncomfortable but simply part of the fabric of owning a small business. Owning a small biz, in my case a restaurant, means you are investing in your self. There is no where to hide when you screw up, nothing to fall back on and no one else to blame. Not everyone can handle that. But there is also tremendous inner strength that comes from owning those dreadful moments, reflecting and moving on. When I bought Adam’s in 2001 I had 6000.00 in my savings account. I was a server with a high school diploma and no business experience at all. In the first year I almost lost the business twice due to my lack of experience. But I refused to give up or run. I will never forget the fear every night when there was nothing to distract me and I was forced to think about my situation. But I got through it and afterwards it got easier to take all the risks needed in order to be in business 20 years.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think it is important to point out that I have no college degree, only a high school diploma. I used to be ashamed of that fact. Early on I was asked to join the Chamber Board and I said no because I didn’t think I could navigate the discussions or follow the procedures. Not true. But there were some challenges. Now I volunteer on several Boards and Commissions which keeps me very busy but it also keeps me in touch with the community around me. Prior to owning Adam’s I worked in restaurants on the East Coast and in the Virgin Islands as a server. It was a way for me to travel and see places. I never thought it would end with me owning a restaurant. I had no idea what I was going to do as a profession but small business owner wasn’t even on the radar. Life is funny though because in reality my whole life pointed towards me owning a small business; perhaps not a restaurant and not in Colorado but I was born to be a small business owner and I am proud of the business I have built. Adam’s is a reflection of who I am and my values. That is evident in the food we serve, the atmosphere we create, the people that I hire and the way in which we are part of the larger community.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I can’t answer this question. This is embarrassing to admit but I am such a homebody and always tired from work so I never go anywhere. I would take them on a hike in the Garden of the Gods, breakfast at Adam’s and then ask them what they wanted to do and help them connect to those places.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, David McDonough. David is Chef at Adam’s and an amazing cook with vast knowledge and experience. I am responsible for all the day to day operations of the business from top to bottom – except for the recipes. Our popularity and recognition is based primarily on the recipes. He is consistent and so talented and I could never replicate his abilities no matter how hard I tried and trained. And without the consistency of the food, I don’t think we would have such a loyal following. Further, the turn over of such a critical role in a restaurant is such a challenge and one I have never had to experience. But working with me cannot be easy. I have high expectations and then we go home together at the end of the day. David is essential to our success and i don’t think we would be here without him.
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