We had the good fortune of connecting with Pamela Briere and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pamela, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
COVID shut-downs really tested the “keep going or give up.” March 16. 2020 I furloughed nearly 120 employees due to the nationwide mandate to shut down. I own three concepts. A restaurant and bakery at an airport in Omaha, NE, a restaurant in Parker, CO, and a catering company in Omaha, NE. The three concepts I owned really did stand the true test of time. The reality was, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. The business at the airport was down 98% in sales, the business in Colorado just opened five weeks before the pandemic shut it down, and the catering business was down 100% in sales (no gatherings, no events, no people, no catering…it’s just that simple). I have been a business owner for over 16 years and never ever have I ever seen anything like this and definitely don’t want to go through it again. Many days after the shutdowns, I felt like giving up, but instead of accepting defeat, I decided to fight for the sweat equity that I had built. I am an accountant by trade and I started with the EIDL loan with the SBA. I called vendors and the bank and asked for deferrments until this whole thing passed. Little did I know, I thought it was going to last for a few weeks. Unfortunately, COVID is still effecting sales and operations. Labor shortages, supply chain issues, and operational obstacles never seen before. But, I believe I made it to the other side of the tunnel and perhaps the light is getting brighter. Even though there were days I wanted to give up, I didn’t. I decided to fight, to perservere, and to come out stronger. I did this for my family, my employees, and most importantly, a legacy. While giving up was an option, as it was for many. I proved to COVID that giving up wasn’t my option – not now, not ever. Fight for what you want and never give up. That’s what I did.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I own GPMM, Inc. GPMM, Inc. started June 1, 2005 at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. I currenly own Kracky McGee’s and Simply Scrumptious Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. By trade, I am a Financial Reporting Manager and graduated with a BSBA in Accounting from University of Nebraska at Omaha, and an MBA in Accounting from Bellevue University. I left the corporate accounting trade June 30, 2009 to completely pursue a full-time career as a business owner. I completely fell in love with the restaurant business. In 2016, I opened a catering company called Save the Date Catering in Omaha, NE. In February 2020, I opened West Main Taproom and Grill in Parker, CO. Being self-employed has its ups and downs and its fair share of good days and bad days. But at the end of the day, it is was meant to be. I enjoy this industry and the biggest joy from it is meeting new people, talking to people, and seeing people smile. Having the accounting background has definitely been helpful as a business owner and especially during COVID. I believe having the accounting background was the main key of why I survived the COVID shutdowns. The newest brand, West Main Taproom and Grill has definitely been a fun ride and one of the most rewarding projects that I have completed.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My daughter is coming to see me this weekend and we are going to Garden of the Gods to do some hiking, Manitou Springs, and a the Golden Bee. I am also taking my daughter to Denver the the botanical gardens. The last day we are driving to Estes Park for a day in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I believe that my success story started in the fifth grade. My true inspiration came from my fifth grade elementary teacher, Mrs. Pamela House. She taught more than just reading, writing, math, social studies, spelling, and science. She gave me encouragement and strength to go beyond my daydreams. She left a positive impact on my life and her encouragement gave me the strength to pursue and conquer obstacles that were out of my comfort zone. I will never forget her as an educator. She truly left a positive impact on my life and career all at the age of 11.