After 18 years of wishful speculation, Chris Williamson’s lifelong dream finally became a reality. Together with his wife and business partner, Katie, Williamson opened the doors to Farmhouse Tacos, a Mexican-style restaurant that fuses Williamson’s passions for good food, locally-sourced ingredients, handcrafted specialty drinks and creative cuisine.
Chris and Katie, both Greenville natives, moved to Travelers Rest in 2015. The couple thought the locale was an ideal setting for their farm-to-table restaurant. “We liked the community and being close to the Swamp Rabbit Trail,” Chris said. The Williamson’s devotion to the area is even reflected in the restaurant’s motto of “Made with love in Travelers Rest.”
Having selected the perfect site for their venture, the Williamson’s needed assistance transforming their vision into a thriving establishment. So the couple followed the advice of a local business owner and contacted the Greenville Area SBDC, where they were introduced to consultant Kostas Ioannidis.
“It was apparent at our first meeting that Katie and Chris understood the restaurant industry and had conducted extensive market research,” said Ioannidis. He credits the couple for doing the lion’s share of the work. “I simply steered them in the right direction, crunched some numbers and connected them to the best resources.”
According to Chris, however, the support Kostas provided was invaluable and much more substantial. “In addition to helping us develop a thorough business plan, Kostas refined our financial projections and sales model. Thanks to him we received a very generous SBA start-up loan.”
According to Kostas, advising Katie and Chris gave him the opportunity to do the two things he most enjoys: work with numbers and help aspiring entrepreneurs become successful business owners. “Prior to joining the SC SBDC network, I provided consulting and inventory management services to high-volume, full service restaurants in the Charleston area,” said Ioannidis.
His experience has yielded tremendous benefits for the Williamson’s. Whereas nearly 60 percent of new restaurants fail within 12 months of opening (based on a study recently released by CNBC), Farmhouse tacos has defied the odds by posting first year profits that more than double initial projections. These numbers are remaining steady as Farmhouse Tacos enters its second year. Justifiably proud of this achievement, Katie and Chris already have embarked on their next undertaking. “We hope to open Hare & Field, an American-style gastropub within walking distance from Farmhouse Tacos, in early 2018.”