WADESBORO — Small business owners continue to face challenges over two years into the pandemic.
Their income has been negatively affected due to rising Covid-19 cases as well as inflation, according to CNBC’s February 2022 edition of Stock Market & Business. Nearly one in five US businesses fail within the first year, according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Tracey Jones, however, remains very optimistic about the future of the small business she opened April 19, 2021. Jones is the owner of Driftwood Restaurant and Bar, 1300 E. Caswell St. in Wadesboro.
A resident of Rockingham, Jones has worked very hard to make her years-long dream of owning her own restaurant come true.
She worked more than 15 years, prior to opening her business, as a waitress in Richmond County, specifically at #1 Diner, The Grille and Godfather’s Pizza.
After several disappointments when planning a business of her own, a friend told her of a restaurant for sale in Wadesboro. After seeing it, Jones said she knew she could make it work.
What does Jones contribute to her success?
First, she acknowledges that she was nurtured by an aunt who instilled within her the attributes and outcomes of hard work and good values. This led to Jones’ belief that great customer service is of primary importance. She and her staff have developed family-like relationships with their customers.
Another important ingredient in Driftwood’s recipe for success is consistency. Jones states that 90% of her food is made to order. She strives to guarantee that when a customer is served a great burger, that burger will be just as great the next time.
Jones also contributes to the success of Driftwood to positive reviews on social media, and by word of mouth.
“I have new customers every day that don’t even know about my restaurant, and they’re from Wadesboro,” Jones said.
Her staff includes three waitresses (daughter Adriana, Amanda Black and Sierra Burr), eight cooks (including Martha Hart), and two dishwashers. She notes that her cook, Cody, was hired at a time when she really needed him, describing him as “the best employee ever!”
When her family comes in to grab a bite to eat, Jones puts them to work, too.
“This doesn’t always go over very well!”, she said, jokingly, adding that her husband, Joe, is her “number one dishwasher, when he’s off work.”
As previously stated, Jones’ oldest daughter, Adriana, works with her mom at the restaurant, while daughter Kayla is in the Air Force and son Gavin leaves for the Air Force in September. Jones also has a grandson, Ryder.
Jones is very appreciative of the support she has received from local business owners and the community in general.
“From the beginning, I have had so many people from Rockingham come across the river in support of me and my restaurant; people who, as a waitress, I’ve served for years,” she said. “They’re just so happy for me.”
“I have met a lot of great people in Wadesboro that have become like family, and I am very grateful that they have embraced me and my restaurant.”
Jones also expressed her gratitude for those who believed in and supported her along the way.
Jones believes she was meant to be in the restaurant business, citing two humorous examples from her childhood.
The first is a picture taken of her grandfather, sick in bed, and she, 4 years old, standing over him with a pad and pencil, taking his order for lunch.
The second example takes place when Jones was 5 years old. Her Sunday school teacher asked each class member to draw a picture of what they thought heaven would look like.
“I drew a picture of a tree with lots of hamburgers hanging from it,” she said. “I’m not saying my burgers are from Heaven, but they are to die for!”
Driftwood is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday; and 8 am to 3 pm Sunday. Karaoke Night begins Aug. 6 and 7 p.m