The Caterers Corner
what's up in tornado alley Caterers Corner: what's up in tornado alley
By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 07:46 pm: Edit

this is the latest with me...

By Cindyscatering (Cindyscatering) on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 11:50 pm: Edit

I'm sooooo sorry. I can't believe you had all that happen to you at once. What are your plans for now? It sounds like you have the support of loyal customers. Good luck and I will keep you in my prayers.

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 12:33 am: Edit

amazing what life brings you at various stages of your life. I have had much success.. especially in the 80's to mid 90's...

Closed a restaurant in 96... stress beyond imagination... lost much money..... all because the state of TN highway department is full of idiots.... and i let that eat at me so much over the years..

In 98, opened Premier Place Catering Mansion in that location... it was a lemon that became lemonade....

The other location, (south) thrived until 2 years ago... a western sizzlin used to be a great concept to the middle to lower upper class... as the years past and the outbacks took the upper middle and lower upper, sizzlin's went the wrong way... they gravitated (which is down) to the lower middle class and a lot of fixed income folks...

in that demographic, there arose stiff competetion... (cause it doesnt take much to please this demographic) from Ryan's, Golden Corrap, Ponderosa, and many other buffet concepts...

Sizzlin's moved away from their signature choice steaks and quality big baked potatoes to giving away a potato bar, dessert bar, bakery bar, ice cream....

to compete, they lowered prices and quality... because quality is not the most important thing to their clientel... (so they think)

not me, I maintained the quality.. I have been higher priced than most sizzlins and the competition listed above... as time passed, I focused on my love, catering... the sizz slipped..

I refused to lower quality... costs continued to rise, margins lowered....

then the tornado struck Jackson TN on May 4... the sizz was in a 27 year old building (i started young)
it damaged 3 buildings I own including the sizzlin, my catering mansion and a 3 story office building downtown...

the sizz, had roof damage. my insurance had been cancelled and the replacement coverage was double the price so I dropped some less needed coverage like business interruption.... uh oh...

28 days later, tornado disaster... thank God, I kept my coverage... but closing for 1 month to repair the under performing sizzlin without loss of income insurance will finish it off...

I plan on a remodel and will consider another banquet hall... but cash will be a problem...

those of you who have benefitted from my posts and have a boatload of money that you really dont need, consider sending me some...

all seriousness aside, I want you to know that I have no stress. I feel completely at ease.

I have truly learned not to sweat the little things... and the challenge that I am so thankful that I am so blessed to have now is teaching me NOT TO SWEAT THE BIG THINGS either...

stressing will not change the situation, only cloud my creativity, raise my already high blood pressure and kill me early... it will certainly not get me out of this mess....

what will get me out of this mess is being calm, being ok with what has happened... seeing the blessing in it. and I DO. the blessing is the realization that this too is a test that I have had my entire career... the test of what I can take.... how I can handle adversity....

I look at just how much I have, family, friends, YOU, my wonderful clients and their mom's, I have laughed so much lately... My friends are amazed.... Have I lost my mind or have I found myself (a child of the 70's) I am not perfect, I have flaws, I could be a little slimmer, in better shape, better looking, speak without a southern accent... lots of things, but I am happy... I have found that I love what I do so much and I love pleasing people. I love my new found enlightenment.

I thank God for the tests, challenges and the blessings mixed in... I may get hit by a truck tomorrow, but I cannot complain. I have so much.

So, although I am no where near the Guru of Catering, I do feel like I have been elevated in life and consciousness and it feels so great... and I just wanted to share that with you who are still reading my rambling...

By George (George) on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 08:36 am: Edit


From the sounds of it no one was hurt and it's just money lost, but you got good value from that loss by appreciation what you have and have had. You made it once you can do it again, only better.

I was thinking of you when that New York horse won the Derby and planned to post something snyde to see if you were still around. Guess I don't have to now.

Great attitude, keep on plugging.


By Peachcreek (Peachcreek) on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 11:50 am: Edit

If 10 years ago someone would have told me what I'd be doing today I would have laughed in their faces and told them to get out! It would have seemed almost surreal. But that was before I knew that I would end up divorced, bankrupt, fired, evicted, repo'ed, hospitaled, stranded, arrested, lost, robbed and all the other factors along the way that had to happen for me to be where I am today- reasonably happy and successful. As long as you don't give up on the present. I have come to believe that there are no disasters, only forced changes. You will deal with things just fine...

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 07:35 am: Edit

Carl, I'm sorry to hear about your losses. You did it once or more you will definitely do it again!
Thank God you and yours are alive and healthy!
Out of tragedy something greater will come!
Good Luck, God Bless

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 05:55 pm: Edit

Carl, I have enjoyed and appreciated your posts here. Unfortunately, I don't have any ready cash :>) My prayers are with you and I know you will rise like a phoenix!


By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 05:48 pm: Edit


It sounds like you've taken this difficulty and allowed it to energize you rather than defeat you. If that is the case, I wish you all the success you can stand.

By Cindyscatering (Cindyscatering) on Tuesday, June 24, 2003 - 11:13 pm: Edit

Since you have been so helpful to me over the years I am planning to send you a boatload of money. Will you take a check? How 'bout a bad check?

I am glad you are dealing with things so well and I hope you continue to do so. I got into this business because I had survived a bout with adrenal cancer and wanted something less stressful than my paralegal career to do for a couple of hours a day. This qualifies as the joke of the year.

But I love it, and I wouldn't want to do anything else. Sometimes when we are loading the van at 2 a.m., after having worked for 16 hours, I can hear Rick (my husband) mutttering "I just want something to get me out of the house a couple of hours a day".....

I recently found out that my cancer has returned and I have to undergo chemo.....blek......I worry about what will happen to my business. I know I will be fine, but other people don't know that. Nobody wants to hire a caterer they think is dying. So we have been trying to keep things very hush, hush. Which is weird, because I can't really tell people, because it effects my business. Catch 22. Anyway, you guys don't know me that well, but I don't tolerate sympathy. I have fought this battle for many years (since 1989) I am a tough ole southern broad. I have complete faith in God. And I will deal with whatever is put to me with grace, humor and dignity. And if all that fails I'll kick butt.

Anyway, Carl, what brought all this to mind was what you are going through and how all the inconsequential things in life just fall away when dealing with really important issues. One of my favorites sayings is:
God never gives us more to deal with than we can handle. Sometimes I wish he didn't think so much of me.

Boatload of good thoughts and prayers being sent to you.


By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 10:09 pm: Edit

Truckloads and trainloads to both of you, with prayers flying out behind!

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