Carl Broussard first came to the Florida SBDC at UWF in 2000, looking for help with his new business Cajun Specialty Meats, where their focus was retailing and wholesaling specialty meats and food. Since then he’s returned to the SBDC on and off for special projects.
As to how the relationship with the SBDC started, Broussard recalls, “SBDC Regional Director Larry Strain was a good customer, and he asked if we had tried the SBDC services. It began with the purchase of our new building. We used the SBDC then mainly for projections and forecasting.”
In 2015 Broussard returned to the SBDC to participate in a student project, in which a group of UWF students from the College of Business analyzed his company’s marketing and social media presence, and then provided him with their discoveries, along with recommendations to improve in those areas. He says it was a very good experience, adding, “They put together a good marketing plan.”
The most recent project for Broussard was the launch of a new location on Navarre Beach that he had no interest in to begin with. He explains, “In April of last year I was approached by some friends of the owner of the building. He said, ‘I think we have a great opportunity for you.’ I said, “I’m not in the restaurant business. No, thank you.” Broussard recalls that they came back and asked him to just come and look at the place and talk. He continues, “We went down there, and the place had been empty for a year and a half, so it needed a lot of work, but you could envision the possibilities there. It definitely had a lot of potential.” He remembers still saying no, as much as he loved the place. The owners reply was, “I think we’re going to make you an offer that you won’t be able to refuse.” And Broussard says they did make him an offer he couldn’t refuse, and they’ve been great. The rest, as they say, is history! Broussard’s Bayou Grill on Navarre Beach opened October 15, 2017.
“Dorian Zwierewicz and the SBDC helped us put together projections based on the Pensacola store, but how we thought they would apply on Navarre Beach,” says Broussard. “And thank God we were all way off, because we’ve eclipsed all that stuff and it’s been great. Going into Navarre, we really had no idea, so the numbers he put together were very helpful, and at least gave us a framework and foundation to work with. The other big thing that helped too, was the demographic information.”
To celebrate their one year anniversary, Broussard’s Bayou Grill partnered with the Navarre Chamber to host a Navarre Beach Bash in October, starting out as a one day show with ten bands. Broussard says they’re hoping to be able to turn it into a three day event in the future.