Meet Sherron Stevens: College student, published author, and successful business owner
At just 21 he’s fundraising for his newest business venture: Bondfire Grill
When you think of a typical college student, you probably think of a Natty-littered apartment with an over-stressed and over-caffeinated student bingeing Netflix before settling in for the next all-nighter that is sure to get you at least a C on your midterm paper. That is not Sherron Stevens.
Stevens has seen more success (and probably a lot less sleep) than your average 21-year-old. He is a published author, founder and CEO of Columbus Auto Detailers and a full-time college student.
Recently, Stevens announced his next project: Bondfire Grill, a foodtruck franchise that seeks to serve not only an excellent plate of food, but to also bring a community together.
Sherron spoke with The Tab about his entrepreneurial journey thus far, and about his aspirations to start Bondfire Grill.
“My first job was with Chick-Fil-A at 16,” Stevens said about his start in the restaurant industry. He explained how he began to develop a passion for both the restaurant industry and customer service, moving quickly up the ranks from team member, to leader, and eventually a corporate position where he helped open new restaurants. He credits Chick-Fil-A with teaching him the important lesson, “if you give a good experience and serve a good plate of food, then the sky is the limit in the restaurant industry”.
His love for customer service is what drove him to write and publish his book “The Undercover Customer: 100 Ways To Fix Your Broken Customer Service” through Amazon at the age of 18.
Stevens feels confident in his ability to find success despite being in a business that fails more often than not. “When you see that statistic that 85 percent of restaurant owners fail, they fail because they don’t have the passion, and they don’t focus on the experience.” Stevens doesn’t plan on making that mistake.
His concept for a food truck franchise, Bondfire, would champion community, togetherness, and would attempt to capture the feeling of coming together over a shared experience.
“The restaurant industry is a great way to bring people together. There was a time when people actually stopped and had a good conversation, and there was good music, and good food, and good people. And no other restaurant offers that. No other restaurant serves an experience like you’re going home.”
According to Stevens, that feeling of community is what Bondfire’s mission statement ensures. Bondfire won’t exist to target one group, but instead to welcome anyone and everyone. Additionally, he believes foodtrucks are the best way to promote and cater to the community, so to speak.
“Being in a foodtruck would allow us to go to multiple different communities. As long as that food is good and the experience is good, it really can bring people together.”
Although Stevens has seen a myriad of success, it was never handed to him.
“I grew up to a single mom and I grew up very poor. I always tell people, ‘you don’t know how many ramen noodles dishes my mom made out of just one pack of ramen noodles.’ I’ve always had a foot in entrepreneurship, all the way from pulling people on my bike and charging them a quarter, to setting up a lemonade stand on my street.”
Despite growing up in a poor, single-parent household, Stevens said that nothing has ever felt unattainable. “My whole philosophy is that anything is attainable if you just try it. Just try.”
Finding the funding for Bondfire Grill will be the biggest challenge Stevens has faced so far, and he is reaching out to the community for help. Stevens told The Tab that he is “currently in the process of trying to get the funding for Bondfire Grill, because it is a bigger project than me. It would be a cool idea to say ‘Hey, we created this community-based company that was actually funded by the community.'”
Sherron has set up a GoFundMe to allow the community an opportunity to support Bondfire Grill. “I need the people in the community to support it to get it on the road, literally.”