Where many business owners would see lack of market viability, vandalism, and crime, Edward Barnett and Karim Webb saw opportunity. When they opened their Buffalo Wild Wings Bar & Grill franchise in the Crenshaw District of Baldwin Hills, California, there were certainly those who doubted their decision. After all, the neighborhood was known more for shootings than for commercial success.
However, the visionary pair were not deterred but, on the contrary, incentivized. They looked at the numbers, density, and lack of competition. Realizing how underserved the area was, they couldn’t see any reason to look anywhere else.
With the new business prospect baking in their heads, Barnett and Webb spoke with the franchise planning team to better understand the Crenshaw District and its future developments. There was a lot of potential to be had in opening the only national chain, sit-down restaurant within a three- to four-mile radius.
Starting a successful franchise in the so-called “bad” neighborhood wasn’t only a matter of exploiting the lack of competition. Barnett and Webb knew they had to give back to the community in order to find success. They worked hard to change people’s negative perceptions (valid or not) of the area. Additionally, they provided jobs to not only young people attending the local junior college but also single moms, raised scholarship funds, and served on boards of several local community groups.
Their work with the community has certainly paid off. Barnett and Webb’s Buffalo Wild Wings was named 2014 California Small Business of the Year for acting as a successful model for opening inner-city restaurants. Over the past two years, their location has had the highest annual growth of any Buffalo Wild Wings in the country. And it’s still experiencing growth.
The Internicola Law Firm, P.C. commends Barnett and Webb for their vision and devotion to the community. It is people like them who not only find success for themselves but also give back to the world.
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