Today we’d like to introduce you to Tim and Melanie Griffith. Them and their team share their story with us below:
Tim and Melanie met in 2003 at Beverly Hills Grill in Beverly Hills, MI. Tim was a line cook, and Mel waited tables.
With each other’s support, Tim moved up to Sous Chef, and Mel to Dining Room Manager.
Melanie’s family has a cottage in Empire, MI and they began visiting together and got married there in September of 2005.
After working together at the Grill for 8 years, we made the move in 2011 Up north.
We lived in Traverse City at first, Tim at Amical and Mel at Trattoria Stella.
We settled in Empire in 2017.
Empire is a rural town, which lost its grocery store in 2018.
We saw a need for healthier food options, and in 2019 partnered with friend and Empire resident Mae Stier in opening the Blue Heron Mercantile, offering groceries and grab-and-go food items.
While the store has closed, we had gotten an opportunity to get to know our community and wanted to help.
In the fall of 2019, we started offering a meal delivery service, bringing fully prepared healthy meals, right to your door.
Then the pandemic and lockdown restrictions happened. We’ll just say it was good for business.
We have kept up the weekly deliveries, and offer catering services from private chef to weddings and events.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Living in a tourist area has many challenges. There is a shortage of long-term rentals for people who live and work in the area.
Also finding full-time year-round work is a challenge.
When the season is at its peak May through October, we found ourselves wearing many hats.
This business basically came from us wanting to make extra money when we knew we could.
Expanding our business is known a challenge because there are not many options for us without us remodeling a building.
For now, our business model works, thanks to Grow Benzie in Benzonia.
It is an incubator kitchen, where we can rent space and operate our business.
The biggest challenge to date was in October, Tim suffered a head injury and needed emergency brain surgery to save his life.
He spent 3 weeks in the hospital doing rehab, and continues without patient vision therapy now, to help restore his eyesight.
We are beyond blessed for how well he has recovered in the last 7 months.
We are very grateful to a supportive community that showed up to feed us, and our cat, and to assist us with expenses.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We bring gourmet food to your doorstep, right here in Leelanau County. With decades of experience between us, we offer food you can feel good about because you’re eating healthy, seasonal, local, and delicious meals, all prepared just for you.
Whether you’re a local-vore hosting a private party, a winery in need of harmonized pairings, or a small business trying to make a big impression, Mel&Fell has just what you’re looking for.
Our goal has always been to connect people to food, and we feel privileged to do so in a place with such a rich agricultural network. Mel&Fell strive to connect people not only to good meals but to the farmers who grew their food as well.
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
We have gotten support from the Score mentor program. They pair you with a business owner, who volunteers their time to guide you through the entrepreneur process.
The Small Business Development Center has provided us with excellent information in writing a business plan.
- Website: https://melandfell.com/
- Instagram: melandfell
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melandfell