September 19, 2014

Elyria
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Words of wisdom from restaurant consultant Shelley Prueter

What is your secret to balancing so much — volunteering, consulting and so on?
I do the consulting to afford the volunteering. It is hard to balance I admit, but if I would cut out the free advisory services, the people that need the most help and can’t afford the consulting fees of $150 per hour would have no one to turn to. I love both, and I couldn’t give up either one. The consulting jobs are so inspiring and invigorating. Nothing like seeing a project come together like a well-oiled machine. Teamwork is awesome — My husband said I should be on ‘The Apprentice.’ I would always want to be the project manager!

What were some of the challenges growing up in the restaurant business?
Just missing my dad. He worked seven days a week and holidays, too, of course. So I would go there to be with him. Hours are long and the work is hard and it is day and night. It’s a tough business and you don’t get rich — you do it for the love of the people you serve.

Do you think it is harder being a woman in business?
Yes, although I ignore those issues and don’t make excuses. I am not shy so I just push through and seek out the jobs. Being older helps; with age comes lots of guts and wisdom. Another year older, another year smarter; I have sued and been sued. I have been fired and I fire others. I got almost every job I have gone after. You have to ignore the bias and just give it your best.

What do you love most about Lorain County?
The diversity and the familiarity … I still run into people I grew up with. I love the water and parks and the blend of cultures. Lorain County needs to develop the lakefront. I have been living in Grafton for 25 years, so I don’t know the politics yet about resistance to change in Lorain County. It usually takes a vision and a bucket of money to turn things around. I am sure other counties have decided on an economic development plan that worked. It takes a team of motivated visionaries like Dr. (Roy) Church at LCCC. We are doing great things for Lorain County at the college with our Great Lakes Technology Park, GLIDE and the Entrepreneurship Innovation Institute. It would be great if we could get some movement toward prosperity in this region. People have to work together and put their egos aside.

What are some of your personal and professional goals for the long-term? What is my vision?
I see myself as a successful restaurant start-up specialist — teaching a restaurant business plan course for the Ohio Restaurant Association. I see myself finding restaurant and hotel projects throughout the United States so I can go to work somewhere warm in the winter. I see myself becoming the next Suze Orman of the restaurant industry and have training products and CDs for sale on my web site along with several books. Life is full of opportunities for those who see them.