As I drove the children to work this morning, we went past a never-opened barbecue joint, same as every morning. I don’t know the story behind it. Just that it’s an old building that had been in disrepair until 5 or 6 years ago, when someone fixed it up. It got a fresh coat of white paint with red accents. It started looking like a 50’s style diner. Then a sign went up announcing it to be “Pit Stop BBQ”. Only, it never opened. It has sat there vacant ever since.
We drove by and my 11-year-old son announced, “I love that barbecue place. I’m going to buy it one day. It’s a cool building.”
“Yep,” I said, “It’s a pretty cool building. But it’s not in the best part of town nor is it centrally located. You’d have to make sure you sold really good barbecue to get people to come to it. The best barbecue is often sold in little run-down buildings in not-so-good areas by an old black man that’s been making it for 50 years and is really good at it.”
I paused and thought about what I’d just said.
“I guess he doesn’t have to be black. It just adds to the panache. Your Poppy has eaten at a lot of different barbecue places and taken notes and done research. I think he says the best tend to be rundown places…”
We talked some more about what Poppy thought made a good barbecue place and why that might be. We compared his love of barbecue to our pastor’s and how their opinions might differ. The conversation continued in that vein until we dropped my daughter off at the middle school.
We pulled away and Daryl resumed his dream of owning Pit Stop BBQ.
“It’s going to be so cool! I’m going to put up a disco ball and we are going to paaaarrrrttttyyy!”
I laughed. “Not sure it’s big enough for a disco ball, honey.”
“True,” he said. “It’s a small building. I’ll just have to build a cellar then. One that goes under the whole town!”
“Basements are typically built before the building that they are under.”
“How much do you think that building would cost?”
“Oh, I don’t know much about real estate prices, honey. It’s not in the best part of town but the building looks like it’s in pretty good shape and it’s on a main road. I don’t know. You could maybe get it for 40 to 50 thousand, maybe?”
“40 or 50 thousand?! That much?!”
“Could be more. Who knows. You might be able to get it for less if there’s a lot wrong with the building. But if there’s a lot wrong with the building, you’ll spend a lot of money fixing it up.”
“But it’s a tiny building!”
“It’s commercial real estate, honey.”
“Well, I wouldn’t be using it as commercial. I can only cook eggs and that’s not even a full breakfast…”
“And I could only work there a couple of hours a day,” he added, thinking, I’m sure, of his full-time occupation as a fifth grade student.
“Wait!” he brightened up. “I wouldn’t be working there. I’d be the owner.”
I laughed. “Honey, the owners of small, newly opened restaurants typically work very, very long hours at their business. They don’t make enough money to hire someone else to do the work.”
“Ooh! I love that brick house!” he crooned as we drove past an old red brick house on the main road. “I’m going to buy that too.”
“How much do you think that would cost?”
“A lot more,” I responded. “That’s got to cost at least a hundred grand. Probably more.”
“A hundred grand!”
“Oh, ok. I’ll just trade in my Lamborghini for it.”
Go for it, dear.