– At eight years old, Michael wanted to grow up and feed people. So, his father starting teaching him how to cook, and Michael kept cooking. FIrst, he cooked for his family, then he cooked for his whole family, and finally he cooked for the entire town of New Virginia, often, but his true dream was to own his very own restaurant and cook for everybody. Thus, The Depot was born. – Depot is located in Warren County. It’s south western point of Warren County. Right on the border of Madison, and Clarke county 35 miles south of Des Moines. The town itself has 480 people in it, but we are surrounded by Osceola, Indianola, Winterset, and the other communities. We are a family orientated restaurant. We cater to the kids, the adults. There’s 71,190 people located in the surrounding areas. 18,000 of them are families. Fast food– [nervous laughter] – If you want to go out and eat in Warren county, Osceola, or in Winterset, you have a choice. You can go get fast food, or you can go to the bar, or you can go get pizza. Other than that, there are four restaurants, in Indianola, Osceola, and Winterset that aren’t those three. Two of those are Mexican. Now there’s five. So, why will Michael succeed? One, he has been cooking for people for 30 years, both paid and not paid. His food is in demand. People love his chili, his baked beans, his coleslaw, his beef jerky, his celery soup, and above all his smoked ribs and pulled pork. On top of that, he’s a born manager. He managed work parties in the navy, back right after the first Gulf War. Then for years, he managed all the Des Moines locations for a Sioux City security company. Multiple locations. He was never home. He was the commander for the local American Legion post, and spearheaded the funding and installation of the new floor in their hall. Have you ever got a whole bunch of old men to do what you want them to do? Then, for the past ten years, he’s headed the New Virginia Old Settlers Association. Every year, this association puts on three events. The major one being The Old Settlers. This is a three day event that brings thousands of people to New Virginia to experience live entertainment, contests, truck and tractor pulls, horse, car shows, vendors, and of course an hour long parade. He managed this, and pulled it all together. Four years. I never saw him that weekend either. In addition, Michael is now a paramedic. When you call 911 in New Virginia, or in Osceola, Michael comes. He may not make it all better, but he makes it better. I am Dawn. I am the first… I’m the money girl. That’s not his strength. The Depot has been open for 12 days today. In that 12 days, we have taken in, before taxes, over $8000. If you project this out the first month, oh by the way, that’s more than I expected. If you project this out the first month, our gross is roughly $16,000. Our fixed expenses every month is $2000 a month, and as you can see, our payroll is pretty high right now. That’s because of training. We’re going to bring that down, and we need to be overstaffed while everybody learns. I think it’s your turn. [Michael]The Depot family, we have 11 employees currently. Most of them are teenagers and the first job they’ve ever had is us. The other day, their first paycheck that we handed out, one of the kids that washed dishes for us, went, cashed it and came back, said this was the first paycheck he’d ever actually earned and wanted us to sign his first dollar ever made. Most of them are still in high school, so come prom time, it’s going to be very lonely in my restaurant. [laughter] Every depot needs a train… and we have one. It’s an O-gauge. It goes 107 feet around the entire dining area. We can be completely packed, turn that on, and everybody gets quiet. All the kids look, now they run up. We’ve been open 12 days. We still have glitches… that we’re working out, but I always tell everybody “come back the next day, we’ll be better” and we have. We’re better on day 12 than we were in day one. Our goal for the 10,000. Remove the bar. This used to be a bar, and we still have the actual bar there, and we’ve changed everything else. We want to change it. We want to remove it completely out. Put a waitress station in the corner, and put our buffet back up against the wall, which will increase our buffet space. [Dawn]16 tables! [Michael]Yup. The current seating is 56. We would add seats to bring it up to 72. We also need to expand out the back for our kitchen. It’s a very cozy kitchen right now. As you can see, the long haired one is my son. We want to expand out the back, move everything that’s not actual cooking equipment out back there and expand out the kitchen enough to cook for 72. That’s the back entrance that we want to expand out to. I just want to say thank you, for my wife, and the entire Depot family. The $5000 went a long way of changing that atmosphere from a bar, to a restaurant, and we want to continue to change that. We get a lot of comments that there’s no places for children to go, and this place the children will go. We want to build a legacy for the town, and for us. And that’s what we’re trying to do, thanks. [clapping][cheering]