Mitchell says Black entrepreneurs in the St. Louis region face special challenges.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — February is Black History Month, and no study of Black heritage in and around St. Louis is complete without a focus on entrepreneurship.
Betsy Mitchell's latest project is Rise Event Center, a full-service catering and restaurant facility located in northern St. Louis County near St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
The facility opened in December. Mitchell described the lunch buffet.
“Catfish nuggets, buffalo spaghetti, green beans and cabbage,” she said.
Then she continued to lift the polished stainless steel lid.
“Hushpuppy and Peach Shoemaker”
Mitchell, who is not afraid to talk about her belief system, was seen holding court with friends and customers in front of the hostess station.
“The author who wrote this story with me is the greatest,” Mitchell said, pointing to the sky. This is the answer to the question about the wall sign that says “I trust the next chapter because I know the author.”
“And I couldn't have done it without him,” she added.
Mitchell said Black entrepreneurs in the St. Louis area face special challenges.
“It's not easy. I have to be 10 times better,” she said.
She chose her words carefully.
“To make sure that the product or service that I’m offering is…100, 110 points, because I’m going to be…”
she stopped. A look of satisfaction appeared on her face. Mitchell found the words.
“There will be more expectations.”
On Lize's walls, Mitchell celebrates her family's history and traditions. She describes one exhibit, a framed newspaper article and a photograph.
“This was 1997,” she said. “The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran stories about the family, including a mother who owns her daughter's business.”
“This is not my first rodeo,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “I've been in this business for years.”
In the opposite corner of the dining room, you can see a painting of Mitchell's mother, Minnie.
“She passed away almost two years ago at the age of 89,” Mitchell said. “All recipes come from here. This is who I am and why I am.”
Knowing where you come from and where you are going.
“We're going to rise to the occasion,” Mitchell said. “I can stand up in any situation.”
Mitchell's friends say she is too modest. A former educator, he holds a master's degree and is a longtime member of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.
Her mother was known for her fried apple and peach pies. Mitchell said she incorporates those items into the menu.
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