A new employee-owned take-out restaurant, Phat Daddy’s On Da Tracks– located at 480 Railroad Avenue, West Side, Charleston, West Virginia– is set to officially open its doors following Thanksgiving weekend.
The family business owners are Cameron Cordon, Octavia Cordon and daughter Azelah Cordon.
Given the nature of the pandemic, opening weekend has promising potential considering the virtual constraints throughout the initial start-up stages of their venture. Aside from virtual obstacles, Phat Daddy’s has been denied a $10,000 business grant offered by the City Of Charleston three times over the past several months, with the most recent rejection occurring at the end of October.
“Nothing seems to phase them,” said Mavery Davis, a cooperative business developer who has been working with them to get started for the past year.
“They are a resilient group of people. Everytime a grant was denied or a deck needed to be leveled to meet city code…you name it, Phat Daddy’s figured out a way to overcome the problem and move forward,” Davis noted.
Their perseverance, hard work and determination is continuously paying off. Phat Daddy’s recently secured a sizable non-extractive loan from Seed Commons. In sum, this is a form of financing that triggers payback only when the business is generating consistent profits– not before.
Seed Commons is a national network of locally-rooted, non-extractive loan funds that brings the power of big finance under community control. By taking guidance from the grassroots and sharing capital and resources to support local cooperative businesses, their mission is building the infrastructure necessary for a truly just, democratic and sustainable new economy. Davis serves as the project manager for New Economy Works West Virginia, a member of the Seed Commons Network.
Cooperative business models have a history of being anchors to the communities they serve. In fact, concern for the community is one of the seven cooperative principles of the International Cooperative Alliance.
Phat Daddy’s employees are a double-sided sword, serving as both workers and owners and they have already begun making an impact in Charleston as a High Road Kitchen. This means they support One Fair Wage; full minimum wage including tips and believe all their employees should benefit from such a system. As a High Road Kitchen, they incorporate a monthly meal distribution to the community by partnering up with local shelters, residential complexes and others to provide free meals to those in need.
Phat Daddy’s customers will also have the option to buy a meal and pay a meal forward for $10. “We believe in our community and we want to help rebuild a better West Side,” the family said.