On Tuesday, Jan. 23, Angie Cowger shared her family’s success story of starting and growing two businesses during the keynote address to Princeton Mercer County Chamber of Commerce members at their annual dinner.
Around 250 people attended the meeting at the Chuck Mathena Center, where members were honored for service and work.
Angie talked about some of the big lessons she and Dee Cowger learned as self-taught entrepreneurs at the helm of The Custard Stand restaurants and later Custard Stand Food Products, the company that makes Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili and Custard Stand Chili Soup with Beef and Beans.
- Know how to do all the jobs and parts of your business. “At least in the beginning,” Angie says. “Then, know how to delegate.”
- Don’t be afraid of No. “We heard plenty of ‘No’s” and still hear them, but I always ask how can I turn the ‘No’ into a ‘Yes.’ “
- Ask for help. Angie stressed the importance of family and friends and robust relationships with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, First Community Bank, West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and Natural Capital Investment Firm as major contributors to the success of both businesses.
Looking to the future, Angie discussed growing Custard Stand Chili’s retail presence across the United States and getting Custard Stand Chili Soup into more stores.
“And I’m looking forward to spending more time with my grandbabies,” she said.
The evening inspired Angie. Among those being honored was Princeton native Jake Hatcher (in photo), who was presented with the 2018 Princeton Mercer County Chamber Citizen of the Year award. “He’s 100 years old and still engaged and active in his community,” she said.