Entrepreneurial couple opens first restaurant
and finds startup success
Monica and George Kessler love Italy. Over the years, they have traveled to the country numerous times, reveling in the beauty of the land and people, but most of all appreciating the wonderful culinary delights. This love of Italian food and wine sparked the inspiration for their restaurant, Il Giorgione (George), located on Devine Street in Columbia.
Before they opened, the couple attended a number of seminars offered by the Columbia Area Small Business Development Center. The ones they found the most helpful were about employment law, payroll taxes and how to start your own business.
Il Giorgione opened for business in 2012 and has experienced a pleasant, brisk business. With an interior design based on mementos brought back from their travels and soft Italian music playing in the background, the restaurant is seeing good interest in their traditional recipes George picked up from his Italian-American grandparents. George takes his family food traditions very seriously.
“We encompass as many regions as we can, with different dishes, with the wine, the music, the photographs on the walls, everything,” George said.
And business is cooking.
“We’re doing great at night, especially when the weather is nice our patio is full,” Monica said. “We are looking into ways to increase our lunch crowd.”
After attending the seminars, Monica and George received free counseling sessions at the Columbia Area SBDC. There got help with their business plan and had number of questions about running a business answered. The Kesslers invested $516,000 of their own money into their restaurant, of which they used $325,000 to purchase their building. Il Giorgione now employs 16 people, four fulltime and 12 part time.
Recently featured in the SC Small Business Development Centers’ video on successful clients at www.SCSBDC.com, the Kesslers have great things to say about the help they received.
“We are sure we saved time and money working with the SBDC,” Monica said. “Their expertise is invaluable, yet their services are free!”