Editor’s Note: Durham, NC is not only home to the Forward Cities headquarters, but is also the site of one of the historic Black Wallstreets, a four-block section of West Parrish Street. Today our city is recognized as one of the top 3 cities to start a business nationwide. With the new Hometown Highlight series, we will interview and celebrate the enterprising entrepreneurs and small businesses that play a critical role in our local ecosystem.
Carl “Big C” Richardson of Big C Waffles grew his newfound interest in artisanal waffles to a restaurant and social enterprise focused on supporting fellow entrepreneurs and the community through unique twists on a classic food pairing. In this short interview learn more about the humble entrepreneur’s path connecting other entrepreneurs to the larger Durham community through food and vendor events.
Rajah: Could you briefly describe Big C Waffles?
Carl: Big C Waffles we are a fast-casual restaurant, we specialize in gourmet Waffles and chicken "Known for the Best Waffles on Earth."
Rajah: What is your specialty or primary service?
Carl: Our primary service is "Take out" or "To Go," we make our food accessible on all online platforms also such as Uber and Door Dash.
Rajah: What sparked the idea for your business?
Carl: My mother purchased me a Waffle maker for Christmas 2011, and I would take the Waffle Maker to work to cook for My coworkers on Friday's when we got paid, so they let me experiment on them different variety and flavor of waffles, so this is how Big C Waffles got started.
Rajah: How did you bring the idea for Big C Waffles to life?
Carl: In 2013 my father passed away unexpectedly and from that point, I wanted to do something different in my life, so that's when I purchased my food truck and started my business in 2014.
Rajah: Who has supported you along the way?
Carl: My Wife, My Mother, My Aunt's and Uncles, all of my extended family and friends have supported me through this journey.
Rajah: Have you had to pivot during the pandemic? If so, how?
Carl: Yes we did, we had to do more advertising letting people know we are still open, that we follow covid safety protocols, we also changed our catering services to individual meals to serve corporate customers.
Rajah: Tell us about your experience growing or evolving a business that serves other entrepreneurs and the community during a pandemic. What is your biggest takeaway or lesson?
Carl: We have always supported other businesses at our location, we will have pop-up shops with multiple vendors, doing this helps build communities and support each at the same time.
Rajah: What solutions do you solve for your community?
Carl: We create opportunities for people to create or start their own business and it gives them a chance to practice and learn their business, we can keep supporting each other and provide services to the consumer at the same time grow your business.
Rajah: How would you describe the support you’ve received from the community?
Carl: The support from the community is huge! We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for everyone’s support and encouragement.
Rajah: How can the community and our network help your business thrive?
Carl: Continue to spread the word about Big C Waffles, all social media handles are @bigcwaffles.
Rajah: What is your favorite Bull City small business?
Carl: Our favorite is Boricua Soul, they are a local favorite restaurant.