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March 13, 2012 12:10 am



FAMILY: Married to Chris Sharon. We have five children: Brandy, 18; Corey, 15; Olivia, 3; Eric, 2; and Mackenzie, 6 months.

EDUCATION: High school and some college.


FIRST JOB: McDonald's.

WORST JOB: I take any job that I do and I do my best! I don't think I have had a bad job.

HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING MAINSTREET GRILL AND BAR? I started in September 2002 as a waitress. Within three months I was a bartender, and became the bar manager in the spring of 2004. In September 2005, I had the opportunity to purchase the restaurant and took ownership on Jan. 1, 2006.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DECISION YOU'RE WRESTLING WITH NOW? The biggest challenge is the same as for everyone else in America right now: the economy. Going out to eat or to grab a drink is something people do if they have the extra money to spend. Our food is freshly made. We keep our cost to our customers down. We give great value for their money. For example, we offer $7 lunch special Monday through Friday and dinner specials every night. So keeping up with our high overhead while keeping prices low is a huge challenge!

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR JOB? Each day is different. You never know how busy or how not busy you will be! I wish that we could pack the place every day.

WHO WAS AND IS YOUR HERO? My mother was my hero when I was a child. She was a single mother who worked full time and went to college! She showed me how to work hard!. My hero today would have to be my husband. He challenges me every day to strive.

WHO WAS YOUR MENTOR AND WHAT WAS THE BEST ADVICE HE OR SHE GAVE YOU? My good friend Helen Brosnan. She owned Rooney Public House here in Stafford. It was a great little Irish pub in Aquia Town Center. They had to close because their building was sold and then demolished. I can call her whenever I need to talk to her about business or just to cry on her shoulder.

WHAT ARE THE BEST LOCAL RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES SEEKING ASSISTANCE IN GETTING STARTED OR EXPANDING? As a women business owner, I am a member of the Ladies Small Business Networking group, which is a network of women-owned businesses in the Stafford/Fredericksburg area. We help organize events and participate in our community while mentoring other women and promoting their efforts. Also, I Google everything.

HAVE YOU EVER WORKED WITH A NOTABLE PERSON OR CELEBRITY? IF SO, WHO? Pete Evick and his band, EVICK, have played at Mainstreet over the last 10 years. EVICK is the band that tours with Bret Michaels.

WHAT BUSINESS BOOK DO YOU RECOMMEND THE MOST AND WHY? "E Myth" by Michael Gebber . Before I read this book I had no idea how to run a business, and I already had owned Mainstreet for a year. The first year I thought to help my business run I needed to bartend, but instead I needed to be focusing on the business and let my bartenders bartend.

CAN YOU SHARE A WEIRD FUN FACT ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION THAT WE MIGHT NOT KNOW? Contrary to popular belief, owning a business does not mean that you will be filthy rich not even close.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS RIGHT NOW? I am lucky and I have a great staff!! We are like family. Steve, my bar manager, has been at Mainstreet for 10 years. Kelly (bartender) for 10 years, Jackie (bartender) for seven years, Tracy, my kitchen manager for six years, Scotte (bartender) for five years, Jon (cook) four years, Peggy (cook) for three years. And Amy, my floor manager, has been here for two years. These are just to name a few. We have more employees who are awesome. So make sure you develop your employees to a level that you can fully trust them.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO BE DOING WHEN NOT WORKING? Hanging out with my family! We like to be outdoors! The kiddos love Geocaching.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? In five years I would like to be retired. Having five kids (three in the last four years) plus a business makes me very tired! People are always saying "I hear Mainstreet is for sale." My answer is "Mainstreet is always for sale. I am a business woman! Let's do business!"

WHO WOULD YOU RATHER SPEND TIME WITH, WARREN BUFFETT, DORIS BUFFETT OR JIMMY BUFFETT? Most would think that I would want to spend a couple of hours with Jimmy Buffett (mostly if he was playing at Mainstreet). But I would love to spend my time with Doris Buffett. Her ability to give back is so amazing. I, too, try to give back to the community, although of course not anywhere close to Ms. Buffett's contributions. In the six years that I have owned Mainstreet I have helped every local charity/school that has walked in the door. Giving back to my community that supports my business is so important!


--As told to Craig Schulin

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