This month's business blog features William Barnhardt, owner of Willaby's in White Stone. William combines big ideas with compassion and attention to detail. He is passionate about what he does and his restaurant is one of the few places in the Northern Neck that connects people of all ages, races and socioeconomic strata.
Tell me about Willaby's.
When I was in college, I managed a series of popular catering events called, "Duckfest." After I graduated in 1987, I started Willaby's, which diversified Duckfest into family and corporate events, weddings, reunions, luncheons, etc.
How long has the business been there and when did you first become a part of it?
We started in Urbanna, moved operations to White Stone in 1991, opened our restaurant in 1992, then moved into our present location in 2010.
What ignited your passion for this particular line of work?
I liked to throw parties in college. You can put certain elements together and then watch how much fun people are having. Even though you're working, you become part of the good vibe.
How many employees do you have?
15 regular and another 20 or so part-time when the catering season is rolling.
What do you like most about your work?
Almost all of it. As I said, it's very satifsfying when people respond positively to your efforts.
Excluding yours, what local business/organization do you admire most and why?
The Free Health Clinic, the Food Bank and the YMCA. When the community comes together to take care of their own, great things happen. When big government tries to do this, they fail. Too much bureaucracy mucks things up so nothing gets done and the wrong people get the benefits. But I don't think you were asking for politics...
What advice would you give to someone who would like to start a business?
Do what you love, find great people to do things you don't excel at and above all, express your passion.
What do you do in your non-work time?
I like to spend time with my kids and family, go to see live music, find great food and beer, ski and travel.
How do you manage stress?
I don't. Maybe I should try yoga?
Please give your website address and contact details.
Willaby's Cafe and Catering, 327 Old Ferry Road, White Stone, VA