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"My grandfather described an entrepreneur as 'someone that goes out and makes things happen in business.' I knew I wanted to be that."
Marc Glosserman grew up around barbecue food and remembers fondly how it was central to every family gathering. “My core base family is from Texas,” Glosserman shared, “and when we would get together, we would pick up food from Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas, a market that has been around since the 1900s.” Lockhart is the official barbecue capital of Texas.
This appreciation for food and local culture stayed with him as he traveled internationally while he tried to figure out what he would do next with his career. “Food and hospitality were always present growing up as was entrepreneurship,” Glosserman said. His father and grandfather were entrepreneurs, so by osmosis he learned many business fundamentals. “I loved the creative process and the idea of building something. My grandfather described an entrepreneur as ‘someone that goes out and makes things happen in business.’ I wanted to be that.”
Along the way, Glosserman launched businesses in telecommunications, publishing and healthcare, but it wasn’t until he came back home to Texas for a family wedding that the idea of opening up a restaurant was born. “I was having a conversation with the owner of Kreuz Market and I realized that wherever I traveled, one of the first questions I would ask is ‘where can I get the best local cuisine.’” Food, culture, and hospitality were forever present in Glosserman’s life. “I asked the owner if he considered expanding his business and although he had no plans for that, that is when a light bulb went on in my head,” he remembers. “I thought this experience that I grew up with does not exist outside of Lockhart.” He had the idea of recreating a truly authentic Texas barbecue experience in NYC where he was headed next.
He moved to NYC 2004 and sought to meet people in the restaurant business. In the fall of 2004 he began his first semester at Columbia Business School and used his academic career to continue thinking about his idea. He tailored the curriculum around working on his business plan. “It was invaluable for me to take courses in finance, marketing, operations management etc. and apply what I was learning in real time to my concept. I was not sure if I was going to do it, but I thought Columbia was a great place to incubate the idea as I furthered my education.”
Even though there were many unknowns, Glosserman credits Columbia and the network for giving him the support to plow ahead. “The concept was a complete career departure for me professionally, but it may never have gotten off the ground if I was not supported by classmates, professors and the Lang Fund. Having the endorsement from the Lang Fund in particular has helped me win additional funding.”
Seven years and five restaurants later, Glosserman admits it has all been worth it. “This has been an incredibly hard yet rewarding experience. “I am thankful that I found an industry that I am passionate about and have a real personal connection to,” Glosserman said. “I often say that my business is like writing a love letter to my family; paying tribute to them.”