In 2010, Detroit residents Jerome Brown and Samuel Van Buren started a catering business that served homestyle cooking, but with healthful substitutes. “My childhood memories are family gatherings where we all got together around food. But we wanted to make it better for you. The same soulful flavors, just made with lighter options,” says Brown.
So, collard greens are cooked with smoked turkey, not ham hock. Lard is swapped out for vegetable oils. But the meals still pack a flavorful punch. Turns out, others agreed too. While working full-time jobs for nearly ten years, and with the support of their wives, Brown and Van Buren built a robust customer base for their catering and to-go meals through Detroit Soul. In 2015, they went from operating remotely to a brick-and-mortar location where customers could call in and pick up orders. By 2020, they conquered the traditional 50 percent failure rate for small businesses and saw sales soar.
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