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Someburger

Someburger Picture

Bill Eckert: What drew you to invest in Someburger?

Doug Brown: When we decided to leave corporate and strike out on our own, we considered many small businesses across a variety of industries. The incredibly delicious burgers, fries and milkshakes at Someburger was an immediate draw upon our first visit, and the friendly customers and “mom and pop” charm created a love-at-first sight connection. We met with the prior owners, Otha and Karen Johnson, and between their decades of experience, enthusiasm to teach us and our own ideas for modernizing Someburger, we knew this was the right fit for our family. We’re proud to continue the Someburger tradition and look forward to unveiling what the future brings.

 

BE: Were you familiar with Baytown before you made this investment?

DB: I am a big history buff and Baytown’s rich history and significance in the Texas Revolutionary War was how I initially became familiar with Baytown. We also love spending time outdoors, and the Baytown Nature Center is a wildlife sanctuary that is a great day trip from Houston. Also, my father retired from Exxon and used to make frequent trips to Exxon’s White House, so over the years he has told us many fun stories about the area!

 

BE: Why burgers?

DB: Why not? Burgers are an American classic and everyone loves a good, juicy burger!

 

BE: What is your prior experience?

DB: I used to work a corporate desk job in the accounting, internal audit and HR departments of a large energy and energy services company. At my prior employer I formed lasting friendships with colleagues throughout the organization, many of which I still connect with frequently today. My only prior burger experience was from backyard cookouts, so there was a steep learning curve after taking over Someburger! Fortunately, the prior owners Otha and Karen were invaluable resources and were very patient with all our questions, which made the transition a very smooth one. All the skills I’ve developed from my prior career – from finance to problem solving to mentoring staff, are all still used on a daily basis at Someburger!

 

BE: How did you get to know about Bay Area Homeless Services?

DB: We tried out hot dogs at Someburger and quickly learned that we needed to stick with what we do best – burgers. Our staff suggested we donate our remaining inventory of hot dogs, and we loved the idea of giving back to the very community that embraced us with open arms. My former colleague, Frank McKay, has been a huge Someburger supporter and a great sounding board of mine, and Frank introduced me to BAHS. I was immediately drawn to BAHS when I learned about its mission and the incredible services BAHS provides. I believe strongly in giving back to the community and helping others in need, and one of the transformational assistances we can give is to help the homeless or those at risk of homelessness during the pivotal rebuilding phase of their lives.

 

BE: You’ve been giving back to the community since the purchase, why?

DB: Ever since being involved with Cub Scouts to though obtaining Eagle Scout, I learned the importance of community projects and giving back.  Donations to the food bank, becoming involved in the holiday parades, attending events with Habitat for Humanity and Chambers of Commerce events have helped us connect with the community and help give back.  Baytown has welcomed us and we hope to continue to partner with the community.

 

BE: Are there more Someburger locations in the future?

DB: Absolutely. Some people may not know that in the 1960’s, there were over 40 Someburger locations in Texas. We would love to bring back more locations so we can reach more families with the great food and customer service that we’re all about. We’re looking to focus future locations near community centers, schools and the plants – the main staples of the community and lifelines for our future!

 

BE: What has surprised you most about your customers in Baytown?

DB: What’s most surprising and heartwarming is the loyalty of our customers! Many of our guests have been coming since high school – in the 1960’s, and we’ve heard tons of stories about Big Joe, Melissa and other team members that have been here for years. Our customers have shared stories with us about how Someburger has touched their lives – from first date locations to family meal traditions and fond childhood experiences – and we look forward to creating more memories!

 

BE: What can we expect in the future for this Baytown landmark?  Any surprises?

DB: We’re working to get a new fryer and bring back onion rings! That has been our largest customer request and we hear it loud and clear.

 

BE: How has the community responded to your efforts so far?

DB: We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback for the changes we’ve made to the restaurant. The only thing we didn’t (and wouldn’t dare to do) is change the food. Everyone has made that very clear!

 

BE: Any last thoughts?

DB: We love Baytown and are humbled by the warm welcome the community has offered us. We’re so glad to be here and look forward to meeting each and every one of our customers.

 

EDBAHS@gmail.com

Daryl Fontenot

Daryl Fontenot and Bill Eckert

 

This Spotlight now shines brightly on local businessman and civic leader Daryl Fontenot.

 

 

Conversation with Daryl Fontenot, CFP

 

Bill and Daryl met at The Britton-Fuller Center for Intact Homeless Families on the agency’s campus.

 

 

Bill – I have to admit that I know little about investing, let alone wealth management. What led you into the financial services industry?

Daryl – There is really a two-part answer to that question. First, I was always good at math, and was fascinated by the stock market from an early age. I remember being interested in how businesses represented themselves through their offerings on the stock markets and how that was presented through the numbers that changed from day to day. Secondly, I pursued a business track in college, obtaining my BA in Finance from UT, and then an MBA from UH-Clear Lake.

Bill – So, you went right into financial advising?

Daryl – No, I tell people that financial advising is a great second career. For a number of reasons, I believe that the best wealth managers are those who have a prior history of working in industry, understanding good management practices, and working with individuals to solve problems and achieve success. It was only after being involved in the engineering industry, and learning these concepts did I feel ready to tackle the challenges I now work with every day for my clients’ best interest.

Bill – There’s a lot of discussion about investment counseling nowadays, can you talk about how you go about working with your clients?

Daryl – Sure, working with people’s life savings is a real responsibility. To help put them more at ease I gained the CFP designation, and let clients know that I am a fiduciary. As a fiduciary, I am required to put my clients’ needs ahead of any personal or business needs. Also, I work closely with each client to develop a planning-based approach to managing their wealth.

Bill – Daryl, you have been closely associated with BAHS, serving on our Finance Committee, since before I came aboard in 2011. Why do you feel it’s important for you to support us in that fashion?

Daryl – First, I believe in the agency’s mission, helping those in need at a very low point in their lives. Also, I think it’s important to contribute in the area where your talent is. I’d like to think my contribution of time and talent help keep BAHS on a sound financial footing.

Bill – I know that’s true and I thank you for your efforts on our behalf. However, I also know that you’re involved in a wide range of community efforts, Lee College Board of Regents, Rotary Club of Baytown and the United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County just to name a few. Why are you so committed to community service?

Daryl – From early on my family instilled in me the concept that from whom much is given, much is expected. And also I believe in what Muhammad Ali once said when he was asked a similar question: “Community service is the rent we pay for our room in heaven”.

Bill – One more question before we finish up. Given your years of service to BAHS, what has been the highlight for you?

Daryl – Seeing this Britton-Fuller Center through from planning, through funding, to completion and being fully-housed, serving six families at a time.

Bill – This is a great facility serving a significant need. And, I might add a beautiful addition, and significant investment in West Baytown’s revitalization. We appreciate your efforts in making this building a reality.