Seriously Catherine – Planning Your Way To Success with Annie Berdar | Episode 2 – Palette
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Seriously Catherine – Planning Your Way To Success with Annie Berdar | Episode 2

A force in business growth development, Annie Berdar from Bare Blends shares her experience in starting a fast-growing health food cafe, and the jump to franchising. As a first-generation American who didn’t learn the English language until grade school, Annie shares her imposter syndrome after winning the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the science behind health food and its importance, and the challenges of social media.

This raw and honest interview will want you eating healthier, give you more confidence as an entrepreneur, and will want to make you become her friend!

You can follow Bare Blends on Instagram or check out their to find a location near you.

Don’t forget to check out Saratoga Living’s After Hours for what’s new and happening in Saratoga!

Check out their 14 Halloween Costume Ideas that Celebrate Saratoga.

Special Thanks to the Adelphi Hotel and Preparo for being our Launch Partners!

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*This Transcript is Autogenerated*

Annie Berdar 0:00
So many people want to start a business and they’re like, Okay, well, why didn’t I hit my million dollars in revenue three months into it? Are you kidding? That’s like telling a pregnant woman, hey, can you speed this up? You know, it’s just not. It’s not possible. I think when you start a project and you want to, you know, focus on what your success looks like, you really have to figure out what am I doing every day to move that needle?

Catherine Hover 0:31
Welcome to seriously Catherine a podcast about taking your business seriously, but not yourself. All right, episode two guys. I can’t believe it. I’m here. I’m still here, here for it. I hope you’re here for to on this episode. Our guest is Annie Badar. She is the co founder of bear blends. And if you’ve been to a bear blends, then you know how delicious these smoothies are. And so she’s here to tell us her story. This Week’s Hot take is all about TGIF. So this prompted a rabbit hole of research last night based on and conversations at the dinner table. So we have Sunday dinner and first First of all, we ordered the family dinner from fat Polly’s with spaghetti meatballs, it comes with two loaves of bread for salads. We got cannolis to didn’t come with it, but you should get the cannolis because they’re good. Anyway, so we’re sitting around the kitchen table. And I brought up Suzanne Somers and she just passed away. Rip, but she was like the quintessential hot mom. What did you say? I mean, I was a kid and I was like man, she’s beautiful. She’s so unshaped. She looks so good. She’s been working with ThighMaster and I just loved her and I loved her on step by step she was the mom and step by step with a thing as Patrick Duffy was the dad who also was was pretty good dad. Who’s like manly man had Dad Okay, so they’re I don’t know if anyone knows what the show is but it came on TGI TGIF it was you know after you got home from school on Fridays you turn on the television you watch all these shows that all came in a row so step by step was one of them. And Mark thinks Family Matters was one of them. Okay, family matters. And then I said well was was The Cosby Show one of them because I definitely watched The Cosby Show growing up. Somebody has to like let educate me here. Like what was the actual rundown schedule of show for TGIF, TGIF, but what’s really, really cool, right? So my sister in law, she is seven years older than Mark. And she was like, listen, Suzanne Somers wasn’t known for step by step. She was known as Three’s Company. And so we talked all about that, but I mean, how awesome is it like this woman spanned generations of people anyway? Rip Suzanne Somers in the ThighMaster. She was also a big advocate. She went through breast cancer, survived breast cancer. She was a big advocate about that she publicly was battling that. Also, I found out that she passed away on CBS Sunday Morning. That’s where that is where I get my news. So I have to give a shout out to Miss Helen Lang, which is my best friend from high school and colleges mom, she always had CBS Sunday Morning, on like, if we spend the night Saturday night, drinking whatever, we wake up and she always had, like blaring CBS Sunday Morning, I always felt like oh my god. This is such an old lady’s show. And now I am that old lady in my sweater, watching the CBS Sunday Morning. It’s so uplifting, like a silver lining of the news. We watch it it’s family. The girls watch it. They also learned they learned about all the news right in the world through CBS Sunday Morning. Because I don’t watch the news in the morning. I don’t I don’t watch it in it there. Okay. We don’t want to go there. Because this is an this is escapism. And so I don’t want to talk about the news right now. But I did learn I learned that Suzanne Somers passed away on CBS Sunday Morning. They did like a memorial month in like during the credits and stuff. So anyway, it just took us down a rabbit hole. And I want to know, do you know the step by step theme song? Because I do. Oh, here’s a good face by mama. So my kids are obsessed with target they want to go to target all the time. And then we go through self checkout, and I usually do like just let them get a little something. So lately they’ve been getting it’s like this bottle of it’s almost like a bottle of pixie sugar and then there’s literally a nipple that they dip into which the nipple is is candy like hard candy and they dip it into the powder and then they suck so and I’d prefer them to get Kinder Joy’s like that’s not usually directly try to influence our decisions to get the Kinder Joy’s this one particular time Ruby got a push pop which is just like hard candy, push it up. anzia got this stupid bottle thing. And we get in the car. And it’s like, we went through Target, I brought both of these children to target with me, which is the first mistake, we get to the car. And I’m like, just so grateful to be in the privacy of my own vehicle ish, right? Because I’m like, in between cars have gotten him in the car seat. Like, simultaneously, they both dropped their shit, right? They lose their shit, and they drop their shit, and then they lose their shit. And then I lose my shit. Because it’s like, I’m not going to pick up this candy off the ground of the Target parking lot and hand it back to you to eat. Right? And anyway, so like, this was just an experience, like one of those moments where you just like, what, why? Why was I thinking that I should bring these rotten children to target and then give them what they want. And then they destroy it by dropping it and just like losing it, you know? So obviously, if you’re a parenting expert, you can send me a message and let me know like, what I got wrong here, probably because I was giving them what they wanted. And they hadn’t had naps, or whatever it is, but it was just one of those moments where I’m just like, Fuck, what was I thinking? Why? Why do I do this to myself? So another, like, a recurring theme in my life is that I have FOMO so like, for example, on Friday, Mark at home, he’s traveling for work, so you got home must’ve been like, five 530 And we were all getting ready to go to the Halloween fun Festival at Posey and Ruby school. And so I had every intention on like all of us going and Xia was with my sister in law, so we didn’t have to battle heart and so we were all gonna go to this thing. And Mark’s like, actually wants you to stay home. Why don’t you just stay and just chill and have like, two hours of just doing whatever it is you want to do? And I’m like, okay, like, this seems like this should be the best thing. Right? But so then I did I let them go. They went to the fun festival of whatever and around 805 They’re like home already. The thing ended at eight but they’re home at 805 which seems strange to me. And they were like, Posey was not thrilled. Ruby was upset because she didn’t realize it was gonna be a scary thing. I guess she didn’t want to do a haunted house. She didn’t want to do the scooter thing and she said everyone is jumping out at her everyone is dressed up. I’m like Yeah, dude, it was Halloween is a Halloween fun festival. So anyway, my point was, had I been there, right? It would have been a different experience. I’m not saying mark is not fun. He really he is he’s fun guy. But the whole experience is overwhelming. And so he probably wasn’t the most fun version of himself. Especially in on Ruby’s eyes. Posey had a great time. She was like, you know, look, I did the I did the scooter thing and I did the haunted house and in and out ready to go and Ruby was just such so my point though, is like I get FOMO so it’s like I’m being gifted this free time to be by myself on a Friday night to do whatever it is I want to do which I think that took a shower. Again, vacation for me is a shower with no one opening the curtain and asking for anything. The bar has been lowered hospitals days or a shower without interruption but I have like FOMO so I’m like, you know, also when I have the opportunity to do whatever it is I want to do. I want to work and I want to be with my kids. Alright guys, today I have something truly special for all of you listeners out there. Especially if you’re planning a getaway or a staycation in the heart of Saratoga Springs, New York. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the hidden gem of saratoga springs. The Delphi hotel not really hitting though because it is right smack dab in the middle of town on Broadway. If you’re searching for an experience that combines history, luxury and modern charm the Adelphi hotel is a place to be it’s more like a resort if you ask me. I’ve had the opportunity to stay here and let me tell you it’s an absolute dream. Did you know that they also host events and weddings? Yes, they do at all. The Adelphi hotel is more than just a place to say it’s an experience in itself. Picture yourself in a room with stunning decor and plush bedding you will feel like royalty, if you’re able definitely booked the Polaris room because it has a Jacuzzi tub on the balcony. I mean what mom doesn’t need a staycation here with no kids and maybe even no husband, foodies. Listen up Morrissey’s lounge and Bistro. Their on site restaurant offers a culinary journey that’s nothing short of exquisite. Have you had the best sushi in town yet? Well, this is where you get it. Get the rainbow roll. You’ll thank me later. So dear listeners, whether you’re planning a romantic getaway a girl’s weekend, or just a relaxing solo escape the Adelphi hotel is your perfect destination. When you’re here. You’re not just a guest you’re part of the legacy of Saratoga Springs. booking your stay today, Polaris wait. Today on seriously Catherine I’m so excited to be sitting down with Annie brindar. She is the co founder and franchisor for bear blends. The President and CEO for the Bear blends franchise. She’s on the board of directors for the United Way of the greater capital region. She’s recently been honored by the business review as a woman in business, and previously won New York State’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. And his passions include nutrition, education, business development, health and wellness and the culinary arts. I hope you love our conversation about impostor syndrome, how she does it all her love of the capital region. And what’s next.

Let’s talk about you when you were working at a yoga place. Yes, yeah, that’s where you met.

Annie Berdar 10:35
So yeah, my partner Jess, she add, you know, now more, but she had 10 years plus of business experience when I met her. And she founded the hot yoga studio, and I loved yoga. I still love yoga, I still teach yoga actually, like right at the yoga right yoga spot. Yeah. 100%. But yeah, so Jess and I came together when I was 2221 22. Because I wanted to teach at her yoga studio, she asked me, you know, what are your plans for the future. And at the time, I was pursuing biochemistry, I loved nutrition. I loved science, but I didn’t know if I wanted to be in the medical field or not. I didn’t believe in big pharma to a certain extent. I mean, it’s obviously necessary in some capacities, but I just thought, you know, why don’t we focus more on preventative medicine? And do I really want to go down that rabbit hole? Am I going to be satisfied with the job in that field? And I realized, you know, kind of like you when you were first starting out, like, I just want to do this and solve this problem. And here’s how I think I’m going to do it. And so when she asked me that question, I said, you know, I love science, and I love all those things. But I would really love to own some type of healthy Cafe concept, because I really do believe that you know, you are what you eat. And I believe that if you approach it from like an educational standpoint, and a science background, you can help move the needle in the right direction when it comes to health and wellness. Yeah, especially in this country. I mean, we eat some of the garbage, you know, sometimes unknowingly, you know, we don’t necessarily know

Catherine Hover 12:03
the majority of everyone we know like, you know, we’re Yeah, America in general is like processed food. Yeah.

Annie Berdar 12:08
And it just keeps getting worse, which is so interesting. Like, statistically, it keeps getting worse and worse, like, and you know, better. Right? Yeah. So she asked me and I, that was my answer. And she said, I, you know, I love health and wellness, too. And I also want to start a business related to food, but I don’t know how to do it. And I leased the space next door to my hot yoga studio. Do you want to like do it together? Yeah. And that’s kind of how it started. And I made that my baby and we opened in a 700 square foot space, it was so tiny. And we only did bowls and smoothies at the time. And I knew I wanted to expand what we could do. And we just kind of grew from there. I mean, we I worked my butt off. I didn’t you know, didn’t sleep. I still don’t.

Catherine Hover 12:51
Yeah, well, you just keeps evolving. Yeah. Yeah. And you were like, behind the counter, you know, like making literally well behind the counter

Annie Berdar 12:58
yesterday, my story. So there’s like, I don’t think, you know, some people glamorize this whole, like business owner thing. And it’s like, if I gotta scrub toilets, I’m gonna scrub toilets. You know, I got to do whatever I got to do to make it

Catherine Hover 13:10
well, and I mean, I think that that’s why like, what you who you are, as a person resonates with me so much is like you’re so authentic. And you really do show kind of like the ins and outs of it. Right. So like, you’re still and you’re still teaching yoga. Yeah, still working behind the counter a bear and 100%. And on the flip side of it, you’re putting together franchise disclosure documents. I’ll never get you a pallet. You had your first meeting with a potential France franchisee, and you were like, so excited. And yeah, I was just like, wow, you’re doing this? Yeah, Hap it seems to me. I know, this is not the truth. But it seems to me like it did happen overnight. Like you were on it. Yeah. I mean, you have meetings lined up. It was like, I don’t know what to say. But overnight, it was like, so exciting. Yeah,

Annie Berdar 13:55
it was very quick. I think there is a benefit to that. And then I think there’s also a drawback to that, you know, because you get really excited to your point we’re kind of talking about before you get really excited about where you see yourself going. And sometimes that excitement overcomes you and you you know, you don’t necessarily put everything in place to say, okay, when this happens, what am I going to do? Or like, Where, where are the support that I need? Or what happens when a global pandemic happens, you know, and so, I think it seems like it happened almost overnight if there was you know, there’s a lot of work behind it, but it I mean, yeah, in hindsight, we opened a location. We did really well with it. We opened a second one it was crushing it, we turned it into a franchise and now here we are. Yeah, and I honestly, I love because our food is gluten free, it’s vegan. It’s whole food plant based, like we really don’t serve garbage in any capacity. And it’s so exciting to me to see how many people are interested in being a part of that, you know, because they’re, like so many people do care. about health and wellness, they just don’t necessarily understand how to incorporate that into their lives. So the initial excitement with the franchise was so validating for me, and I am so grateful for that. And even the continued interest in the franchise people just wanting to bring health and wellness to their own community. Yes. It makes me feel like I did something right. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 15:22
Or you’re doing I mean, you’re literally in the moment of it. Right. You’re doing it right now. Yeah. So you own like, from a local standpoint you own is at three locations? Yep. Like corporately owned. Yep. And then you have these franchisees and how many are we up to now?

Annie Berdar 15:36
Yeah, so we have four local franchises. And then we have one out in Colorado, we’re actually opening Boston this weekend. We’re waiting on one more permit to pass for them. So I say that lightly. But hopefully, this weekend, Boston is going to open which is a brand new market for us. I’m so excited about it. It’s right. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Boston or Yeah,

Catherine Hover 15:57
Mark, and I lived in Boston, and we lived in the Back Bay neighborhood. We just went that we brought the kids back just yet. It was fun. It’s a different Yeah, it’s a it’s a big city. It’s it. Yeah. So and you are you targeting college towns?

Annie Berdar 16:11
Honestly, yes. And no, I think targeting more urban areas is something that I’m looking to do moving forward. Like our Saratoga store is absolutely has been crushing it from the beginning. And it just keeps you know, getting better and better. And we’re technically off what some people would call the beaten path because right off Broadway, but we’re right behind the the Welcome Center.

Catherine Hover 16:36
Yeah, well, you have parking you don’t deal with Broadway bullshit, do you? Like and, and the girls in there are so sweet. Oh, thank you, like, just they’re just so like, kinda like they know you. I mean, but this is like

Annie Berdar 16:49
that, I think it’s also because like, we do something that makes them feel like them serving something that they know, they are excited to serve. Like, I think they genuinely enjoy making the product because it’s unique. I think they enjoy prepping for the salads that we do, because it’s so unique, like what other places you’re gonna go to where they’re like, I’m going to teach you how to make whole food, plant based ingredients. And if nothing else, you can take this with you as a life skill. Yeah, I’m here on out, you know, now like in your own life, you know how to make overnight oats and you know how to make healthy smoothies and right, you know how to tell the difference between something that’s healthy and something that’s not so I think they genuinely enjoy that piece of it. And I think some people really enjoy customer service. Some people don’t, but the ones who enjoy interacting with the public and sharing the fact that like we’re doing something super healthy. Yeah, yeah, I think it makes them feel good. So yeah, really try to focus on that positive work environment and make it not extremely taxing for them on the back end. You know, like, I’m always looking at the operation and saying, like, how can we do better? And how can we operate more quickly, but of course, without compromising the product, and I think that’s where sometimes when people develop foodservice concepts, sometimes they compromise the integrity of the product for that service. For the speed and when it comes to natural food, you really can’t cheat it. It’s either natural or it’s not. Yeah,

Catherine Hover 18:09
yeah. I remember one day I walked in, and they were I don’t know what she was cooking. It sounds sound like garlic and like, it must have been like tofu. Yeah, thing. We make a roasted garlic temping. Oh,

Annie Berdar 18:19
it was so good. It smelled so

Catherine Hover 18:21
good. Yeah, I was just blown away. And then there was something so I just wanted to Kripalu a couple of weeks ago. Hmm. Have you ever been I’m sure so

Annie Berdar 18:27
I haven’t actually been but I know. Well, yeah. In my next life when I have more time.

Unknown Speaker 18:35
Do more things.

Catherine Hover 18:36
I know so so the first time I’m going to call was in March. Yeah. And I just needed to get away and we had childcare so I was like peace out. Yeah. And it’s a yoga retreat. And so yoga wellness retreat center like lots of people who are into yoga know about Chapala Yeah, they’ve trained there. It’s supposed to be like the you know, the country’s best training like the Mecca Mecca. Yeah, yeah. So I am not even like I think almost died the first time I attempted hot yoga and got sweat outside of puked in the parking lot. Yeah, but just to point out like I’m not this like act I’m active because I have three little kids but I haven’t worked out since you know, I haven’t worked out a long time. So I wasn’t going for the Yoga I was going for just like the getaway. And it was so transformational. All the food is included right so you go there and you eat breakfast lunch and dinner there the whole like you know health and well healthy like PLANT BASE there’s everything and I was they they do like a temper I don’t know if it’s temper it’s a temper but can you ground it? You can Yeah, or maybe it was tofu grounded tofu but just like a toe whatever. Scramble. Like in the morning. It was like peppers. And yeah, it was just like, This food is so good. How was the tasting so good? Yeah, but it’s like, it was a great exercise in like, you know, just resetting. Yeah, you know, like, if you’re not eating shit then right? The good stuff starts to really taste

Annie Berdar 19:56
right. And I think it’s like with that point. That’s one of my favorite Are things to do to show people that this stuff can be really, really good. And it’s actually easy to make. It’s easier to make than animal these products.

Catherine Hover 20:07
I know. But like, I still can’t bring myself to make a smoothie at home. I have to go to bear. Yeah, well, that’s fine.

Unknown Speaker 20:13
Yeah, well, I’m not gonna tell you to make it.

Catherine Hover 20:15
So tell me you brought smoothies, obviously. Yeah. I am not saying like I invited you to be on this podcast because I would get free smoothies. There was a thought in my head like Surely she was. So tell me what, what is in this one? I usually get the California cleanse. Yeah. And I go to the bar. I go to the one in Saratoga Springs. And I don’t even know what it has it. It has like blueberries. Yeah, yeah. That was like looking for blueberries. Yeah. And the California cleanse got it’s got protein in it. Yep. Vanilla Protein and Ale got your green. Yeah. Yeah. But it’s so good. Yeah. Like, how is it? Is it the sweetness from the blueberries? Yeah.

Annie Berdar 20:54
No, probably from the banana in the banana. Yeah. So there’s got it in there. And the vanilla protein has a sweeter flavor to it, too. So it it hides like the bitterness from the kale. So this one is when all the pumpkin chip muffins smoothie. So I brought stuff from our fall menu because my mom and you right now, the pumpkin chip muffin smoothie also has protein in it. It’s really good. It has real pumpkin, banana, vanilla protein, cacao nibs, which is like a natural form of chocolate. So you know, no dairy, no sugar in there. And then it’s blended with almond milk. That one’s one of my favorite breakfast smoothies

Catherine Hover 21:26
is really good. And so so good. And it did I guess there is no peanut butter in it. No, no, it tastes like

Annie Berdar 21:32
it just like well flavor in there. Oh, it’s so good. Yeah, I love that one. And then I brought the autumn berry one, which is one of my favorites because I’m a big berry girl. But that one is also a blueberry, strawberry, cinnamon and nutmeg, and has like a tiny hint of agave in there to enhance that. Yeah, and the berry. It’s really good. And you can add protein to anything.

Catherine Hover 21:54
So do you. So when you are eating like throughout the day, you can’t live off of smoothies. Now what else do you eat,

Annie Berdar 22:01
we have you know, we have smoothie bowls, we also do salads. We do grain bowls, we do gluten free vegan waffles, both sweet and savory ones. So there’s plenty of variety for sure. I’m a big salad girl. And honestly, I’m so proud of the salads that we serve because they’re so nutritionally completely and they were designed that way. So they have plant based protein in them, but not any, like synthetic meat substitutes or anything like that, as much as I love that those companies are creating those products because they’re definitely healthier than the meat that you eat. But I think, you know, getting food in its most natural form is the best. So we use like tofu and tempeh a and nuts and seeds to add the protein into our salads, we do grains in the form of whole grains. And they’re also gluten free grains. So you know, they appeal to the gluten free customers that we have to. And then we’ll add like different vegetables that have different benefits to them. That also helps with the absorption of the nutrients in the other ingredients in the salad. Yeah, like everything’s very well balanced. There’s greens, with both our green bowls and our salads. So people get, you know, their daily servings of greens as well. And all the dressings that we make are made in house, they’re very clean as well. We don’t put any preservatives in them. They only last a couple days. So everything is like as fresh as possible. Yeah, well, yeah. So I’ll have like a smoothie in the morning, or like a smoothie bowl, and then everything’s like pretty filling too, when you eat real food. It’s like very nutrient dense. I think a lot of our clientele live in Saratoga, we kind of appeal to this type of customer base, the product isn’t cheap, you know, so bright, candidly, like it’s something that you have to have disposable income to afford. And I try to combat that personally, in donating my time with different organizations that focus on childhood education, nutrition, health and wellness. I’m also on the board of directors for United Way. And we have a bunch of different like nutrition related projects that we do. And so right now, just with supply chain and with ingredients, I mean, healthy is expensive, and you have to pay a premium for it. Unfortunately, if I could give away a smoothie for free every day, or multiple smoothies or our entire menu, I would, because I really do believe in the benefits of our product. But obviously it’s a business. So there’s that piece of it. So I think just naturally, you know, demographically Saratoga is appealing. But that being said, too, we’re in other markets throughout the capital region and all the locations do very well. So I think we’ve also kind of come to a point where people are willing to invest in their health and I think people prioritize that and know that, you know, if you spend that extra money on eating healthy ingredients, you’re probably not going to have to spend as much money later on. On health care. So you live so I live in Saratoga Yeah, I live in Saratoga. I live right on Broadway. And I mean I personally love it here. I’m Originally from Westchester, my family still lives down there. And you know, we’re always very close to the city. And in high school when I when I had my friends in high school, it was like we all, you know, went to college, we went our separate ways. And some of them, most of them went to work in the city and state in Westchester. And I was like that one that stayed up in upstate New York, and I honestly love the capital region, and there is so much opportunity for growth and development here. And I’ve said this a million times. Like, I just think that with the energy and like the business focus that we have here, we could make the capital region such a special place. For sure. So I just I really enjoy the community up here. I love being up here. I really like Saratoga.

Catherine Hover 25:43
Yeah, well I consider you like a regionalist. Right. You’re like all about you’re not you know, there are there are some people who just like stay in Troy or stay in Schenectady, or stay in Saratoga. A lot of people just stay in Saratoga. Right.

Annie Berdar 25:55
I try to bounce around. I do like you you get around the whole region. Yeah. And I have friends who

Catherine Hover 26:05
did bad but that around. We need everybody to get around.

Annie Berdar 26:08
Yeah, well, I think it’s important, right? Because there are so many different pockets of awesomeness. That’s a horrible word. So that’s true. Like,

Catherine Hover 26:16
yeah, I don’t mind. Like, I think like last week, I drove down to Schenectady one day came back when to eat some came back. Like I just I love, I love to Northway. It’s like the only time that I could achieve you I don’t know if I love that’s the only time I get a chance to like be alone in my car, like listening to a podcast or listening to radio. You know, I that

Annie Berdar 26:37
separation from church and state. Sometimes I think, you know, like, i i So my corporate office is in Latham and I feel the same way. Like I drive down there, you know, pretty much every day. And I’m like, this is this is great. Yeah. My podcast time.

Catherine Hover 26:53
Yeah. Yeah. So and I feel like the prot like I live right downtown and kids go to school downtown Palace downtown. So yeah, I literally sometimes will never leave like the tube three block radius. Yeah, it’s not. It’s not healthy. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s, there’s great to have that right. Whether like I mean, I used to say, when we really lived downtown. I used to say like, we put more miles on the stroller than the car, you know. And it, which is kind of great,

Annie Berdar 27:18
though. Yeah. Oh, like, I don’t hate that. Sometimes. There are definitely times when I wish that our corporate office was in like the Saratoga stores. Yes. walk down the street. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 27:28
Well, and I think that with their capital region, we have that capacity where we can we can some days, stay in the neighborhood. And some days we can go out and it’s you know, everything’s very accessible. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So did you just open one in North? Greenbush? East? Greenbush? Yeah.

Annie Berdar 27:44
norwayne. Bush is the one that’s the most recent one in the capital region. It’s right across from Hudson Valley. So they actually developed that whole area. Recently, they put in roundabouts where there were previously a bunch of traffic lights, so the traffic flows really smoothly. And they put in where it so we’re in a building where one end cap is Starbucks. I think we’re the other end cap actually. Maybe, yeah, drive thru? No, but that would be cool. I mean, it’s, that would be great. It’s just our products, like require so much attention to detail right now, again, it’s that whole, like, I don’t want to compromise the product and pump it out. If I can make it happen. I would. Don’t you worry.

Catherine Hover 28:24
I drive through. Yeah. Oh, my God, that’d be great. And this

Annie Berdar 28:27
is like a perfect example of like, people who jumped the gun with things, right? Because it’s like, what a great idea. Cool. So instead of, like, I think most people, or at least maybe this is just me, because this is just how I used to operate. But I’d be like, great. Let me find a building with a drive thru. And we’ll just do it. You know, you don’t know what you don’t know. You’ll figure it out along the way. It’s like, No, you can’t do that. Like you really have to operate from the mindset of like, Ready Aim Fire? Because if you don’t, I mean, that could be a huge failure. I mean, what if nobody comes to my Drive thru? And all this money that I invested in? Yeah, building a drive thru isn’t worth it.

Catherine Hover 29:03
And it’s more expensive to have that, that added so expensive?

Annie Berdar 29:07
Well, because if you if you propose it the way that you just did, right, I just doubled my operation. So I just doubled my labor cost right there. Right, and then all the signage that you need to display for a drive thru, that costs a ton of money, you know, making sure that it’s open and operating when we want to just overseeing it cost a ton of money, how much more product do I have to order? That’s a risk in and of itself? So it’s like, yeah, you know, I think like really figuring out and this is for like anyone I think, who wants to start a business, it’s just really figuring out what you want to be doing every single day in your business and really figuring out what it looks like and what the potential failures are with it and the potential successes to you know, not to be negative, but no, no, no, I don’t think

Catherine Hover 29:51
about it. What I believe is the big disconnect is that we see the end results for a lot of people’s successes or even failures, right? We see the end result and we You’re like, wow, okay, we don’t want that. Or we do want that. Yeah. And you’ve you don’t, we’re not we’re not told, or the veil is not lifted, or the hoods not lifted underneath of what happens in the in between, right? Like the the COVID. Right? Just like the the staff person who just doesn’t show up one day like you don’t We don’t. Not everyone shares that part of it. Yeah. And it’s so much of it right, right now, like, there’s like one main thing that goes, well, there were like five things that didn’t go well, which are, what from my perspective is, how did I show up in those circumstances? Yeah, I’m proud to say that I like Do try my best every day and think holistically about a problem to come up with a solution. But, you know, if you focus on just the one thing that went right, you know, yeah, like, I just don’t think we get a full picture. Like, you know, Beyonce doesn’t, she didn’t just like overnight, have everything that she has, right and right, it took a lot of time, like a lot of planning, a lot of due diligence, like, you know,

Annie Berdar 31:03
I think that’s the biggest key to success. I really think it’s just time and patience, I think I mean, and I really, I think that when you talk about success, because so many people always wonder, you know, like, what do you like, what is the golden ticket to success, and like, I actually listened to a podcast about this the other day, and I thought it was really insightful. And the person who was sharing their opinion, had reached that point in their career where they were like, Okay, now I feel like I’m qualified to talk about this. And, you know, candidly, I know, I’m personally not there yet. I mean, there’s no way I’ve been owning and operating businesses for five years. And I think I’ll be where I want to be maybe in 10 years, if everything goes well. So like, maybe ask me in another five years, you know, what my what I think success looks like but I think so many people have, you know, their autobiographies written and there are resources out there for you to read about success. And a lot of people are like, Well, you got to wake up early and start your day. And, you know, you got to work really hard at it. And it’s like, okay, but I really think that it’s just patients, like so many people want to start a business and they’re like, Okay, well, why didn’t I hit my million dollars in revenue three months into it? And it’s like, Are you kidding? That’s like telling a pregnant woman like, Hey, can you like speed this up? You know, it’s like, it’s just not. It’s not possible, like the universe decided that it takes nine months to make a baby. Yeah. And so it’s gonna take nine months, you know what I mean? But I think when you, like, start a project, and you want to, you know, focus on what your success looks like, you really have to figure out, what am I doing every day to move that needle? Like, what role do I play in my success? And what does my life look like through that process? So I can hit that point of success, right? Because I think too, when you ask somebody, like, what do you want? They’re like, well, I want to be rich, you know, and I want generational wealth for my family, and I want to start a business that’s going to make me all this money and whatever. And it’s usually like, very fiscally focused, or, and it’s kind of like, okay, but what do you what do you want? Like, actually, you know,

Catherine Hover 33:05
what are you willing to? to do? And

Annie Berdar 33:08
how long are you willing to wait, right? Because I think everybody kind of has their time. You know, like, if I want to be successful in five years, I gotta make sure I have a plan in place. And I got to understand my role and my team’s role, and what the potential drawbacks are, and what the potential elevations are through that process. And you got to be realistic about it. And I think that’s, if people really sit down and think about all those things, that’s where they usually give up. Right? Because they’re like,

Catherine Hover 33:35
a lot of work. Right, as a lot of work. Yeah. So I was having this conversation at dinner the other night with a friend of mine that I went to college with. And she lives up here now. And we were just talking about my perspective was, listen, you go through a lot of, you know, hard times trauma or what have you, and it builds you, right, and then you come out on the other side of it. And you are who you are, you know, and she’s like, that’s total bullshit. Like, you didn’t have to go through trauma, or like hard times to be who you are like you were always going to be who you are. Yeah. And so I just I would love to get your perspective on this. Because some may say like, Well, you were at the right time and right place you met Jess, she gave you this opportunity. You guys partnered to open bear? Would you have open? Would you have opened bear? Would you have done something already?

Annie Berdar 34:27
Yeah. So I think that was my intention. already. I you know, I am very grateful for the partnership with Jess. But the partnership doesn’t come without its flaws. And this business has not come without its flaws and with its areas for improvement, you know, absolutely not like and I think sometimes when people look at people who are successful, they see an article written about them or something and they’re like, wow, like this person popped up overnight. You know, they built a million dollar business. It looks like overnight.

Catherine Hover 34:57
I didn’t love when people told me that and I’m just like Yeah, yeah, you’re so you have no clue, right? You have no idea what I’ve given up to be here or how many hard conversations I’ve had with my partner or how many, you know, just like, Oh my God, so many difficult conversations that you have to have and hard work and boundaries. I mean, just it’s, it’s, it doesn’t piss me off. But it also is like, makes me feel like, okay, I must not be sharing enough. Yeah. And that’s what I go back to, like, people just don’t, they just don’t know which again, this is kind of like the purpose of this podcast is like to dispel the myth that, you know, I am successful. I have it all together, I know exactly what I’m doing.

Annie Berdar 35:40
Yeah. And I mean, I think that’s like, you know, it’s admirable to want to share those things. But I think no matter what, you’re not going to reach every single human being on the planet. And what do you mean,

Catherine Hover 35:48
the world, the world global domination world, right world is not good

Annie Berdar 35:53
at all. But I think it’s just human nature to be like, oh, you know, and it’s like, the way that our society is right now. Everything is so immediate and instant. And it’s the same thing. Like with Instagram, you know, I look at Instagram, and I’m like, Wow, this person’s life is so perfect. Why can’t my life be perfect? You know, do you normal, but

Catherine Hover 36:11
some people watch you saw that video of you doing like a upside down, handstand thing? Like, I mean, I guess that’s what you do when you’re a yoga person. I’m like, Holy shit, you your body is incredible. You are living this amazing life. Right? So I think that it that it looks like you know, I’m not but it is what it is. Right? Like you are showing exactly what’s going on.

Annie Berdar 36:36
Right. So this is a good topic, I think, because I think like, Instagram is so deceiving, right? And I’ve tried for probably the first like, two to three years of bear, I wouldn’t share anything that wasn’t related to work, because I didn’t want people seeing that I had friends, you know, and, and that I could be a normal human being, you know, because I was like, Well, you know, people always have opinions. And I don’t want anybody to formulate a negative opinion about me. And then I hit a point, like, a year ago, where I was like, fuck it, like I want if I want to go out there, and I want to be like, Hi, I’m at a restaurant and I’m having a drink with my friend. You know, I mean, I’m not gonna like post naked pictures or anything crazy. But like, I was just like, I’m a normal, like, I’m allowed to enjoy my life. Yeah. And have a life. Yeah. And I but I, I mean, yeah,

Catherine Hover 37:31
but but, but this is similar to like, I think our upbringing, right, like, correct me if I’m wrong, but you were raised by strong hard working immigrant parents. Yeah, you work harder. You know, like, that’s, that’s just like the white knuckle it powering through. Right. And I’m the same way yeah, like, both my parents still work. I don’t think they’re ever gonna retire. Work, work, work, work work. And it’s like, you know, well, what about the other side of it? Yeah. So I think it’s important. The other the other part of it, too, is like, this shifted my perspective, a little bit is like, when because I would I would feel guilty sharing right like that. I went to Disney World because I’m fanatic for Disney. Like, I’m obsessed. I’ve seen and we know, we know, Katherine, you know? So but I would feel bad about sharing that or going out to eat or I get it, you know, yeah, like, but then I thought to myself, I see other successful other people that I admire who work really hard who have this full life and they are also celebrating their life. Right. But like, I’m not jealous, and I’m not pissed at them. I’m like, Holy shit, I want that I want to be Yeah. And I think it’s important to demonstrate these both sides of this, this world. And

Annie Berdar 38:39
I think that’s the part of me that was like, Okay, I’m going to start sharing now. Yeah, you know, like, I’m going to start like, little tidbits of you know, me who I am. Yeah,

Catherine Hover 38:48
you travel? Yeah, I think a passion of yours from what I can gather. I

Unknown Speaker 38:52
love traveling. I

Catherine Hover 38:53
love to travel and you don’t have kids? No. And nobody dating anybody right now. We are we are but like he can come and go right? Like he wants to come with a trophy can but otherwise, you can go and do your own right thing. So I’m living a little vicariously through you. Yes. Although I do travel I travel with with a party of five. Um, yeah, no, I think there’s like, a bit of an impostor syndrome that that? I certainly have from time to time. And I’m sure I mean, everyone has, I’m sure you said as well. It’s like, well, why? Like, did you did you get this sense? Like when you were like a 40? Under 40. And your your New York state business small business entrepreneur in New

Annie Berdar 39:34
York State Entrepreneur of the Year. Yeah, that was awesome. Last year, Mickey that was, yeah.

Catherine Hover 39:39
But like you you get these act acknowledgments. And you’re kind of like wait, is that oh my god real? Like do you guys you not? Well, honestly, honestly, my opinion is like, the capital region needs to do better if they think that I’m killing it.

Speaker 3 39:57
Yeah, so I resonate with that a little like yeah, Like, like when I got that when I got that new receipt award, I

Annie Berdar 40:02
had such impostor syndrome because the woman who was introducing me before I received the award was reading like all this stuff. That sounded so good. And I was like, is that really me? Like if you only knew how many times I cried on the floor, or like when days without showering these like, like, didn’t have time you know it like, yeah. Or the fact that I wake up every day at like, five just to catch up on emails from the night before sometimes, you know, or Yeah, like it just, yeah, I fully can relate 100% impostor syndrome,

Catherine Hover 40:38
I think it’s important. It’s like a it’s like a humility that I think is healthy to not think that we if I stood up, like because I got women of capital region, women of excellence of women in business, yeah, yeah. And I had so much fun, mainly because I got to, like, wear this incredible over the top sparkly outfit. I love that it was awesome. It was so much fun. But like, you get up on stage, and I’m just kind of like, you know, I think it’s I think it’s a healthy dose of humility, where you’re like, I don’t, I don’t deserve to be here. But then on the flip note, it’s like we do have to be a little we have to demonstrate more confidence. And like, right, I belong here. They wouldn’t have given this to me if I didn’t deserve it. You know, I’m inspiring. I’m motivating to people. And I’m helping everyone sort of like raise their standards.

Annie Berdar 41:27
nominated for the award. Right. So somebody had to have

Catherine Hover 41:30
Yeah, and I didn’t realize I was being nominated. So there’s like another misconception, like somebody like after that happened. People were like, well, who did you ask to nominate you? I was like, I didn’t ask anybody. Yeah, me. Yeah. Like, who? Is that? What happens? Yeah, what

Annie Berdar 41:43
people do? Oh, my goodness. I

Catherine Hover 41:45
know. They nominate themselves. I’m like, I did not nominate myself. No,

Annie Berdar 41:48
and I’ve never done that either. And for 40 under 40 I actually, I went to an event or something. I think it was like the track after I don’t know, I ran into this person who we just are acquaintances. We’re not very good friends.

Catherine Hover 42:04
Yeah, just like another Capital Region, like person that you see it that yeah, just Yeah,

Annie Berdar 42:08
events are like, we’re, we’re not far in age. And we have similar social circles. And he had congratulated me on the event and then told a friend of mine, who then shared with me, like she wasn’t deserving of that award. Like, that’s so humiliating to nominate yourself like, blah, blah. And I was just like, I didn’t even know that that was a thing. You know what I mean? Yeah, it’s just like, it’s so funny also, to see just how some people react to certain things like that. And that goes back to my whole that’s why I don’t really share anything. You know, I’ve been trying to like I said, but I will if

Catherine Hover 42:43
nothing comes of this. I think you need to share more because I think that you are inspiring. I think that people we know your role model right? Like people like see you out in the world. You’re I mean, you are you’re so involved the United Way and you do the food fringe, right. Where you go around you put food and all the fridges.

Annie Berdar 42:59
Yeah, the region is the one in in Albany. But yeah, yeah. And there’s I think there’s one in Saratoga too. Yeah. So I, we did so the Saratoga store has donated to that one a couple times. But if you asked me where that one was, I couldn’t tell you. I actually

Catherine Hover 43:13
I think it’s on Beekman or you know, somewhere on like overheads, okay, yeah. Yeah. To know, what’s a tip for someone who’s listening or watching that wants to start a business.

Annie Berdar 43:25
If you have a proven system, and it’s awesome, like, great, go for it. You know what I mean? Like, that’s the greatest thing, but it’s like, you really got to make sure that you have that system in place, you have the right support people, and that you grow with the intention to be to create generational wealth, because that’s what you want to do. Yeah, franchising, you know, yeah. So I mean, yeah, that sounds and that’s the like, I’m connected with different franchisees and franchisors just through all of this. And yeah, going through to the trade shows and being a part of the IFA, and all of that. And it’s amazing. And I feel like, I think I shared this with you at some point. But last February, January, February, I went to the International Franchise Association, like their big convention, and it beforehand, I was kind of feeling like, you know, there are other business owners in this area. Absolutely. And other people who own franchises to which I’ve come to find out I didn’t know at the time, but I felt like my network of people wasn’t necessarily the right fit for me all the time. Like if I wanted to reach out to somebody with like, a franchise related question, or like, a growth and development related question. I just hadn’t built my network up to that point yet. And I wasn’t aware of the people like in this community that could help us thing. Yeah. And I was kind of feeling a little, you know, down because I was like, you know, I’m like, on this lonely island, and I don’t really know who to ask for help with this thing and civic thing, right, like specific things. And so I went to this convention, and I was just thrown into this, like, sea of me, you know, and I was like, wow, and I’m We’d like so many connections. And it just, it’s so crazy, like, how much community can really boost your morale, and how important that is in your life. So I gotta come full circle here, watch this ready. So my tip, you really like you have to identify, if you’re starting a business, you know, be friends with the people who are in a similar position, you know, be friends with the people who like I have connections to people at Tropical Smoothie, right? Because, like, and there’s a concept called ever bowl where I was able to connect with their, one of their operations people at this convention and everybody, even though we have a very similar concept, everybody’s so willing to talk about things and share and help you grow, you just have to, you know, ask the right questions and approach it from the same mentality, because you never know when they’re going to need a question answered from you, you know, yeah. And it’s

Catherine Hover 45:55
it, it really is about collaboration. And most of these people who are entrepreneurial, they’re all about, like, making the pie bigger, not you taking a slice. So it’s like, it’s, it’s not even competitive. It’s about like, yeah, how can we support each other? And this is another thing that, you know, everything’s for sale. Right. Right. So So you support you? I mean, I don’t know how many times like, he has told me like, oh, well, we’re selling Island when company like, we’re the franchisor. And we are selling that, ya know. So it’s like, there, those are things that are happening as well. So it’s important to just like, be open to all the possibility and even

Annie Berdar 46:34
the smallest setting, right? Because franchising is obviously like, it’s a little bigger, you know, and if you’re talking about like, somebody whose passion is to open a flower shop, let’s say, will connect with all of the florists in your area, you know what I mean, connect with the farmers who sell flowers, connect with the people who operate in the same space that you do, because that’s genuinely going to boost your morale and make you more successful. And then my second piece of advice. And so this, I can’t take credit for this, this is just but she has reminded me a lot of the time that you should operate from the abundance model. Because if you think that you have to compete with like minded businesses, I mean, there are so many food concepts in every single town that I’ve decided to put a bear in, you know, and yeah, if you operate from the abundance model, and know that there is enough for everybody, and everybody can be successful, then you’ve already won half the battle, because you’re not freaking out about potentially losing, you’re focusing on how you can win and how everybody else can win too. Yeah, so I think those are my two

Catherine Hover 47:43
tips. Yeah, it’s all about like, there’s enough for everybody. And, but like, there’s also like, I think that that’s an upbringing, right? Like, I, I just like, there was never enough, I think, because I grew up, you know, both my parents worked their ass off every penny was spent on something, you know, there literally wasn’t enough, right? Yeah. And growing up, and I just think growing up when you’re like living in that, that environment, you know, it’s just ingrained to you to kind of like, you gotta and you have to reset your brain. And I think spending time with people who have that, yeah, it’s a game changer, you know, spinning around this, like, there’s this person I’ve been hanging out with lately. And it’s like, you know, I’ll say something like, oh, you know, it, it’ll cause like, like, it’s no object, like, nothing is an object. He’s like, Oh, that’s nothing. That’s no big deal. And I’m like, man, like, imagine had I grown up where there was plenty of money and plenty of food and plenty of shelter, and plenty of all the things right? Imagine like, what a different version of myself on my Bay, I think, again, back to my my friends dinner conversation, you know, it’s like, I would be the same person, but I would probably be a lot less stressed. And a lot more hopeful. And, and a lot and I think just further along, you know, I have that that envy, this may be a flaw. It’s like, I have this like sense of urgency inside of me that if like, I want I do want I don’t know, I don’t know, this is like going down a whole nother tangent, but it’s like you get to that the thing that you wanted, and then you’re like, Okay, and now what’s the next like, I always move the goalposts. I constantly move the goalposts.

Annie Berdar 49:20
Well, and I think other like every successful entrepreneur does, right. I think if you grew up with having everything at your disposal and having no worries, you wouldn’t have that fire, you wouldn’t have the ability to be like Okay, now what and how do I figure it out? And how do I adapt to my environment and make the change and continue to grow and like that fire I don’t think would exist

Catherine Hover 49:42
is like that hustle. I don’t know if I don’t know if that comes from, you know, a limited upbringing or it’s just, it’s in you. Yeah,

Annie Berdar 49:49
I don’t know. I had termen. I had a limited up. I mean, my parents were immigrants. They got divorced when I was very young. They were very poor. They work their asses off. I mean to this day, like some one or two years, they’re never going to retire. Yeah. And, you know, I saw that, you know, you it’s not even that you see it as a child that you like, feel it, you know this, like insecurity around finances, it’s almost like ingrained in you, you know. And so immediately, I think, at least for me, I was like, Well, what do I do to try to secure that. But the other piece of that is, what do I do to secure that, but also live the life that I want to live in terms of do what I want to do every day. That’s why, like, when I said before, most people are like, I just want to be successful. But you don’t identify what you want to do. Yeah. Because like the morale piece of it is just as important as a financial piece of it. You don’t feel like you’re enjoying yourself every day. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your bank account. You’re miserable. Yeah. I mean, there’s this thing that I tell myself this on a regular basis, like when you feel good, you do good, right? It’s not the other way around. And there are going to be times I think, in every business owner’s life where you’ve maybe made a financial projection where you thought you were gonna hit this goal, and then you realize, oh, I didn’t hit that goal. And so you didn’t have that financial peace comes into play. But if you genuinely enjoy what you’re doing every day, whatever that is, then that’s what’s going to help you bridge that gap and continue to push forward. Yeah, because that I mean, that’s almost inevitable as any business owner out there, they definitely probably had some type of fluctuation in finances. At some point. It’s just it happens. You know,

Catherine Hover 51:30
it happens. Yeah, happens some. Well, thank you. Yeah.

Speaker 3 51:34
We can talk forever. Yeah, we could. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. This is great. Awesome. Love it.

Catherine Hover 51:40
All right. This week, sneak peek from Saratoga living is all about Halloween. So check out Saratoga living substack for all the full stories. And if you don’t know what a substack is, well take a look. Our links are in the show notes. But search of living is only a six times a year publication. So it’s after hours is three times a week. And it’s all super local online publication with all the timely edgy stories that you need in your life this year for Halloween, after hours suggest going local and I do not disagree. If you don’t live in Saratoga. Well, we’d love to hear from your ideas from Albany choice connected or wherever you live in the capital region. So a couple of ideas they have for us is to dress up like the restaurant on Caroline Street, Hamlet and ghost, one as Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark and the other in a sheet so I love this idea for a kid is to dress up like a blue bottle of Saratoga water. I mean, that is adorbs someone does that. Well, we actually think will be the most popular costume which I can’t disagree with. And this is not local, but like let’s just be honest, people are going to be dressed up as Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have already seen a ton of this on Instagram and social media already. It’s fine. I just I also think we’re gonna see a lot of Barbies. So speaking of football, I’m sure a lot of ladies are watching the Chiefs play because they want to see Taylor in the stands. So for all the insider info on where to watch which teams in Saratoga and who has the best snacks, the link to the full story is in our show notes. So go clickety click over there. Thank you for listening to this podcast. And if you want to connect with me slide into my DMs on Instagram. My handle is Catherine hoever.

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