For the past year, Faith Takes has been making business decisions as both an owner of a for-profit college and a restaurant owner. The owner of Albany-based career college and technical training school has been running the business side of Reel Seafood Co.
Takes, owner of Empire Education Corporation, purchased the restaurant on Wolf Road last January with Aliki Serras, then the general manager of the restaurant. Serras’ father, LeGrande Serras, opened the restaurant in the 1980s. Today, Reel Seafood is one of the last independently owned restaurants on Wolf Road.
LeGrande Serras asked Takes, a longtime family friend, to help Aliki write a business plan. Takes agreed to help with a business plan and introduce Aliki to bankers for financing.
“It turns out, as I got involved in writing the plan, the more we explored, the more interested I became,” says Takes, who runs Mildred Elley and Austin’s School of Spa Technology.
Serras says she developed about seven business plans over a year and a half. Today, the restaurant serves simply-prepared seafood in its newly renovated interior. The two women undertook a complete interior renovation of the restaurant last winter and will do an exterior renovation later in 2015.
Though Serras and Takes purchased the business together, Takes did not publicly identify as an owner for the first year to emphasize the restaurant is still family owned. Takes says she’s involved with Reel Seafood on a daily basis and handles the business end of the restaurant.
“I see so much of the passion I had for the business I grew in her,” Takes says of her co-owner.
For now, Serras and Takes are focused on growing Reel Seafood’s audience by promoting its space as fit for business meetings and small gatherings. A side room off the main dining room can fit up to 50 people. Serras also added a happy hour that’s bringing in a younger crowd for $1 oysters.