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Best-Friends-Turned-Business-Partners on How to Successfully Navigate Co-Ownership

September 27, 2021

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh was featured on U.S. Chamber of Commerce website CO this week regarding Derek St. George, Karl Schmidt and Leigha Schmidt, friends turned co-owners of two locations in the Boston, MA area. We learn how they navigate their since middle-school friendship while being business partners. 

Who we are: A destination for fresh, healthy and authentic Mediterranean cuisine based in Boston, MA.

The three of us have been friends since middle school. A few years ago, we decided to embark on a journey together by opening the first Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh restaurant in the Boston area. We felt opening a restaurant franchise was a great move, because among the three of us, there was a business background, a finance background and experience in the restaurant industry. We wanted to get into a sector/market that hadn’t reached its full potential, and saw the Mediterranean diet restaurant concept as just that. Of course, there are some brands that are beginning to forge the path for quick-service Mediterranean food, but no one has cornered the market — there is no “Chipotle” or “Qdoba” of Mediterranean cuisine. We looked at the overall financial aspect of the brands in this space and we chose Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh because we feel it has great potential to be a staple in the Mediterranean sector.

Our advice, or words of wisdom, on staying friends throughout the business process is three-fold: don’t forget to have fun, it’s okay to disagree and don’t take anything too personally. Maintaining the laughs and jokes while integrating the business into the equation is essential. Don’t lose sight of who you are because the shared relationship is the foundation friends need to have to go into business together in the first place. Having an odd number of partners helps as well: when the vote is 2-1 on something, it makes things easy and smooth. Follow Garbanzo Mediterranean on Twitter & Facebook.

If you’d like more information about becoming a Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh franchise owner, please complete our Contact Us form on