It's Downtown Tuesday time!!!
Our second feature highlights our Detroit homegirl, Stacey Dougan. She is the owner of Simply Pure, a vegan restaurant inside of Downtown Container Park. I sat down with Stacey and asked her the following questions:
LAYOP Full Timeout with Stacey Dougan of Simply Pure
1. As a celebrity chef, you've been blessed to cook for countless entertainers, politicians and movie stars. What responsibility do you have as a celebrity chef?
Hearing the term "celebrity chef" sounds weird to me because I don't consider myself as one, even though I have cooked for numerous celebrities. However, one of my responsibilities as a woman is to empower other women to live out their goals and dreams. Most of the celebrity chefs (and chefs in general) are males - the culinary field is male dominant. Women are the minority and I want to see more of us enter the culinary industry. Also as a mother, it's important for me to set a standard where your passion and purpose can support your family's lifestyle.
2. Simply Pure has been a staple within Downtown Container Park since its grand opening in 2013. What was the tipping point of your success?
When we opened in 2013, I already had a solid following in Las Vegas. I used to produce cooking classes at Whole Foods for several years and formed genuine relationships with Downtown Project members. The first two years inside the Container Park were extremely good for us, however, we faced some adversity earlier this year. We were actually going to shut our doors because we were behind on rent and bills. I received a letter from Container Park about dissolving my lease. There were many tears!
I'm a believer so the only thing I could do is pray. I gave it all to God and three days later, former President Bill Clinton walked into my store. From that very moment, I knew that his visit was divine order. I was able to save my business and gain momentum from President Clinton's visit. Once I released my ego and gave God all the power, we were able to keep rising and build a winning business.
3. Your background is in the music industry (former Director of Artist Development at Universal Music Group). If you could improve the DTLV music scene, what would you do differently?
I would take a page out of Tony Hsieh's book and bring some of my favorite artists to DTLV. He wanted to create a work/live/play environment for DTLV and I would want the same. I love R&B and Hip-Hop music. Some of my favorite artists are Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Dwele, Anthony David, Common and A Tribe Called Quest.
4. With roots in Michigan and Georgia, what three things from either place would you bring to DTLV?
1. From Michigan - I would bring my elementary and middle school. It was West African based. We learned so much about our African culture - things they don't teach in most schools. The first time I went to Africa was at age 12, which was a school sponsored trip. Such a great experience!
2. From Georgia - I would bring the music scene. Atlanta, specifically, has one of the best music scenes in the world. Any place could benefit from having that music influence within their culture.