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The Voice of the Black Community

Business

A helping of seafood with side of mentoring by Mr. 3's restaurateurs
Couple shares business passion with neighbors
 
Published Thursday, February 13, 2020 11:23 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | JERRY BROWN
Rana and Rod Brown own Mr. 3’s Crab Pot in Charlotte, Rock Hill and Gastonia.

Life is about more than fried lobster tails for Rana and Rod Brown.


The Charlotte couple created a restaurant concept to build upon the city’s seafood options, as well as their neighborhood. Mr. 3’s Crab Pot has expanded to three locations since 2016, and added Crabs Out the Barrel, a small business mentorship program.


The Browns’ inspiration for the business emerged in 2014 after a lot of traveling. They wanted a space where they could get a single crab cluster, which led to the creation of a food truck with work on a brand logo and design beginning in 2015. They used social media to generate interest in the product prior to launch. Their food truck business, which started in January 2016 off Freedom Drive, led to their flagship restaurant in the Thomasboro-Hoskins neighborhood in West Charlotte at 401 Bradford Drive, within walking distance from where Rana grew up.


“We kept building up the name, and we decided to purchase the [Charlotte] location in February 2016,” Rod Brown said.


They opened the Rock Hill, South Carolina location in 2017, and Gastonia a year later.


While the restaurant business has kept the Browns busy, they still find time to give back to the community.


“We take anybody, not just people who are older, but younger people too. People in high school,” Brown said. “Whatever you are ready to start, we pair them up either with a mentor or try to work with them ourselves on how to start a business, how to get [a limited liability company] set up, and how to go about operating a business every day.”


Brown pointed out the complexities of being an entrepreneur, which requires more than a physical establishment in order to succeed.


“A lot of people want to jump in and open up businesses out here, and end up failing within the first year,” he said. “There are certain steps you have to go through, and certain assets you have to build with starting a business, other than, ‘oh, I’ve got a location, I’m going to open this up and get it running.’”


They intend to expand Crabs Out the Barrel to other fields.


“A lot of people are uneducated, or they don’t think the plumbing jobs or the electrician jobs are cool, or they don’t think they can make money in those fields, so they don’t even bother with it at all, or they have no knowledge about it,” Brown said. “It’s pretty much using the tools we have to reach the public to bring up the culture.”

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