Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Business with Janay Boucan

Welcome to another episode of Launched & Legal with Dayna Thomas, Esq., entrepreneurship attorney and law firm coach. Launched & Legal is an Atlanta Small Business Network original series dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for strategizing, legalizing, and monetizing their ventures. Today, Dayna is joined by Janay Boucan, Co-owner of Double Scoop Ice Cream in Stonecrest, Georgia with two new locations on the way.

If you have questions or comments about today’s show, send Dayna a message or comment on Instagram @daynathomaslaw.

Transcription: 

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Now, who doesn’t love ice cream? I know I do. Although, we’ll be talking about sweet treats today, first, we’ll get to the bottom of how Janay Boucan, co-owner of Double Scoop Ice Cream, was able to open her brick-and-mortar ice cream shop with two more locations on the way all before the age of 32. While we do see a lot of people starting businesses lately, most of them appear to be online businesses, understandably, to avoid the risks and responsibilities of a brick-and-mortar shop. But not Janna.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
As a real estate broker and investor, Janay has some background knowledge on real property that gave her the confidence to set up shop. So for those of you that want to take advantage of business beyond the web, this episode is for you.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Janay, thank you so much for being here.

Janay Boucan:
Of course.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Janay, I have been seeing your story unfold. We met in college…

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… and I had no idea that you had the entrepreneurship spirit at that time. I don’t even think I knew I had the entrepreneurship spirit at that time. And it’s been amazing to see what you have done with Double Scoop and your other ventures. So you are a woman of many hats, many talents. Tell us what you have your hands and all these ventures that you have your hands in.

Janay Boucan:
So, yes, right now I am the owner of Double Scoop Ice Cream.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome.

Janay Boucan:
And I am now a real estate broker. So yes, I do real estate and specialize in commercial and residential.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Look at that. And so where did that entrepreneurial spirit come from? What jump-started that in you?

Janay Boucan:
It actually started in college.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay, good.

Janay Boucan:
So I was living in student housing and I lived with three other young ladies.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
And I realized we were each paying $800 per room.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
And I said, “Okay, I’m going to do this one day, but I’m going to make it affordable.”

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
So I actually bought some student rental properties and I was able to charge per room and make it affordable for students.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s awesome. And I love how that really is a part of this story…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… because you became so familiar it seems with real estate that it led to this location for Double Scoop. And not only that, you wrote this book…

Janay Boucan:
Mm-hmm.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… that I want the world to know about because, and I just got a copy of it, A Guide To Living Mortgage & Rent Free: Through College & Beyond. I’m in the beyond section, right? So tell us about your book and some of the gems that are in it.

Janay Boucan:
Absolutely. So it started in college after I lived in student housing…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
… I applied to be a resident assistant.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
So while I was a resident assistant, or as we call it, a RA, I was able to live for free, eat for free, and receive this stipend.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
So I was like, “I can continue this even after college.”

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
So I started working for another institution, but they paid for my living as well again, and I was receiving a salary.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Nice.

Janay Boucan:
After that, I went on to get my master’s degree and I had the same benefits, but then this time they paid for my tuition.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow.

Janay Boucan:
So I only had to pay tuition $25 a semester. So I basically received my master’s for a hundred dollars.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And I saw that’s the name of a chapter in your book.

Janay Boucan:
It is. Yes. A Hundred Dollars For My Master’s Degree. And so a lot of people don’t know about these opportunities and options.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
No, we don’t.

Janay Boucan:
So I like to give that information out there. And so then after that, I started working full time again, still had the salary, but at this time I had the opportunity to actually purchase properties.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
So I purchased my first property for $18,000.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow. Where?

Janay Boucan:
It was a two-bed… In the west end…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
… next to the AUC.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay. Atlanta University Center.

Janay Boucan:
Atlanta University Center, absolutely. It was a two-bed, one bathroom, and we just started renting out each room and made it affordable for students.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s amazing.

Janay Boucan:
Yep.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
You just keep doing it from there.

Janay Boucan:
And I just kept doing it. We bought three more after that, so we had a total of four properties, and they were each 18, 22, 25, and 22,000 again.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow.

Janay Boucan:
And then after we started renting those out, I said, “Okay, residential is great, but I want to do commercial now.”

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
My ice cream shop, I actually used to work there when we were teenagers…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah.

Janay Boucan:
… used to be Brewsters.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I wanted to ask about that.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Because I know that story…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… starts beyond just…

Janay Boucan:
Beyond…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I just want to open a shop.

Janay Boucan:
Absolutely.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So tell us about that.

Janay Boucan:
Yes. So when I worked for Brewsters as a teenager, my sister and I worked there…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
… and we said, “One day we want to own our own ice cream shop.”

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
And so we didn’t know how, we didn’t know it was going to be the same location, so I’m glad it worked out that way, but we were able to take the money and the equity out of those student rental properties and purchase our ice cream shop.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Oh.

Janay Boucan:
So we don’t lease it, we actually own it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s fantastic.

Janay Boucan:
So we purchased it from the previous owner, he was our boss.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
And it was turnkey, everything was there, all the ice cream machines, all the deep freezers, everything we needed, and we just purchased it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Janay, that’s amazing because everything built on each other…

Janay Boucan:
Mm-hmm.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… from, I feel like you got like an epiphany, like, “Wow. They’re going to pay me to live for free.”

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
“And how can I do that even beyond college?”

Janay Boucan:
Absolutely.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And now I can only assume that you don’t have to pay mortgage out of your pocket because it’s coming from all of your other properties and ventures.

Janay Boucan:
All the other [inaudible 00:06:00].

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s amazing. So I know that a lot of new entrepreneurs, or young entrepreneurs, shy away from opening a brick-and-mortar shop because of the risks and responsibilities involved. So just elaborate a little bit more on what encouraged you to really take that on for your business instead of thinking of something that was online, which tends to be a little bit easier.

Janay Boucan:
Absolutely. So we went through the SBA process…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
… which is the Small Business Administration, and we only had to put down 10% of the purchase price.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right.

Janay Boucan:
So our first building was only $325,000. Now that’s a steal, I don’t want anybody to walk away thinking…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I can do it for that price.

Janay Boucan:
… that they can pay that price. But we basically got it for a steal.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow.

Janay Boucan:
And then they gave us working capital for inventory, for payroll, for marketing, and stuff like that. So we were able to put less than $50,000 down on the property. And it’s my sister and I who own it…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow. Yeah.

Janay Boucan:
… so we just came together, put our money together, and we were able to put the down payment and our mortgage is less than $3,000 a month…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Oh gosh.

Janay Boucan:
… which is really unheard of…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
But we are fortunate enough to…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yes.

Janay Boucan:
… actually really do this and it’s not too expensive.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah. So you make it sound so easy.

Janay Boucan:
I know.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
But it’s okay. It seems like things, you’re where you’re supposed to be.

Janay Boucan:
Right.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Because things just seem to be unfolding…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… and unfolding and unfolding…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… for you. So what’s the process like securing that property? Is it like buying a house, right?

Janay Boucan:
It is.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
So it’s amazing. We actually got pre-approved within like three days, it was over the weekend. I reached out to one of my preferred lenders that I like to use for commercial.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
And he said, “Hey, Janay, I can help you out with this. Let’s do 10% down. Just give me your business plan, your tax returns from the last couple of years, and all the other required documents.” And we literally got pre-approved. And because I was a real estate agent, of course, I reached out to the agent and said, “Hey, we want to purchase this property.” And we literally were under contract that Monday, Tuesday of that week. So it literally happened within a week of us getting pre-approved and going under contract.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That is so good. Wow.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And again, the real estate background that you have helped you to really navigate that.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
But along with some favor, Janay.

Janay Boucan:
Yes, absolutely.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Because that is quick, which is great.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And now you still have longevity, right?

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Because you’re still here.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So what are your thoughts for those that are thinking of doing something similar in purchasing commercial property versus leasing? What are your thoughts on that? I know from your story it seems like purchasing was obviously the best for you because…

Janay Boucan:
Absolutely.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… you got a steal, as you call it.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So what are your thoughts on purchasing and leasing?

Janay Boucan:
Well, I prefer to own, I guess in real estate, that’s just what I’m used to is I prefer to own versus rent or lease.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
And so even with our second location, we were able to purchase that for under $450,000.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow.

Janay Boucan:
Again, you put down the 10%.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yes.

Janay Boucan:
And they give you working capital to get it open.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Was that through the SBA again?

Janay Boucan:
And that’s through SBA again, yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
Versus if I was leasing a space, I would have to literally try and find a location, I would have to build out the space…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
… and I may not have all of that money upfront to do that. And then at the end, I don’t own it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
So now that I own the property, I get to sell it. I also get to make a commission off of it because I’m a real estate agent.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow. Awesome.

Janay Boucan:
So it’s just more beneficial for me to purchase…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah.

Janay Boucan:
… versus lease.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Absolutely. That makes sense. And I remember when you were launching and you would share pictures of the process.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And I would see the building was gutted and…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… we’re looking at a mess inside…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… but this is going to be the freezer.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And this is going to be the drive-through.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And we’re looking like… It doesn’t look like that now.

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So tell us about some of the challenges you may have faced because a lot of times when we hear about construction projects, it’s behind schedule or more money or whatever the case may be, which might not be your story.

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
But what do you recall in terms of what you learned along the way or the challenges?

Janay Boucan:
Absolutely. Now with this location, its previous use was commercial, but on paper, it was still considered single-family so I had to go through the process of rezoning the property from single-family…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Wow.

Janay Boucan:
… to commercial.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
Which has actually been a pretty interesting process. I actually enjoyed it because I actually got to meet a lot of the people through the city of Atlanta. Now they’ll be able to market the business as well.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Nice.

Janay Boucan:
Not literally but…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I get it.

Janay Boucan:
… they are now aware that we have another ice cream shop coming up.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Mm-hmm.

Janay Boucan:
And then we also got the neighborhood involved because you have to get their approval.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Really?

Janay Boucan:
So they’re really excited. Yes. So it’s actually worked out for us.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s fantastic.

Janay Boucan:
So we are approved and we hope to actually open this summer.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s so good. When I hear about zoning and all that, it just seems like a big problem. But you know what? When you have a vision and you know something was meant for you, whatever challenges may come… “No, we didn’t know that it wasn’t zoned before, but…”

Janay Boucan:
It doesn’t matter.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It doesn’t matter.

Janay Boucan:
Because we’re here.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s…

Janay Boucan:
And I don’t regret it because it’s still a great location.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah.

Janay Boucan:
It’s only a block from Cascade Skating Rink.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome.

Janay Boucan:
So I’m hoping that we can get a lot… And it’s less than a mile from the highway so…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It’s a great location.

Janay Boucan:
It’s a perfect location for us. And it’s only a 12-minute drive from where I live so it’s actually perfect.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Well, that actually helps with the answer to my next question. So how do you handle the pressure or responsibility of consistently generating income when you have staff to pay, you have mortgage now, you have inventory, and utilities, handling those business expenses, or just the pressure that may come with that? Do you even feel pressure? Has it just been a blessing?

Janay Boucan:
It’s been a blessing. Honestly, even through COVID, we had so much help from COVID relief. And so that really helped a lot. But I’m the type of person that we just have to figure it out.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah.

Janay Boucan:
And so for me, we can apply for grants, we can go through SBA, we can go through COVID relief, or sometimes my sister and I will just work in there full time…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Yeah.

Janay Boucan:
… and that will help with payroll. I mean, you just have to do what you have to do. Our business is seasonal so sometimes in the winter…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I was going to ask about that, yeah.

Janay Boucan:
… it’s really slow, and so my sister and I are like, “Not a problem. We’ll just go in there…”

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
We’ll work.

Janay Boucan:
We’ll work, give the girls, our scoopers, a break, and do what we have to do.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I think what I have learned and, no not just learned, have confirmed, and I’m glad that it’s being exposed to the audience, or a reminder for the audience is the key is being resourceful.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
You have to be resourceful.

Janay Boucan:
You do.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Because you have tapped into a lot of benefits that the city has…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… a lot of benefits that employers have.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
You got your master’s degree for a hundred dollars.

Janay Boucan:
And social work, which is where I learned to be resourceful.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So you were in social work as well.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
My master’s is in social work.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So I want to give the rundown of how amazing you are because amazing people give amazing advice.

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So from college, you lived for free in college, right?

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
What about going to school?

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
For free?

Janay Boucan:
That was for my master’s degree.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay. Awesome.

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
For your master’s. So you lived for free in college…

Janay Boucan:
Mm-hmm.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… and ate for free, right?

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And then when you graduated, you lived for free again.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And got a salary.

Janay Boucan:
Correct.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And got your master’s degree for a hundred dollars.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And then you bought some properties from all the money that you were saving…

Janay Boucan:
Mm-hmm.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… from not having regular expenses that we have.

Janay Boucan:
Exactly.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And then you had more properties, four or five other properties that paid the down payment for…

Janay Boucan:
For the commercial ice cream shop.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… your first Double Scoop location.

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Amazing. And not only that, right? With utilizing the benefits from the SBA, they were able to help with your down payment or the build-out fees for your first and your second location.

Janay Boucan:
Mm-hmm.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So, Janay, I commend you.

Janay Boucan:
Well, thank you.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Because a lot of times people feel like entrepreneurship has to be a struggle.

Janay Boucan:
It doesn’t.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And I do not subscribe to that…

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… at all. Entrepreneurship does not have to be a struggle. There is more than enough money around there for everyone, we don’t have to make money…

Janay Boucan:
No.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… we just find it.

Janay Boucan:
Yeah.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Right?

Janay Boucan:
We do.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And attract it.

Janay Boucan:
Yep.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It’s so amazing to share your story because, knowing you, I’ve never known you to be a stressed-out person and you have all these businesses and all these responsibilities and tenants and locations and staff and utility and mortgage.

Janay Boucan:
And I love it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And you love it.

Janay Boucan:
I literally enjoy it.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And you know what? No matter what, you will find a way.

Janay Boucan:
Mm-hmm.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Which is why so many doors keep opening for you. So thank you so much for sharing your story.

Janay Boucan:
Of course.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Establishing a brick-and-mortar shop, for everyone that’s watching, does not have to be something that is unattainable, right? While online businesses are fantastic, I have many online businesses, I think it’s great. But if you have a vision for yourself and it does include a physical location, don’t let anyone deter you. Of course, you have to plan, it has to make sense financially, but do your research, there is money out there to help you build your dreams, to help you get that physical location, and utilize all of that information in a way that can help you to build your dream. And of course, have a good plan because you mentioned that, Janay…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… that you needed a business plan.

Janay Boucan:
We did.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
It was like buying a house…

Janay Boucan:
Yep.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… but you did need your business plan.

Janay Boucan:
We did.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
So that’s fantastic. So tell us where Double Scoop is located, and I also want to know some of your favorite treats on the menu.

Janay Boucan:
Oh, of course. So we are actually located outside of Stonecrest Mall.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
So if you just Google us, it will direct you right there. And then our second location, which will be opening up this summer…

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome.

Janay Boucan:
… is a block from Cascade Skating Rink, you can Google that as well.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
And our website is DoubleScoopIceCream.com.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome. And what’s your favorite treats on the menu? [inaudible 00:16:13] to make and to eat?

Janay Boucan:
Oh my gosh. We have cookie butter, Oreo cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, banana pudding.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
That’s fantastic.

Janay Boucan:
All the amazing flavors.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
And what’s your Instagram because you…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
… show all the new treats and I’m like…

Janay Boucan:
Yes.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
“Oh, it looks so good.”

Janay Boucan:
On Instagram, it’s @DoubleScoopIC, for ice cream.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Okay.

Janay Boucan:
So yes, on Instagram. Facebook, Double Scoop Ice Cream, Twitter as well, DoubleScoopIC.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome. Thank you, Janay, for sharing your story.

Janay Boucan:
Of course.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
I know so many people are inspired and I wish you all the best with your new locations coming up.

Janay Boucan:
Thank you. Thank you.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Awesome. Well, I hope today’s show helped to educate and inspire you as you pursue your business goals. Be sure to share today’s show with someone who can benefit and visit MyASBN.com and subscribe.

Dayna Thomas, Esq.:
Be sure to share today’s show with someone who can benefit and visit MyASBN.com and subscribe. If you have any questions or comments about today’s show, I would love to hear from you, send me a message or comment on Instagram at @daynathomaslaw. Remember to tune in next week and every week to make sure your business is launched and legal.


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