AERN home > Success stories > Tallapoosa County, Fall 2010

Jake's Restaurant in Alexander City Has a Plan for Success

By Daniel Hollander, AERN Intern

Russell Corporation has laid off hundreds of employees in the past decade both before and after moving its corporate headquarters from Alexander City to Atlanta. A new wave of relocations would have forced Jake and Trisse Mixon to move to Bowling Green, Kentucky, but they weren't willing to leave the town where they have lived their whole lives.

Jake's Restaurant
Ribbon cutting ceremony for Jake's Restaurant in Alexander City. The owners Jake and Trisse Mixon used local AERN resources to help Jake make his long-time dream a reality.

The Mixons decided now was the time to reaffirm their commitment to Alex City's sense of community. By using local AERN resources, they opened the restaurant that Jake had been dreaming about for years.

The Tallapoosa County AERN center is located in the chamber of commerce in downtown Alexander City, and the Mixon family has tapped into those resources. "We really appreciate everything AERN did. They helped tremendously in starting us out and laying out what we needed to do. We worked with AERN resources a long time to put together the business plan for this restaurant. We want to keep downtown Alex City going," Jake said.

What better way to revitalize a community and bring people together than good food? Jake's opened its doors at the end of May and hit the ground running. "We are hometown people, we were born and raised in Alex City, and we wanted to bring employment opportunities to this city," said Trisse.

But that's not all they're bringing. Good food, local art, and an inviting hometown atmosphere are all on the menu at Jake's. Currently open from Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, Jake's is in the historical downtown area of Alexander City at 16 Broad Street. The hardwood floors are warm and inviting, and the décor is appealing. Local artisan and Mixon family friend John Denney has provided art and photography showcasing the community.

Steak is Jake's specialty, but don't count out the fried shrimp or what customers are calling, hands‑down, the best crab cakes around. "We are always trying to improve, whether it be the quality of the food or how we meet the needs of our customers. We feel like we've gotten better every day," Jake said.

That day-to-day work ethic and attention to detail started with Mike Mixon, Jake's father, who generously agreed to finance Jake's for the first year. Using AERN resources at the chamber of commerce and working with chamber volunteer and AERN ambassador John Cater, the trio came up with a business plan that worked within their budget and expectations.

Mike already has plans to return to the AERN resources at regular intervals to look at other representative businesses to see how Jake's compares. His advice to aspiring business owners: "Do the background work, be realistic, project your expenses and project your profits, don't overstate it. Without AERN's help, I don't know what we would have done."

Despite the layoffs created by down-sizing at the Russell Corporation, the Mixons weren't ready to give up on Alexander City. Just a few months after meeting and working with AERN representatives and resources, they are already invigorating the downtown area with steak, local art, an inviting atmosphere, and a commitment to excellence in the town they call home.

From AERNews, Vol. 10, No. 3, Fall 2010

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