Interview by: Catherine Stiles
Portraits by: Wyatt McSpadden & Lauren Slusher
You know the story well, or so you think you do. Meet Stacy Franklin. You might recognize her as half of the equation to the dynamic duo that is Franklin Barbecue, but did you know that she’s also a mom, a "Mrs. Fix-it," and an aspiring gardener? ...and she has a story all of her own to tell.
Tell me a little bit about where you are from and where you grew up? I was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas and I lived there until I was 19, when I moved to Austin.
What did your parents do? What influence did they have on you in becoming the woman you are today? My parents are hard working people. My Mom worked for the VA hospital in Human Resources for most of her career. My Dad had lots of different careers until he landed in teaching toward the end of my childhood. My Dad always did odd jobs to make extra money. It snowed yearly in Amarillo, and when we had a snow day, we usually borrowed our grandfather’s snow blower and we went out to make money clearing driveways. Sometimes he cleaned the windows at Weinersnitzel. If he found someone taking down an old fence, he would make outdoor furniture with the old pickets and try to sell it. That entrepreneurial spirit and hard work is probably the most important thing I learned from my parents.
What were you like as a child? What did you want to be when you grew up? I was the kid that was always being told that they had "an adult sense of humor" or that I was "an old soul". I actually have no idea what that means, but I think that a lot of times I loved sitting around and listening to adults converse. Adults would also tell me that I should be a comedian when I grew up. I was a goober.
How did you land in Austin, Texas? After high school, I stuck around Amarillo and tried my hand at community college. It wasn't the thing for me and I dropped out. I would take road trips to Austin to visit my friend Claudia who was attending the University of Texas. We were talking on the phone one day and she said that one of her roommates was moving out and that she needed to find someone. I moved to Austin two weeks later.
Tell me about the business of barbecue. Obviously everyone knows the story of you and Franklin Barbecue, but what do you think people might not know about the day in the life of Stacy Franklin and your role in the family business? Oh gosh. So much stuff behind the scenes. Nothing too exciting, but we try and keep up with employee needs, email requests, accounts payable, accounts receivable, merchandise, insurance, new projects, compliance, permits, preorders, press requests, website needs, communication, coordinating repairs, blah blah blah. It is a lot of work.
What is the best thing about being in the Barbecue business? Yesterday, we had a group of 6 business men who waited in line. At the end of their meal, they wanted to see if they got in line tomorrow at 2pm, if the line would be short. There are not a lot of restaurants that have people planning their meal for the following day, before they even leave the premises. That is pretty cool to me.
What is the worst thing about being in the Barbecue business? Hmm. Its pretty hard to complain....but I manage. Haha. I think the thing that annoys me, is when I go to the bank and they ask me why I didn't bring them any food. People kind of expect you to bring food or carry bbq around in your purse.
You are a mom, which is also a full time job. How do you juggle being a mom and an entrepreneur? (I know it is a job in itself just managing the demanding schedules of both.) Any advice you can give as a working mom making it all happen everyday? The hardest thing for me is turning off the computer at 5, and not thinking about what I did not have time to finish. I want to be present with my daughter once we get home, so I try my best not to do emails or work after I am home in the evening. These days some folks expect that everyone replies to emails in the evenings or on the weekends, so it is hard for people to just wait to get a response for a few days. Setting boundaries in order to have good work / life balance is important. It is always challenging to make time for yourself for rest or exercise, but it is so important.
What do you do for fun? Gardening is my current jam. I grow cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs and native plants, and I love a good project. I think it is very important for a lady to have her own tools. I have my own drill, hacksaw, speed square, measuring tape, shovels, ladder, drill bits and more. If I want to start a project, I want to be able to do it all myself, with very little help from my husband. I know he is busy and it gives me great satisfaction to not have to ask for help.
If you were going to give one piece of advice to a young person who wanted to get into the business of barbecue or just "food" in general, what would that be? Just figure it out. I figured out how to run a business by doing almost everything myself. It is hard to delegate a task to someone else, if you don't know how to do it yourself. Figure it out and make mistakes. Taking things one step at a time makes a large daunting task seem more manageable. You heard how to eat an elephant, right?
What's next for Stacy Franklin? If you could do something outside of the barbecue business, what would that be? I have lots of different things I would like to do someday. Real estate, nail salon, vintage outdoor furniture store, cute non slip shoe manufacturer, organic confetti company, boozy snow cone stand, make organic chinchilla wash. Some of these are more serious than others, but these ideas give me a big smile.
When you actually get the chance...what do you do with girlfriends on a "Night Out" on the town? We almost always meet at a favorite restaurant or try out something new. One of my girlfriends is a pescitarian, so it is fun to eat out with her and try all the fish and veggie options on the menu. And wine...lots of wine.
When you have guests in town are there any local restaurants, shops, or favorite attractions you like to direct them to? I normally leave that to my husband, he loves to make restaurant lists for people.
If you were to empty out your purse on the table right now, what would we find? Lots of receipts, sunglasses, eyeglasses, lip gloss in various shades, smooshed breakfast bars, loose spare change, 1 pen.
Is there a local or national charitable cause that you support and would like more people to be aware of? We really like The SAFE Alliance. A merger of Austin Children's Shelter and SAFE Place.
We end each interview with a piece we can share from your kitchen to the readers home kitchen. Think of it as sharing a recipe card from one good friend to another. What is a favorite recipe you like to share from your home kitchen when you are entertaining with friends and family?
“STACY’S FAMOUS” Green Goddess Dip
This is a recipe I make when we have friends over and we want to have something to snack on while Aaron grills dinner. I found this in Saveur magazine a few years back, and it goes great with any sliced veggies. I sub out different herbs, depending on what I have in my garden or what I can find in the grocery store. Substituting dill for the tarragon is my favorite thing to do, or using greek yogurt in place of the sour cream.
2 tbsp. parsley
2 tbsp. dill
2 tbsp. scallions
2 tbsp. chives
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice veggies for dipping
Combine herbs in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms. Add mayonnaise, sour cream and vinegar to the herb mixture and blend until smooth ; season with salt and pepper.
Thank you Stacy for sharing a little bit of the amazing that makes you "you."
I crossed paths with Stacy about 6 years ago in this crazy little barbecue universe, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy our visits on our "ladies who lunch" dates. It’s nice to get to know people for who they are & not for what they do during their "9 to 5.". She’s one awesome lady, and I hope you feel a little more connected after reading this Tale of a Barbecue Wife.
Till Next Time!