Gretchen Talbert loves making bread, and focaccia bread is her specialty. She enjoys experimenting with flavors and toppings, from sweet caramelized onions and spicy garlic to savory cheeses. But Gretchen’s kitchen isn’t just her creative space. It’s also the home of her small business: 3 Girls Catering.
Her sister and co-owner, Lisa, is the second girl. The third girl left a while ago. But that’s old news for Lisa and Gretchen, who’ve been running the business for over 13 years.
Like all business owners, Gretchen and Lisa have had their struggles. They moved to town with no clients, unsure how they were going to break into the market. But the universe was on their side.
“When I came in to do our final walkthrough,” Gretchen says, referring to her catering kitchen, “the owner was sitting at her desk, crying. She had this big stack of manila folders.”
The owner, as it turned out, was also a caterer, and she was in the process of filing for bankruptcy. When Gretchen asked her about the folders, the women said they were catering jobs that she’d already booked. Unfortunately, she couldn’t refund her clients’ money or do the jobs. And she didn’t know how to tell her clients.
“So I said, ‘Can I have those?’ She gave them to me, and I just called each person in that stack and let them know their caterer was gone, but we were ready,” says Gretchen. “We took over all those events—some of which we did for free because they had already paid. And just like that, we were in every venue within that first summer. We’ve been busy ever since.”