One thing which typically characterizes entrepreneurs of all ages and persuasions is a passion for what they do. This is certainly true for Robin DeVos, owner of Cookin’ up a Storm located in Canton Mart Square in north Jackson.
In a recent meeting, Robin talked about how she came to start the business.
“Early in my career, I worked for various companies, and also owned a janitorial business for five years,” she said. “But all of my life, I guess you’d say my hobby and main interest was in cooking. I finally realized that was my gift, and that’s when I decided to start my business.”
Cookin’ up a Storm offers prepared food which customers purchase and take home for dinner or other meals. Among her most popular offerings are a dish she calls “chicken spaghetti,” almond chicken and rice, and always popular with her customers, her chicken pot pies.
“I realized that I didn’t want to wake up old one day and realize that I hadn’t done the things I love most, namely preparing great food. I’ve never looked back.”
She started the business in 2010 and is quick to admit that there were challenges in the early days, as far as getting the business open and running.
“I’d say you have to learn as you go,” she said. “People who go into business for themselves have to learn to adapt to whatever comes their way.”
Robin characterizes herself as a person “who likes to make decisions. I guess I’m a little bit of a control freak.”
She said she comes from a “family of entrepreneurs,” some of whom were wildly successful in their business endeavors.
“So maybe I had those examples to look to,” she said. “I realized early on that working in the corporate world was not for me … I was like a square peg in a round hole. And I decided I didn’t want to spend one more minute doing something I didn’t love.”
She says her location is perfect, and she serves customers from Jackson, Madison, and Rankin Counties.
“My customers are the best,” she said. “Without good customers, you just don’t have a business, and people have been great for me. We’re growing nicely.”
Asked her plans for the future, she indicated that she’s considering other locations, both in Mississippi and beyond.
“This is in my blood,” she said. “Why wouldn’t I look to grow my business and make it all that it can be? If you’re in business, you naturally want to be successful.”
In addition to her menu of prepared foods, she also offers made to order sandwiches. She also offers a range of highly tempting desserts, such as vodka chocolate cake, sour cream coffee cake, peanut butter pie, and the great old Southern standard, banana pudding.
“I try to keep a stable menu, so my customers know they can count on certain dishes always being available,” she said. “However, I do admit that I like to play around with new dishes, and if an item really goes over, we’ll add it to our menu. You have to be creative and flexible.”
Robin is encouraged to see the growth in north Jackson, including the new Whole Foods market and the development of Eastover.
“I love our location,” she said. “This is a great small shopping center with a great group of business owners.”
As Robin sees it, “you have to love what you do if you’re going to do it all day every day.”
That’s probably perfect advice for anyone who’s been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
Cookin up a Storm is located at 1491 Canton Mart Road, and their website is cookinupastorm.kitchen.