By Paul Lonardo
Missy’s employment background was always more in the traditional office setting, responsible for her employer’s billing and payables. That all changed March 1, when she became a small-business owner herself after opening Bree’s Deli on Pleasant View Avenue in Smithfield.
“I love to cook,” Missy says about where the impulse came to go into business for herself. “I love to feed people. And honestly, I got tired of going to places to eat for something healthy and find it frozen or really expensive.”
Tired of not be able to find a restaurant where the menu was both fresh and reasonably priced, Missy made a decision. She would open up a place where everything was fresh. She envisioned crisp lettuce and greens, garden-fresh produce, and delicious fresh-sliced deli meats for the perfect soup, salad, and well-made sandwich.
One of the most important considerations of any business is location, and that piece of the puzzle worked out very well for Missy while she began searching for a home for Bree’s Deli. She had been looking in the surrounding towns when she became aware of the cozy, 800 square-foot cafe available on Pleasant View Avenue, previously home to a coffee shop.
“It was the perfect spot,” Missy says. “Being away from all the traffic of Route 44, but on a heavily traveled street, not to mention having the schools nearby and the rink, it just looked like a really cute place to start a business.”
She didn’t have to do much, renovation-wise. A top to bottom cleaning, new tables and chairs, adding larger, more comfortable seating. Soon after bringing in the necessary deli equipment, she was ready to open the doors of Bree’s Deli to customers.
“In the short time Bree’s Deli has been open, word-of-mouth has been very good for us,” Missy says.
“Nothing is ever previously frozen in my restaurant,” Missy states proudly. “Everything is fresh. All the produce and meat is replaced on a daily basis. When I do my soup-salad-and sandwiches, my whole concept is about freshness. My sauce and my meatballs are mine. Nothing is frozen.”
In this day and age of convenience and processed fast food, it may seem like a bit old-fashioned, but Missy is anything but apologetic for that. She is proud of what she has established with Bree’s Deli and hopes everyone will come out to see for themselves and taste the difference freshness makes.
For Missy, the business side of the venture was not nearly as intimidating as she initially thought it would be, and she credits her husband, Scott, for that. From the beginning, he was very supportive of Missy’s desire to open and run the deli for herself. As the owner of Gino’s Auto Sales and Body Works, Scott was able to offer his insight and business advice along the way.
On the food service side of the venture, Missy had a number of friends and family well versed in the restaurant business to look to for advice. She also has a friend who is a food vendor that has been incredibly helpful to her on many levels. As for the day-to-day business operations, she gets all the help she needs from her family.
Probably the easiest thing for Missy was coming up with the name of her business. Bree is short for Brianna, her daughter, who will be 10 this summer. Bree helps out her mom when she can, so it is very much a family business.
“When I was a kid, my mom and my dad would take us out Sunday afternoons, and we would go to the old-school delis,” Missy says. “Some people don’t really understand what an oldschool deli was, but it was cold sandwiches, rolled up in white butcher paper. And that’s what I have now.” She adds with a satisfied smile.
While the meatballs are Missy’s signature food item, along with the Caesar salad, you can’t go wrong with the variety of grinders, wraps, soups, salads with a choice of toppings, and all the traditional deli sandwiches. They do a brisk takeout business around lunch and supper, so call ahead.
Missy, who believes in supporting local businesses, is planning a Grand Opening event that includes various local vendors, small-business owners, and of course, the local community they all serve. She plans an opening celebration that promises to be a lot of fun for all, with contests and other surprises.
Bree’s Deli is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Sundays. For more information, call (401) 349-4311 or visit them on Facebook @BreesDeliSmithfield.