BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A food truck located in the newly opened Food Lot in Downtown Batesville is a sign of success for a local program that aimed to support hopeful entrepreneurs.
Kristy Campbell was one of the four business pitches that were chosen in December 2016 to be part of the Starting Line project.
It is a pilot project of the Batesville Chamber of Commerce that was designed to help entrepreneurs kick-start their business.
"We're excited to bring this service to Independence County," Dr. Anne Austin, Board Chairman for The Starting Line, said back in October 2016 as the program was getting set to launch. "This is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to get assistance and visibility for their businesses in a risk-free and supportive environment."
Now, Campbell spends her days making sandwiches at her food truck, called T's Boxed Lunches.
She has built up a group of regulars over the past few months and says chicken salad sandwich is her best seller.
"People say, 'I don't know how you make it,' and I'm thinking well about every time I mix it up it's a little bit different, you know," Campbell said.
Just one and a half years ago, though, this was all still just a dream.
That's when she took the chance and pitched her idea to the Starting Line board and partners.
"First I started working out of my church so I could work out of an approved kitchen," Campbell said. "Then I thought I think I want the food trailer. So then I could work at home in an approved kitchen and then we started taking it out on the road a little bit."
Assistant Vice President of Centennial Bank Adam Curtwright chose Campbell as his mentee.
"I was drawn to her instantly, just the idea of the business I thought was a very unique business and with Kristy you could tell it was a passion," Curtwright said. "And to be able to watch somebody and be a very small part of seeing something taken from a dream or a desire to reality is one of the greatest things you can experience."
Curtwright said he was happy to be part of the program because it's not only good for the individuals but also for Batesville as a whole because of the economic development it brings.
This might have been possible without The Starting Line, but Campbell said it would have been a lot harder.
"I would have floundered around a lot more, I'm sure," she said.
Campbell said it's not always been easy, but she is thankful for what has been accomplished so far and for the help she was given along the way.
"There's lots of days when I'd be feeling kind of like this isn't going to go, it's not going to take off and I'd text Adam and say you got a minute," Campbell said. "And I'd go by and he'd kind of boost me up a little bit and give me some advice."
Both Campbell and Curtwright encourage others who have a dream to go for it and stay committed even when things seem rough.
"We were out here some days that it was sleeting and the only trailer here but I stuck with it," Campbell said.