When it comes to working women juggling their careers and family, Judy Christian, owner of Stumpy’s Restaurant and Bar of Rushford, Minn., has a few words of advice.
“You gotta make time for both,” states Christian, and showing her children what hard work is has also given them a chance to spend time together as a family.
Christian purchased Stumpy’s Restaurant and Bar from Henry “Stumpy” Becker in January 1998. She had worked there for many years and when she had the chance to buy the business she couldn’t turn it down.
“It’s a hard decision,” she says, whether to take the step into being a business owner, but, Christian thought “would I regret it if I didn’t take the opportunity?” and decided to purchase the business.
“Since I worked here 15 years before that, I thought I knew what it was about,” notes Christian, although she knew it would not be easy, she says, “I like a challenge,” and devoted herself to making the business succeed under her leadership.
“My kids have all worked through the line” at Stumpy’s, states Christian, which has been a positive experience for both her and her five kids. “So when they are working you’re spending time with them too,” aside from at home, and while her kids have been doing their tasks they have learned a lot at the same time.
“They are learning and you get to see them progress,” explains Christian, adding, “they have some skills when they go,” which will help them in many ways throughout their life in the workforce.
“I think my work ethic is because of my parents,” states Christian, as she explains, “they taught me to work and they made it fun” no matter what the chore was.
“I think it helped me instill good working skills in my children,” says Christian, “to show how hard you have to work” to be successful. “I lead by example so my kids know how to work,” she says, and she is proud of her children’s work ethic and appreciates their dedication.
Christian gives her all in everything that she does and is always willing to step up and help anyone that she can. She recently became the legal guardian of a wonderful young lady, Joy, after Joy’s mother passed away.
Christian was named KTTC’s AmaZING woman for the month of May 2017 after being nominated by a friend for everything she has done for Joy and many others. Christian humbly says she was just “jumping in and doing what needed to be done” at the time. It’s easy to see the relationship that Christian has built with Joy as she says, “She’s just a joy to be around,” and has become one of the family.
When asked where her drive comes from, Christian replies, “It’s how I grew up — you’re supposed to work hard — nothing comes to you,” and adds that “when you work hard you seem to receive something in the end” that makes it all worth it.
“I have a business, I don’t want it to fail; that drive keeps me going,” states Christian, adding, “I have a family to support” and she is willing to work extremely hard to keep the business successful.
According to Christian, the most challenging part of owning a business are day to day challenges such as making sure your help shows up or finding replacements if someone calls in sick. With five full-time employees and 12 part-time employees those incidences are bound to come up now and then.
“It’s a juggling act,” comments Christian, saying “you never know which day a piece of equipment is going to go down” but explains that eventually you learn to deal with all that stuff and handling surprises that come up now and then gets less stressful. “As you go on, things get a little simpler,” she says.
The best part of owning your own business is to see your achievements, states Christian, and to see how far you have come from the time you started until now and knowing you can survive in a small town is a great sense of pride.
“I do like being part of a small community,” says Christian as many of her customers become friends and “these customers would do anything for you,” she adds.
Christian’s advice for women who would like to be business owners is that it is a great opportunity but adds, “Make sure you know it’s going to be hard,” as she says, “your first year is going to be the most challenging,” but if you can get through that it will get easier.
Stumpy’s offers daily specials and also offers weekend specials such as a fish fry and steak specials on Fridays and Saturdays. A full menu is offered, including delicious pizza and don’t forget Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 4-6 pm.
Stumpy’s has a large gathering area downstairs, complete with a bar and restrooms, which would be perfect for your next big event.
Stumpy’s offers catering services and Christian says they “take a little extra time to make sure it’s done right” when catering, but says it is worth it when she hears compliments on the food.
Stumpy’s Restaurant and Bar is located at 122 West Jessie Street in Rushford. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. For more information phone (507) 864-7156. You can also find photos and additional information at stumpysrestaurantandbar.com or facebook.com/StumpysRestaurantandBar.