Print
Entrepreneurs

Restaurant Owners Cook Up Big Plans

By Jessica Maurer, posted May 7, 2021
MEMA’S CHICK’N’ & RIBS | MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESS MYRA MCDUFFIE, CO-OWNER| YEAR FOUNDED: 2017 | EMPLOYEES: 5. (Photo by Erin Costa)
It’s been said that the road to success is always under construction, and the saying rings true for the McDuffie family.
 
James and Myra McDuffie opened MeMa’s Chick’n’ & Ribs in Burgaw in 2017, serving up classic Southern cuisine and smoked meats prepared from family recipes passed down from James’ mother, Mary, also known as MeMa.
 
The restaurant and catering service quickly gained a loyal following locally, and thanks to billboards on Interstate-40, has become a stopping point for many travelers from out of town. There is a world map on the wall at MeMa’s where people from every state and continent have pinned where they are from.
 
Myra and James often share with visitors historic maps of Burgaw and Moores Creek National Battlefield to encourage them to stay a while.
 
Just two years after opening, the McDuffies purchased land along N.C. 53 in Pender County, with the intent of creating a multi-million-dollar shopping center that would house MeMa’s new location as well as additional retail outlets. Plans for the new location include three event spaces, an outdoor dining area, a commissary kitchen and manufacturing facility for the company’s signature barbecue sauce and a retail store featuring MeMa’s and other locally made products.
 
But following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank that had approved the McDuffies’ loan withdrew $800,000 in funding, dealing a devastating blow to the couple on top of the revenue losses they had already experienced as a result of the pandemic.
 
The McDuffies launched a Go- FundMe campaign last summer to raise money for their efforts, and despite bringing in nearly $200,000 by November, they were still far short of where they needed to be to move forward.
 
Thanks to a referral from the Small Business and Technology Development Center at UNCW, the McDuffies reached out to Genesis Block, a Wilmington-based nonprofit that provides business development services for minority-owned businesses (see page 11). Now through a partnership with Genesis Block, Folla Capital and Hipp Architecture & Development, they are back on track to meet their goals through a new crowdfunding campaign.
 
While the details of the investment plan are still being finalized, Myra McDuffie said she expects those details to be released to the public within the next 30 days. Anyone interested in supporting the project will be able to contribute with a set return on their investment.
 
“Essentially the community will be buying shares of the business,” Myra McDuffie said. “We want the community to help us build this for the community so that we can all stand back and see what we’ve brought to Burgaw.”
 
Once the funding campaign goes live, there will be a 45-day window for investments.
 
“Our current lease has been extended through May 2022, so we need to be in our new building by then,” Myra McDuffie said. “The new building is going to take nine months to build so time really is of the essence.”

Click here to meet all of this year's winners

Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Chris coudriet

COVID-19 Relief Dollars Directly Benefit Residents

Chris Coudriet - New Hanover County Government
Drewsmith copiersplus headshot

Desktop Printers In Offices, Yes Or No?

Drew Smith - Copiers Plus
Brookeskipper saltair headshot2

Steps For Improving Indoor Air Quality

Brooke Skipper - Salt Air

Trending News

Developers Pour Investment Into Soda Pop District, Plan Transformation

Cece Nunn - Oct 26, 2021

Downtown Staple To Close For A Month For Renovations

Cece Nunn - Oct 27, 2021

Truist Announces Local BB&T, SunTrust Branch Closings

Jenny Callison - Oct 26, 2021

Site Plans Submitted For Office Buildings At Autumn Hall

Cece Nunn - Oct 25, 2021

Wilmington Industrial Buildings Sell For $9M To New York-based Firm

Staff Reports - Oct 26, 2021

In The Current Issue

Info Junkie: Jhaniqua Farrar Palmer

Jhaniqua Farrar Palmer, outreach programs director for the YWCA Lower Cape Fear, shares her tech, info and entertainment picks...


Health Care Heroes: Physician

This category honors a physician whose performance is considered exemplary by patients, peers and other health care providers....


UNCW Chancellor Reflects On Progress

With less than nine months until his announced retirement date of June 30, UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli continues to work on an ambitious...

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100