Co-Owner, Eggspress + Dixie Bell’s Burger Bar
The Neighborhood: Northside
By Ja’Nai Tellis Frederick
Kia Player fondly recalls the grandfatherly role her great-uncle Richard Bell played in her life. Known as “Dixie” Bell, he and his wife babysat Kia and her sister, Kristin, often diligently waiting for them at the bus stop through high school. His influence on the sisters is what inspired them to name their restaurant establishment Dixie Bell’s Burger Bar.
This sister duo refuses to allow past setbacks to disrupt their food and beverage aspirations. When excessive renovation costs halted a Hull Street concept in 2008, Kia and Kristin bootstrapped their Northside space through mobile vending. The Player sisters made their industry debut using a family member’s idle food truck. Kia and Kristin are now serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at their eatery.
The Players’ business is truly a family affair. The sisters receive technical and managerial assistance from their mother, an experienced caterer and Richmond Public Schools cafeteria service worker. Kristin’s nine-year-old son, Ali, also contributes his ideas and is eager to assist customers at the cash register.
Kia’s Food Truck Pearls of Wisdom
Marketing is extremely important. You can have great food and ideas, but if people don’t know about you, it doesn’t matter.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and step outside of your comfort zone. There are so many individuals willing to provide their knowledge, ideas, and feedback.
Have a consistent product and operating hours. People want to follow you and may get upset if last week’s menu on Facebook is different from what is being offered today.
Editor’s note: Due to a series of unfortunate events, including plumbing issues, theft, and the landlord’s sale of the building, the Players closed their doors in March. With Kia’s permission, we have decided run this article in order to share the realities of entrepreneurship. Continue to follow the Players on Facebook for their next venture.