“There are so many times you get into bad times and start adjusting things and kind of get away from your core and what you are known for. And then you look around and say, that is not where I started and not what I built my business on,” said King.
“And the other thing that he told me, that I like to tell all the time, is that, “I would never own Ford Motor Company.” That was my cue to leave Ford and come back and run the family business, said King.
In the years that followed, King joined forces with his father and cousin, Novelle, to grow Frenchy’s Sausage Company.
“My cousin Novelle came into the company about the same time and she and I joined forces here. Just like I did, she made and delivered sausage. At first, we did not really understand what we were doing. It was somebody telling you what they thought or did, but was not necessarily the right way,” said King.
“My daddy and I went and took a course on the art of sausage making and when I came back I really had a better idea of what I was doing.”
In the 90s the company’s efforts to franchise the brand met with a few bumps in the road, however, King’s faith in the strength of the Frenchy’s brand recently led him to start franchising again, this time with the goal of expanding to 30 locations.
“Everybody is going to have their challenges, but one of the things about me is that I never give up,” said King. “I have always been able to step back and think and know that there is a solution, the key is working on finding the solution,” said King.
In 2014, the family is closing in on a total of 16 new franchise locations with more planned in 2015.
“I think my strength is in operations, marketing and selling. I am a people person and love to sell. I know my brand and am confident in what I produce and I tell people all the time we have a proven product. I am not coming here wondering if it works, I know it works,” said King.
He is passing on his entrepreneurial spirit and business instincts to his son Percy (PC ) Creuzot, IV who works alongside him in the business.
“He is just like me and my dad, he has the ability to sell and understands the business,” said King. “He is locked in step with me in running and doing this business.”
The 30-year-old Creuzot remembers working in the family business for as far back as he can remember.
“I started in the family business as a kid during the summers and holidays. I tell people that [the restaurant] was our (Creuzot kids’) summer camp. You had a few choices: work at the plant, work with our grandmother on Scott, or work on caterings with my aunt,” said King’s son, P.C.
Through the years he has learned much about the family business, but calls the lessons he learned from his grandfather and father, the most valuable.
“The greatest lesson they taught me is simple, run an honest business. Your relationships with vendors and customers are critical and being honest in day to day business dealings goes a long way in building and keeping loyal vendors and customers,” said the Xavier graduate.
Although King’s daughter, Coline, is focused on her music career, she has been involved in marketing the family business and managing the restaurant’s social media presence.
“My grandfather was very big on family and business, for him they went hand in hand. There was no line that separated the two. He would be proud to see his grandkids working in the business and carrying on the legacy,” said grandson, P.C. Creuzot.
King credits his mother, Sallie, for playing a key role in the success of the family business from its early beginnings until today.
“Mother is still in the restaurant right now, she runs the original location, but understands the restaurant business on a much larger scale than just Scott St. She has been involved in multiple locations and understands the challenges. She came from a home economics background so she also understands the science of cooking,” said King.
King attributes his father’s success to his tenacity and business savvy, but also to the value he placed on the community that gave so much to he and his family.
“He believed in giving back to the community. That was one of the things that he passed down to me and is something that we have continued to do. He gave back to Hampton University, where he went
to school, TSU, the United Negro College Fund, the NAACP, Urban League and many other organizations and businesses through the years,” said his son.
As he looks to the future, King sees the number of Frenchy’s franchise locations expanding in the next several years.
“The goal is to continue to grow the business. By next year, we probably will have 40 to 50 restaurants. We want to make a natural progression into other markets and eventually want to go to Dallas, San Antonio and Austin,” said King.
King also is paying tribute to a concept his father implemented years ago but, at that time, did not catch on.
“He was kind of ahead of his time in making a Creole hamburger patty. His idea was that he was going to turn the hamburger world upside down with this new flavor that he was introducing to the hamburger, and it was a great idea.
In the last few months, Frenchy’s Sausage Company, has resurrected that idea and is reintroducing his father’s unique and flavorful Creole patty to restaurants.
“We are out now taking it to different restaurants to try to get them to use it and make a poboy out of it and are just now getting it into the hands of some restaurateurs to see their interest in it,” said King.
Whether it is the persistence his father instilled in him or his desire to carry on a family legacy that has been passed down to him, one thing is clear, the Frenchy’s brand is alive and well and taking orders.
“Before he died, he wrote a letter and told me how proud he was of me and the person that I turned out to be, and that was something that was very special to me that he took the time to write a letter. I still depend on my daddy even though he is not here. I still depend on him,” said King. [Continued]