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Open for Business: Great American Taco Co.

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Great American Taco Co.
Tyler Thompson of the Thompson Sales Co. auto family joined the restaurant business April 4 opening Great American Taco Co.’s first franchise store. So what’s different about selling cars and selling tacos? “Everything,” said Thompson, general sales manager of the Cadillac, GMC and Buick dealership. “The car business is more low impact, high stress. The restaurant industry is high impact, high stress.” Thompson paid $35,000 for the franchise rights and partnered with Great American Taco Co. founder Pat Duran to open the restaurant at 2150 W. Republic Road, Ste. 104. Thompson signed a five-year lease for 3,500 square feet for an undisclosed rate in Magers Crossing. He worked with Duran and H Design Group LLC to create a new design concept that will serve as a basis for future franchisees. Thompson said opening and redesign costs totaled $500,000. The restaurant employs 30-35 people and can seat 175.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Phone: (417) 720-1708
Web: GreatAmericanTaco.com

SocieTea LLC
Business partners Hung Nguyen and Quy Dang converted a former bakery and restaurant at 1653 E. Sunshine St. to open SocieTea LLC on March 25. The menu offers boba, aka bubble tea, ranging from $3-$4.50 with various toppings. Boba tea is a sweet milk drink mixed with tapioca pearls. Nguyen and Dang were born in Vietnam, and Nguyen said he was inspired by his homeland to devise the menu tea, coffee and limited desserts. Nguyen said the partners invested $50,000 in renovations, furniture and signage. “We did it all ourselves,” he said. “We saved a lot of money on labor.” They signed a six-year lease for $1,300 per month for the 1,600-square-foot vacant space, which has been occupied in recent years by Storehouse Bakery, Uncle Lloyd’s Cookie Co. and Uncle Eddie’s Pizza & Hots. This is Nguyen’s first venture into the restaurant business.
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Phone: (417) 720-4094

Si Italia Travel Co.
The owners of Nonna’s Italian Cafe and Cellar + Plate teamed up to start a travel company to provide guided tours through Italy. Shawn Kraft and Doug and Mary Guiccone conducted their first tour through Si Italia Travel Co. in September, and they created the corporation March 6, according to Missouri secretary of state filings. The group is planning its second trip touring Naples and the Amalfi Coast in August. “I’ve been extensively traveling to Italy for several years,” said Kraft, owner of Nonna’s. “I have so many customers that always want to go.” Most of the first travelers through Si Italia were first customers of the restaurants. Others have been from outside of Missouri, he said. The maximum number of travelers is 12, and Kraft said 10 people have signed up for the next trip. Costs average $2,500 per person, including travel within the country, excursions and most dining. It does not include airfare. Kraft operates the travel business out of his home and said there were no notable startup costs.
Hours: N/A
Phone: (417) 576-2762
Web: SiItalia.wine

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