On Tuesday, Jan. 21, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce honored top business and community leaders at the 72nd Annual Gala.
Beau Hays, partner in BeauxJax Crafthouse, was named the 2019 Business Person of the Year for his work in igniting growth in the East Bank District.
Hays said he was humbled and honored, but says his business is successful because of a combined group effort.
“It definitely wasn’t an individual award. There are six business partners here and we all do it together. By no means is this a one-man show,” he was quick to point out.
Opened in 2018, BeauxJax Crafthouse was the culmination of a 14-year-long dream for Hays and his partner/chef “Peanut.”
Hays and Peanut love to tell their story of how far they’ve come — from being almost defunct, scrounging around for change in their couches and turning that into money for groceries that would fund one last stand with their food truck, to co-owning half a city block together.
“I got real close to giving up,” Hays told the Press-Tribune back in 2018. “The food truck was just something that was fun and this restaurant came about as our mission grew and was something Peanut and I always wanted.”
Their success lead them to partner with their neighbors who own Bayou Axe Throwing, Co. to open last year a daiquiri bar and seafood restaurant, The Frozen Pirogue, just down the block from their own locations.
One of Hays’ partners in the Frozen Pirogue, Doug Rodgers, said he doesn’t know of anyone who puts in not only the physical work but the mental effort that Hays does.
“It’s the things that you don’t see that make him the Businessperson of the Year. It’s the countless hours you don’t see,” he said.
Almost brought to tears by the award, Hays said he wasn’t alone. He said that while telling the crowd his story, he noticed several tears throughout the audience because they understood his struggle.
“It just tells you all those business people all experienced the same thing. They’ve all been there,” Hays laughed. “It’s the toughest part of business. I don’t know how you can be successful in business and not have faith because it’s the one thing that really gets you through.”
Hays said he is convinced that their success isn’t down to them, it has to be coming from a higher place.
“Yeah, we put the work in everyday, but there has been so many God moments in our business,” he said. “You have to take a leap of faith and jump out there to start a business, and we did that with absolutely nothing, no cushion, no safety net. Then God provides every single time.”
Hays said he hopes people take away a message of inspiration from his story. He notes the number of food trucks in Shreveport-Bossier and how they are chasing their dream, just like he did.
“It’s really encouraging to see other people jumping out there and putting it on the line. I hope that people would see Bossier and Shreveport as a place where the community will get behind you and support you,” he said. “You don’t get it everywhere like you do here. I hope people realize that we live in a town where somebody like us can put something together and turn it into whatever they want to.”