Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee to Clara Alexander and Tom Graffaree Jr. Like any young teenager, growing up in the urban community of your city you dream of one day moving out and making it better for you and your family. When you are young it’s hard to lock down one great goal you have in mind, so you juggle and tossed around several ideas of what you want to do or decide to become . It was something I realized as young man around 15 that one day I could be a successful businessman/ Entrepreneur. After leaving Memphis in 1982, I set out on that journey of joining the finest fighting force in the world, the United States Marines. I knew by joining the Marines it would challenge me to become the best at whatever I decided. After 20 years in the Marine Corps I decided to go after that dream, after all I had only myself to prove that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.
My Uncle Jim Neelys motivation helped me to believe that I could really and truly open my own restaurant. I’ve always been someone who set their sights on something and go after it. My standards have always been high and for that I believed in my ability to make it come to light. I set my sights on opening my first restaurant in Buckeye Arizona in 2006, mostly an agriculture community. I realized within the first two months of being there that perhaps the location could back fire meaning not enough foot traffic, demographic area, no jobs. My uncle felt the same way as a successful businessman. I overcame threat of adversity and triumph of a poor economy and remained focus and hopeful. I learned quickly that in business each day is a new day and you have to approach that way. I knew my loyal customer would be hurt and sad to hear about the idea of closing.
Finally, it happened; I decided to close the restaurant and try my faith elsewhere. I relocated and opened in a new area…Laveen, AZ which is located in South Phoenix… I felt this location gave me a winning chance because it had a shortage of restaurants. To my own lack of knowledge this would be a bad decision based on the surrounding area. I rented this space for 15 months and decided to close this location. I decided to go back west and open my third location close to home which is in Goodyear Arizona. Despite the economy, the industry still remained hopeful and I believed heavily that I could still achieve success in this business of BBQ. My passion has always flowed deep and I believed in God that if he gave us life and a purpose that your time will come. I will stay and continue the course and believe in this dream. Success starts with you. My establishments got off to a great start and have done very well and in my opinion, being from the south in a BBQ culture, BBQ will remain strong in Arizona.
As a retired Marine I was taught how to fight but when you’re in society it’s a different fight. You must do your homework and your Strengths, Weaknesses, Analysis, and Threats, (SWAT). The economy showed me it was time to take a different direction/approach in my business and I did. In March 2013 I closed my final restaurant and took a break from all the stress of business to re-group. After several months of being closed and feeling refreshed I made a call to Small Business Development, to help me get back on track with my business. With the help of my business counselor I was able to utilize her help to restructure a new business plan for a Mobile Food Truck business. I decided to attend Le Cordon Bleu culinary college to learn the technique of cooking and to broaden my skills.
Because of my previous business experience and having a Food Truck my goal is simple, to use the platform and outstanding reputation that Le Cordon Bleu offers you. It will give me a better marketing approach and strengthen my brand. Most success stories starts with success and end in success and that’s you, the individual. I would take this opportunity to say that I was very successful in my business but had some short falls. I am smarter, tougher, stronger, and mentally ready to take on the new challenge business has to offer. Great people are great customers and they are the ones that make you who you are. My goal has always been to do everything in my heart to satisfy my customers through passion, hard work and determination. Memphis Best BBQ is ready for your business in 2016.
Darryl Alexander, Owner