From Food Cart to Storefront!

A Cajun Life started in the summer of 2012 as a part-time food cart located in the little town of Damascus, Oregon. Sitting in an area not known for having food carts, we were a lonely cart on an large lot located on a main thoroughfare. Only open 3-7 on Fridays and 11-7 on Saturdays, A Cajun Life quickly grew a loyal base of customers that drove far and wide to get their Cajun Fix. Many drove hours to come see us.

Our Cart (Roux) sitting next to an old restaurant in Damascus

Because of our proximity to the abandoned restaurant, we were continually asked if we were moving into it at some point. Many of our customers hoped and wished it to be so, but the building was just in too bad of shape to do anything with. As a result of all the numerous requests, we began to passively look for potential brick and mortar locations. 

In summer 2013, less than a year after opening, we successfully launched our first Cajun Seasoning. This took our focus away from scouting potential locations. In addition, that fall, we found out that we were pregnant with our first child further derailing our search process. 

Our All Purpose Cajun Seasoning sitting in freshly boiled crawfish

Fast forward to fall 2014. We decided that we wanted to open a second cart while we awaited the right brick and mortar location to open up. We found a cart, scheduled time to look at it, and 2 days prior, found out the property Roux was on had been sold and we had 30 days to move her. We quickly cancelled our tour of the potential second cart and began searching for a new location for Roux instead. We had already identified our preferred locations for the second cart so we began to initiate contact to see if space would be available in any of them. To our surprise, our top choice had just opened up some additional space! Within 5 days of discovering we needed a new spot, we had secured one in our preferred area! Just 2 weeks later, we moved the cart and hired someone to run it on a full time basis thus freeing our time to continue our search.

Roux in her new home greeting new customers.

Just a few weeks after moving to our new location in Portland, we were searching for Brick and Mortar properties when we received a message from a fellow restaurateur asking if we were possibly interested in a location in Downtown Gresham, an area we were very interested in if we could get on main st. Turns out, the location was almost exactly the size we wanted AND was ON MAIN ST! This seemed too good to be true. 3 hours after that message, we took a tour of the space with our friend and the spaces landlord. We were informed that they already had 2 applicants 80% through the process but that they would consider us as well. We applied and about 2 weeks later after additional visits and discussions, found out that WE HAD WON THE SPACE!

Our new space announcing we are coming!
This is where you come in! 

The space has many items we'll need already on site. Some we can use, some we cannot. We are estimating that in order to make the space our own and get the items we need to successfully run in this space, we'll need about $15k. With the biggest expense being a new exterior sign which will run us from $6-$8k alone!!!!! (Who knew signs were so pricey!) We are only asking for $5000 to help with the sign itself. Any additional funds will purchase the items we need to make the eating space more functional as well as the kitchen more efficient for our needs as well as purchase the missing equipment we need to actually make our delicious dishes! We also plan to add a few items to our menu that we just can't do well at the cart. This will require additional equipment than what we currently have. When all is said and done, this location serve as a model store for expansion as well as for those interested in franchising our concept. Together we can make it happen! Choose your reward level and become a part of our growth! Thanks in advance for getting us this far and for helping us take the next step in our journey!

Chris and HIll in front of Roux

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Chris Fontenot 
Damascus, OR
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