Jennifer Ray spent more than a decade in the restaurant and bar business before opening the Monarch in Delano in late 2012.
“It really comes down to, I think, my sense of pride,” she said. “I want to be able to say this is mine. … Now I’m learning all these lessons.”
She was warned about owning her own business.
“Everyone talks about how … long the hours are and how hard you have to work, but the type of work and the type of stress is so unique, it’s really hard to describe,” Ray said.
“I had no idea it’s possible to be happy and yet completely stressed out 24 hours a day. It’s not bad … but there is a constant level of underlying stress.”
She said she’d “absolutely” do it again.
“I never in my life thought that I would be so lucky or so fortunate to be able to have created such a wonderful thing that became such a wonderful part of the community,” Ray said. “I never planned to have the Monarch be what it is.
“In my head, it was going to be this, like, quiet kind of off-the-beaten-path little sandwich shop where you could come in and grab a beer after work.”
Instead, it’s turned into a hot spot for lunches, after-work crowds and weekend gatherings.
“It worked out so well.”
Q: Best business advice you have received:
A: “Pay your taxes.”
Q: Best business advice you wish you’d taken:
A: “Probably not to be so hard on myself. I’m really hard on myself.”
Q: What sets your company apart?
A: “Community involvement. I think that’s really, really what’s done the most for my business.”
Q: Why do you prefer to run your own business as opposed to working for someone else?
A: “I can’t work this hard for someone else.”
Q: What’s your company’s next goal?
A: “That’s so funny. I specifically have no goals. None. I’m not opening up a second location. At all.”
Name of business: The Monarch
Year founded: 2012
Owner: Jennifer Ray
Address: 579 W. Douglas