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The Iron Horse Charitone
Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street is proud to feature one of our local contributing businesses in the monthly Small Business Spotlight!
This month, we got the inside scoop on Iron Horse Charitone from co-owners Robert & Courtney White, who opened their second restaurant location in Chariton almost 4 years ago!
What are your job titles and roles?
We are Robert & Courtney White, co-owners of Iron Horse Charitone and Iron Horse Neighborhood Grill.
How long have you been in business in Chariton?
We opened in November of 2019!
Describe your business
We describe our restaurants as "upscale-casual" while serving real food done with care. We take time to choose the best ingredients we can, prepared freshly with attention to quality.
Why do you do what you do?
We do this because for years small towns were known for having subpar restaurants with limited choices. We don't feel it has to be that way! We want to provide a better, fresher, higher-quality option for folks in rural areas. Nothing makes us happier than travelers commenting on how surprised they were to find a restaurant of our quality in either of our communities.
Was there a specific moment or realization where you made the decision to start your own business?
Not a real moment of realization, honestly! We had been living Osceola for several years and were not happy with the choices of restaurants available at the time. When our current space became available, we didn't jump at the opportunity. Instead, we did tons of market research in Osceola and surrounding communities to determine the need and the niche that needed to be filled. Based on that research, we came up with the concept we have today.
What inspires you to keep at it each day?
The desire to serve and the refusal to fail. As a married couple, we encourage and help each other during the hard times and work well together to make sure the job gets done.
Why did you choose Chariton for your business?
We expanded to Chariton because we felt the community deserved to have a restaurant to anchor their square and serve as an area staple - a spot for daily or weekly outings and special celebrations.
What are your biggest challenges as business owners?
The pandemic proved to be our toughest challenge to date as a business. Since we were only open for a few months before Covid hit, we were unsure how to handle such an event as a newly opened establishment in an unfamiliar community. Due to this, we made the difficult choice to close for a few months so we could devise a plan on how to move forward. Making tough choices is the downside of long-term successes, however!
What are your biggest rewards?
Obviously we love serving our communities and getting to know our customers! But retaining long-time employees is one of our biggest rewards. I think it says a lot about who we are and what we do as a company when many of our staff choose to stay with us long-term. Many of our staff in Chariton have been with us since we opened or not long after. In Osceola, we still have a few from opening 10 years ago! We always, always try to be fair, respectful and appreciative of the staff who help us do what we do everyday.
What will people get from your business that they won't get anywhere else?
Well, definitely a great meal, of course! But also friendly, personal, professional service. Our focus is on customer experience, and we hope to continue to provide a great one for years to come!
Visit and learn more about Iron Horse Charitone at:
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