The Charlotte Business Resource team recently had the honor of interviewing Mrs. Rudean Harris (Owner) and Lamont Harris (Co-Owner) of Rudean’s. Learn what they had to say about owning a family business, Charlotte history, and community involvement!
Charlotte Business Resources (CBR): Thank you so much for this interview! To start, tell us a little bit about Rudean’s.
Mrs. Rudean Harris (RH): Rudean’s, named after myself, opened in 1957. Originally, we were an ice cream soda parlor, and then in later years offered Southern style comfort food.
CBR: What motivated your family to open Rudean’s?
RH: I had already worked in food service establishments since the age of twelve and realized very early that I was good at it. I was one of seven children growing up without a mother, and since I was the oldest girl, I took on the responsibility of providing and keeping us all together.
CBR: What were the initial goals?
RH: They were to work hard and provide for the family.
CBR: How have you seen things change over the years?
RH: The prices of supplies and the prices of the finished product have definitely changed dramatically from 58 years ago. CBR: As a family run business, have you experienced any unique challenges?
RH: Sure I have! Being a 16 year old, black, female, business owner was very unique.
CBR: What do you think is the best part about owning a family-run business?
RH: It gives me an opportunity to work closely with my family members.
CBR: This question is for Lamont—What was it like growing up with Rudean’s? Did you always know you’d go into the family business?
Lamont Harris (LH): There was always work to do. My mom set very high standards and expected us to do well. Even as a little boy, there was something for me to do, and I always knew at some point that I would go into the family business.
CBR: Rudean’s is considered to be a historic restaurant in Charlotte. Have you seen Charlotte change over the years?
RH: Most definitely! The growth has been phenomenal, and both the community and city have been very resilient.
CBR: What advice would you give other families interested in starting their own business?
RH: Be passionate, reliable and involved with your business; I mean truly hands-on involved. And always, always, be kind to your employees and your patrons.
CBR: What is the most influential advice you’ve ever received personally?
RH: Know your craft! Buy what you need, and need what you buy!
CBR: What are some of your goals for the future of Rudean’s?
RH: Some of our goals include rebranding ourselves, getting more involved in community affairs, and becoming visible on the social media platform.
CBR: Lamont, where do you see Rudean’s in 10 years?
LH: Being established as a nationwide chain.
CBR: We understand that you want to give back to the community. Tell us a little bit about that and the role you see Rudean’s playing in the future of the Beatties Ford Rd Corridor.
RH: We would like to give back by educating our patrons on the history and development of the Beatties Ford Corridor. Rudean’s has always been a place for people to have a great time, while enjoying great food and good entertainment in a warm friendly atmosphere, as well as to gather undocumented history.
CBR: What words of encouragement would you give to other businesses to help them get involved in their community?
RH: Educate yourself on the needs of the community, and be sure that you, the business owner, are physically involved and visible. Regain the family unit that once existed throughout the community, throughout the Beatties Ford Corridor.
CBR: What do you think is the most important thing people should know about Rudean’s?
RH: All are WELCOME, and we look forward to seeing you visit.
Thank you to Rudean and Lamont for allowing us to learn a little bit more about your restaurant. Be sure to Like Rudean’s on Facebook, and dine in with them at 2228 Beatties Ford Rd!