Not many small businesses will still be open by the time we come out on the other side of this pandemic. But we are happy to report that our Southern Nevada community has really supported a European couple’s French bakery business and their expansion efforts.
There’s a special key to success if you open your second business in the southeast part of town during COVID and plan to expand with a third in the southwest.
In August 2017, Carmen Barbur and David Gazzano opened Le Cafe du Lac in the quaint area of Lake Las Vegas.
“We knew when we opened our first location that there would be several,” said Barbur.
The second location, Le Cafe du Val, opened in the heart of Green Valley Ranch a few months into the pandemic. It offers fabulous French cuisine, like black forest ham and gruyere cheese galettes, paninis and crepes.
“Very successful,” touted Gazzano.
But it wasn’t long until the pandemic forced them to close.
“We just didn’t know if that was going to be one month, three months, a year,” Gazzano shared. “We were just in the dark.”
They adapted quickly, allocating a bigger budget toward takeout.
“We never imagined the cost of operating would be so high,” said Barbur.
But that smart move saved their business, and the day we interviewed them, they shared with us their latest success.
“We literally are signing the lease today,” Barbur shared. “We’re very excited.”
A third location is planned for Southern Highlands this fall.
“Being open, opening a second one during COVID and planning to open a third one during COVID, speaks to what we are doing and want to do going forward,” she said.
Barbur and Gazzano attribute their success to something bigger than offering great food and a great atmosphere. It’s the personal connection with the people who support them.
“Remember people’s names and acknowledge that they’re returning,” said Barbur. “I think that’s what we do best.”
Of course, it helps to have great role models. Barbur’s mother owned restaurants in Romania, where she worked during the summers.
“My mother was my biggest inspiration,” Barbur shared. “She really taught me that no matter what you do in life you shouldn’t be mediocre.”
And at an early age, Gazzano was brought into the restaurant business, as his family owned cafes and restaurants in the south of France.
Nowadays, with two cafes here and expansion plans in the works, it’s all about divide and conquer.
“David is at the lake; I am here,” Barbur explained. “He is really focused on making sure kitchen is ready, and I am making sure deliveries are perfect. We work really well together.”
They’re an incredible team with big dreams and a plan to see them through.
“The sky is the limit,” they said. “We keep going. Hashtag can’t stop, won’t stop.”
All of the names of the cafes reflect their locations. Le Cafe du Lac, the lake, Le Cafe du Val, the valley, and the new location in Southern Highlands would be Le Cafe du Sud, south. It ideally would open in September or October.
With such success, don’t be surprised if they branch out, encompassing a fourth down the line, perhaps in Centennial Hills.