Rod’s Rockin’ Rolls, LLC

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In the heart of Ducktown, Tennessee, Rod Barredo, an immigrant from the Philippines, has established a culinary haven at his restaurant Rod’s Rockin’ Rolls, LLC. After starting his journey under the mentorship of a restaurant owner in his home country, Rod’s experiences expanded through fine dining on cruise ships and managing restaurants with Harrah’s Casino in North Carolina. Armed with a wealth of knowledge, he ventured to open his own restaurant in 2016, offering mainly spring rolls and Asian cuisine in Copperhill, Tennessee, near the Georgia/Tennessee line.

Rod’s commitment to delivering exceptional food, attentive customer service, and relentless hard work propelled his modest eatery to success. In 2018, the City of Ducktown recognized Rod’s potential as a catalyst for business growth and invited him to relocate his restaurant to a historic building on Main Street, three miles away. This move, made possible through a state grant, allowed Rod to expand both his customer base and his menu.

The restaurant faced the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, but Rod’s quick thinking and adaptability allowed him to pivot successfully. Operating a drive-through and offering take-out options, Rod retained the loyalty of his customers, proving that a great restaurant was an essential anchor for the Ducktown community. The success of Rod’s Rockin’ Rolls sparked additional business openings in the Main Street area, affirming the city officials’ vision.

In 2021, Rod reached out to the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Cleveland State Community College (TSBDC at Cleveland State) for assistance in a grant application for TVFCU’s Idea Leap grant contest. As a finalist, Rod secured the third-place prize of $10,000, using it to upgrade his building and boost his business. The increased awareness generated during the contest contributed to an additional $60,000 in revenue.

The TSBDC at Cleveland State played a pivotal role in Rod’s success. Center staff collaborated with Rod to craft a compelling grant application, emphasizing his life and business experience. Throughout the contest, the TSBDC provided ongoing support, assisting with the video portion and the actual pitch contest. Post-award, the center continued to meet with Rod, reviewing results and offering suggestions for further marketing efforts.

The impact was tangible and transformative. The grant allowed Rod to update interior furnishings, replace outdated kitchen equipment, and add an exterior staircase to the newly refurbished upstairs venue. The increased sales of $60,000 attested to the heightened awareness and visibility Rod’s Rockin’ Rolls gained during the grant process.

Looking ahead, the TSBDC at Cleveland State plans to continue supporting Rod’s business through marketing and social media assistance. The center’s director, also the incoming President of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, will further contribute to Rod’s success through networking opportunities. With a focus on marketing Rod’s new offering of crab legs and promoting the expanded second-floor venue, the center aims to enhance Rod’s Rockin’ Rolls’ unique position in the area.

Rod, optimistic about the future, looks forward to the new opportunities and revenue the additional space will provide for his business. Grateful for the support received, he acknowledges, “Jennie, I wanted to thank you so much. You have done a lot for me. From networking and marketing…I cannot thank you enough.” The partnership between Rod and the TSBDC at Cleveland State exemplifies the transformative impact of strategic collaboration on a small business’s growth and success.




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