We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire Ernst and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claire, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have been a nurse for the last 10 years. This has given me a glimpse into some of my patients most personal end of life moments. Having had these experiences I am constantly reminded that life is short and it is what you make of it. This perspective has caused me to be willing to take a few more risks. Don’t get me wrong, I am always still nervous every time I jump into something new but I have not let that fear keep me from living. When I decided to open Claire’s Creperie I was working full time as a nurse and raising two teenagers. There seemed to be no margin for opening a business, especially since I had zero business experience and no experience in the food industry but I was willing to take a risk. I was willing to bet on myself and my people. For years I had built intentional relationships with others who were willing to take a few risks and cheering me on. Having support and encouragement in the risky moments helped make the jump a little easier. Taking risks has always led to beautiful lessons and new experiences in my life!
What should our readers know about your business?
Claire’s Creperie is a unique crepe shop specializing in sweet, savory, and breakfast crepes! I opened Claire’s Creperie 2 1/2 years ago having no business experience or business education and never having worked in the food industry. In fact my husband did not even know I had sent in a business proposal until I got a call saying my idea had been chosen to be a part of a food hall collaborative and the leasing agents wanted a pitch and plan the next day. He jumped into the crazy dream with both feet and stayed up late with me googling how to write a business plan. Through the journey I realized I had a lot to learn so I reached out to my local SBA for assistance in learning all things business. They provided me with amazing resources and some online training that helped set me up for success. I also took time to sit down with other local business owners and ask questions, I got busy learning before we launched! The biggest hurdle for me to overcome was realizing it was ok to not be perfect. I had to learn some lessons the hard way, I had to ask for help, get advice, pivot, say sorry and keep trying! Claire’s Creperie is an extension of my very own story. It is the culmination of not only my dreams and hard work but my memories. Crepes had special meaning in our home as I was growing up and it has been one of my biggest accomplishments to watch others fall in love with them. I get the biggest sense of pride watching a father and daughter come in for a little date, or a family come in for brunch, or a husband come to get his pregnant wife her favorite crepe. When I see these moments it reminds me that crepes are becoming a small part of other peoples sweet memories as well and I just can’t help but smile at that thought.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Mount Dora truly is someplace special!! I have friends visit all of the time and I always enjoy showing them all that central FL has to offer. Of course we would start at Claire’s Creperie for a delicious brunch paired with mimosas from Bubbles and Juice! From there we would stroll through the shops. Each and every shop is pure perfection. I love the sparkles in Jewelry by TFC, the home decor in Papillio, the delicious tea in the Tea and Spice Exchange, and all of the fragrant soaps in Naples Soap Company. Stitch and Gather is the perfect spot to get a unique embroidery gift! I could wander around for hours in Barrels of Books thumbing through all of the best authors. For lunch we would stop at the Salted Fry to enjoy the best fries and sauces you have ever tasted! Next stop would be to Serendipty for an iced chai and then down to the boardwalk to enjoy the lighthouse and lake! From there we would stop and explore all of the beautiful plants inside the White Orchid and take a walk around the Historic Lakeside Inn. Dinner would be spent at Goblin Market eating delicious chef inspired entrees. From there we would grab a delicious treat from KKO Chocolate and head down to the dock to catch a beautiful sunset over the lake. The best ending to the evening would be grabbing a drink and enjoying live music outside under the stars. Mount Dora is the perfect spot for a getaway!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Although Claire’s Creperie has my name it has taken a village to create this special little crepe shop. When I was first contemplating opening I gathered with a few friends and asked for their opinions. They encouraged me, prayed over me, and told me to BE BRAVE! They let me borrow their strength when I felt a little nervous. These beautiful souls did not just give me advice and then let me go they joined the crew and helped paint, work, serve, create, dream, and more!! One of my friends even made a cross country move from KC to FL to come manage Claire’s Creperie. Jojo has been in the trenches as our manager since day one and there is no one else like her! I am thankful for all of the love and support from my people!
Brenda Anderson Photography