Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meet Samoa Soiree Participant: Home Republic Brewpub

With a winning smile and a solid handshake, Barbara McElroy, co-owner of Home Republic Brewpub in Virginia Beach, regularly stations herself  near the front door to greet guests. It’s not hard to figure out why this young entrepreneur is a success, but helping run an up-and- coming restaurant and brewery isn't the only job she shoulders. By day, Barbara holds a pharmaceutical sales position and squeezes in graduate courses at The College of William and Mary where she intends to earn a MBA next year.

Barbara McElroy
Like most entrepreneurs, she seems to have “power ups” racked up for future use and endless energy. That impression has a solid foundation. She says it takes a lot of organizational skills, determination and planning to make it all work–  skills she says were learned in Girl Scouts.

“Selling Girl Scout cookies definitely taught me skills I’m using today,” she said emphatically. “ I used cold call sales techniques even back then. I'd research my neighborhood and surrounding area, get phone numbers and then start calling going from top to bottom on the list. I had a sales pitch to use on the phone, and I had one that I used when I went door to door or at cookie booths. It was a great way to learn how to speak to customers and it gave me confidence in public speaking that I used in school. Now, I’m using those same skills in my job!”

Barbara grew up in the Richmond area and was a Girl Scout until she graduated from high school. Selling Girl Scout Cookies is a big part of her memories, but having fun with her troop and the good feelings that community service brought to her are also part of her internal scrapbook. Her community service included time spent with disabled children in an equestrian program where children had an enjoyable experience while developing muscle tone, balance and coordination. Her work in community service helped her earn the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouts, the Silver Award.

Barbara also recalls the great times she had as a teen in Girl Scouts where she was challenged by white water rafting and other high adventures. Skill building, good times and the relationships she built, are all part of the memories she took away from those years as a Girl Scout.   

“My mom was my leader for most of my years in Girl Scouts,” Barbara recalls. “My sister is just one year younger than me and was a Girl Scout, too. It was nice to have something we all shared. I think we’re closer because of Girl Scouts. “   

Chef Jeremy Wallace
Barbara and her fiance, Joe Curtis, who earned the rank of Eagle as a Boy Scout, opened Home Republic Brewpub last June. Their smoky burger and King Kolsch beer that is brewed on the premises are winning selections and have had great reviews, but many say the She Crab soup is the best on the menu. They’re excited to be part of Samoa Soiree, and their lead chef, Jeremy Wallace, has been experimenting with Girl Scout Cookies to come up with a winning recipe. Jeremy will be in competition with 18 other top chefs from Hampton Roads at this year’s event taking place on Saturday, March 7 at the Half Moone in Norfolk. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here.

You can watch Barbara and Jeremy on The Hampton Roads Show on February 25 at 11 a.m. on WAVY-TV 10. Jeremy will be cooking up a savory dish using Samoas.