An interview with Scott Kelly,
owner of Kelly's Deli & Chowder House
SW 5th and Pacific Avenue
(south end of Marsh's Free Museum)
Long Beach, Wash. (360) 642-0555
Long Beach, Wash. - Kelly's Deli & Chowder House has been open for 21/2 years. This is the first deli Scott Kelly has owned although he's been in the food service industry for some time. He spent eight years in the Cayman Islands providing food to a private American school. When he returned to his home-town of Portland, he saw an advertisement in The Oregonian, came to the Long Beach Peninsula and "it felt right." He thought it would be a nice place for him and his wife to raise their three young children.
What product do you offer your customers?
"I have sandwiches, burgers, wraps, gyros, soups and salads. I always have specials too. Today's special soup is cheddar ale. There are about 100 different wraps that I rotate on the menu board and customers can choose to have whatever they like on a burger, I have about 21 options. I also have a kids' menu and vegetarian selections; it's easy for a deli to do vegetarian stuff. There's also indoor and outdoor seating.
I think people get bored eating the same thing, they like variety. For a little place, we have a big menu."
What are your customers' favorite menu items?
"In summer, the tourists always want my chowder. The locals like the gyros, wraps or burgers. We have incredible burgers. In the winter, the locals like the soup specials; they don't go too much for the chowder because they can either make it themselves or are tired of it."
What measures do you take to ensure success?
"Before I bought the place and moved here, I went around to local business owners and asked, "Do you think I can make it?" They told me that if I kept steady hours, the locals would support me through the winter, so I make sure I'm open when I say I'll be open.
I also offer free local delivery, from Cranberry Road to Ilwaco, and some catering in the form of doing trays of wraps, sandwiches, etc. for area school and business meetings."
What sort of volume do you do?
"In the summer, I'm busy with lots of tourists coming in. In the winter, I have a great local lunch trade."
How many employees do you have?
"I have one employee but this is a real family affair. My parents both help out and my wife comes in now and then, when she's not at Ilwaco High School where she teaches special education and chemistry."
What's the worst thing about your job?
"The long hours. I'm open seven days a week: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day in the summer; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day in the winter, except winter Sundays when I open from noon to 4 p.m. I take two weeks off at Christmas, but the rest of the year, I'm here. Sometimes in the winter when it's slower, the days can be long."
What's the best part of the job for you?
"Seeing the locals come in regularly - my customers become friends. I like being able to step back and see the place full of locals who are gabbing - that to me is success."
- Lyn Baker