Rachel Jurgens, founder of Red’s Corner in Southern Pines, is handing over the reins of her food truck hub to commercial business broker Scott Bertrand in a move she hopes will lead to more downtime for her — and an eventual expansion of the Red’s Corner brand.
“I have parents who I want to spend more time with, and I moved to Southern Pines to ride horses and compete and I definitely want to get back to that life again,” Rachel says. “I’m staying part of the team of a larger Red’s umbrella, where we can possibly franchise or open more locations.”
Scott Bertrand, an agent with Transworld Business Advisors, takes over the business on Saturday. The change in ownership was first announced in a statement sent to The Sway on Friday afternoon.
Scott said the purchase evolved from conversations he and Rachel first started having three months ago. Rachel wasn’t looking for a buyer, but Scott made her a deal that gives her flexibility to spend time away from the business while remaining as a “sounding board” for the future of Red’s Corner, and any future locations that it inspires.
The deal also includes Pony Espresso, which Rachel founded in 2008. It will be the fourth business she’s bought and sold. An ad agency she founded in Oregon and Twinkle, a business that sells glitter products for horses in need of bedazzling, are still operating today. She says she thinks the Red’s Corner model could be successful in many other areas.
“Obviously I love building businesses. I love, love love having ideas and getting them off the ground,” she says. “Probably seven different people have come to me and said ‘I want to buy Red’s’ but they weren’t the right fit. I wanted someone who had a like-minded personality, someone who was community driven. Scott really wants to keep that community feel, and that’s really important to me.”
While Scott is usually in the business of helping entrepreneurs sell the businesses they create, it did not take him long to realize that Red’s Corner was the kind of business he wanted to own himself. He will be moving his office into the unfinished studio space in the building’s second floor and overseeing daily operations.
“I had a lot of competition here in terms of what kind of attention Rachel was getting and I’m honored to have met her criteria,” Scott says. “Now I have to rise to the challenge to provide a similar quality that everybody is happy with.”
Scott has brought on board Mike Ratkowski, an Army veteran and the owner of Atlas Inspections and co-founder of Railhouse Brewery in Aberdeen, as an investor and consultant for special projects or new locations. Mike said he and Scott hit it off after meeting at the Moore County Business Networking Institute a while back, and Scott asked him “to come along for the ride.”
“I have a good background in events and the beer industry from running the brewery, and in the construction trades from my home inspection company,” Mike says. “I’ll be able to help with growth, expansion and improvements of what’s already been built.”
Rachel, Scott and Mike will “form a little roundtable to get together and discuss things, like if we’re going to franchise or look at other locations,” Mike says. Scott says he plans to keep all the staff on board, honor all contracts, and facilitate a transition with “as minimal of an interruption as possible.”
Building a Business and a Community
Rachel moved to the Sandhills in the early 2000s to pursue her equestrian dreams and invested in Pony Espresso eight years later. In 2020, Rachel dreamed up the concept of the food truck campus on then-vacant green space behind Pony Espresso. She called it Red’s Corner, an homage to the former fuel station business that Red Council operated for 50 years on the same site. After months of planning and construction, Red’s Corner opened in 2022 and quickly became one of the busiest hangouts in Southern Pines.
“It was what my goal was, and I’m so happy the location could accomplish that,” Rachel says. “The person I was looking for was one who would appreciate what we were able to build for the community.”
As demand has grown, Rachel has added more and more features to the space, from fire pits to string lights, shade sails, permanent picnic shelters, a small stage for performances and a playground. The building behind the green space that once housed a restaurant now serves as a commissary kitchen for food truck owners who need a commercial space to prep and store food. During last year’s mass power outage, Red’s Corner became a second home for many seeking warmth, food and community.
“It’s such a tight knit community she’s built there, from the food truck owners to the staff, and that’s one of the appealing things in buying a business, when it feels like a family,” Mike says. “When Rachel made the announcement there were tears of sadness and of joy, of happiness for her, and that was a cool thing to see and be a part of. Months from now when Rachel is visiting as a customer, having a beer with her family, I hope people can come up to her and congratulate her and say, ‘You’ve earned this.'”