Today we’d like to introduce you to Deena Patel.
Hi Deena, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
Hello Voyage Fam!
My name is Deena Patel. Just like a majority of 2nd generation Patel families, I grew up around my entrepreneurial parents, who focused on building their own business, in order to survive in a country they knew nothing about. My story lacks depth without sharing the sacrifices my parents made in order to give me the opportunity to sit here today with a number of small businesses of my own.
Because of my parents, I developed my strong business sense through osmosis, if you will. My dad always told me it comes down to a few things: numbers, staff and being good regardless of what happens. Check out my LinkedIn; you’ll find the licensing certification RHIA, CRCR to supplement my degree in Health Information Management (HIM). This basically made me an expert in those exact things. However, after several grueling years constantly traveling, auditing and consulting for large firms, I needed to regroup and recharge. Returning back to my roots in St. Louis allowed me to take time to reflect and rebuild, I was able to follow my parents footsteps and create a few businesses of my own. I am the founder, along with my business partner Odrey Knox, of D & D Sealcoating, a parking lot maintenance company. I also co-run an alcohol delivery app called GotoLiquorStore, with Jayesh Amin.
GotoLiquorStore is the future at our fingertips. Alcohol and data/technology are two things that are here to stay. We are one of the great pioneers, bringing data and alcohol together, and laying a strong foundation for innovative technology in the alcohol industry. GotoLiquorStore is a catch all technological tool for Liquor Store Retailers. Retailers are provided with a free e-commerce site to promote their products directly from their POS. We provide retailers with technological tools for success in this quickly changing industry including: Owner App, Delivery, Pick-Up, Customer Management, Promotional Management, Inventory Management, Marketing tools – digital print outs with QR codes and marketing management tools for blast emails, notifications, and much more. Our tech team keeps up with rapid changes for SEO optimization, keeping our retailers at the top of the list when searched for. Today, the founders of gotoLiquorStore and I have taken the product to 13 different states and have no plans on stopping until we reach all 50.
As for my business, D&D Sealcoating, our first full year is coming to a close. We completed major parking lot maintenance projects including churches, restaurants, and hotels, all throughout greater St. Louis area. All a huge feat for a small start up like ours. In fact, we already rank in the top 20 companies in St. Louis. My business partner and I have been told many times that we are defying the odds and there is no stopping us now. It’s no surprise that St. Louis is rapidly growing and the demand for road and parking lot management and maintenance is seriously increasing. Just like my dad taught me, in order to form a solid business, it boils down to numbers and staff. At D & D Sealcoating, we believe in treating our crew fairly and working together like a family as we represent the minority of STL and of the asphalt industry. YUP! We are the only women and person of color (POC) ran asphalt company in the area. Our goal is to bring communities together and provide a service to ultimate satisfaction.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I don’t believe any road is smooth unless it is freshly laid out… Trust me I own a Sealcoating and Striping company I would know. 😉
With any business, I believe the biggest struggle is staying relevant. Meaning, staying up to speed with technology, making the changes before your competition. For gotoLiquorStore, my team and I have created a “toolbox” that has one of the best forms of technology the industry has ever seen. Of course, the toolbox speaks for itself and our success comes from providing the right tool for liquor store retailers, but the trick and challenge here is making sure the world knows about us, what we do, and how we differ from our competitors.
With D & D, the biggest struggle is taking the risk. Of course, right? Any entrepreneur would tell you that starting a business does not happen overnight. Risking finances, time, and other resources for a company you believe in sounds easy, but it’s not. I am beyond fortunate to have a business partner that knows the ins & outs of the industry. With his knowledge in the field and my knowledge with numbers and business, we make an unstoppable pair. He taught me everything he knows about the industry by taking me out in the field. We visited parking lot after parking lot. Knox taught me how to sealcoat, stripe and the fundamentals of crackseal & patchwork. We risked time and money towards a company that now stands successfully as the preferred 3rd party vendor for one of the biggest Parking Lot Maintenance companies in St. Louis.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
First of all, GoToLiquorStore app, duh!
Some of the most impactful books/Scripture in my life include: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, the Vachanamrut (https://www.baps.org/
NPR is definitely my go-to in the car while driving unless it’s early in the AMs in which case I enjoy listening to the prabhatiya (morning hymns).
GLS rate: Small % of Charge for an end-to-end toolbox
D&D rates: vary per Project
Red Bud Country Inn rates: Vary per reservation
Instagram: @gotoLiquorStore @UnitedWeStripe @RedBudCountryInn