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Life & Work with Richard Nix Jr.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Nix Jr.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am a St. Louis native, a graduate of DeSmet High School attended The University of Missouri-Columbia, and am a resident of St. Louis County.

I was not only raised in St. Louis but raised in catering. My dad, Richard Nix, Sr. and mom, Anita, started the company in 1966, running the operation out of the present House of India, located at I-170 and Delmar.

I joined the family business in 1988 and officially took over from my father in 1992. I have been growing the business ever since.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Quite frankly, the biggest obstacle has been surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic. I had to make some of the hardest decisions in order to stay afloat and come back thriving. I truly care about my employees, and making cuts last year was very disheartening for me and my leadership team.

Aside from the pandemic, I would say company growth always brings challenges in maintaining a positive company culture. It’s important to have a clear line of communication to reinforce the company goals and keep the team feeling connected and valued. Thankfully, I have a great group of leaders alongside me who have embraced the mission and helped me sustain the business to what we’re known for today — innovation and quality in catering, dining and entertaining.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Creativity is the favorite part of my job — it’s what has made this company stand out from the very beginning when my father started delivering boxed lunches to beauty salons. That was before its time, a service that made the pampered experience of self-care at a salon even better.

That’s the same mindset we aim for now. What is something unique and specific we can do for our client to make the ordinary extraordinary? Keep changing and keep pushing the envelope!

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
The event industry is quickly coming back as the community lifts restrictions and businesses open back up. Over the past year, events and gatherings had to constantly adapt with the times — there were a lot of firsts. For example, one of our first virtual events during the pandemic had been planned as an in-person event for almost a year, and the clients had about 40 days to make the change to virtual. We were able to deliver close to 300 meals to 110 different locations for our clients. As we start to move past all the added safety precautions developed, I think many events, whether nonprofit or corporate, will still have some sort of a virtual component moving forward. Those virtual offerings, will of course, continue to be altered to create unique and safe celebrations without sacrificing the fun event experience.

Ultimately, as we move past the pandemic, I think we’ll still see an increase in service and increased attention to detail, and those details are keeping the food safe, keeping the guests safe and keeping the team members safe, too. That’s a really good thing that has come out of this.

Something else that has come out of this is people utilizing spaces differently. With safety restrictions, people had to get creative with how they celebrate, I think we’ll see events in places you never thought about before to ensure guests feel comfortable, but also because with all the reinventing, the industry has increased the possibilities for ways to entertain. It’s been fun to talk about things differently than we had and envision all the new creative ways to bring groups together. We’ve been a part of completely transforming unconventional areas for a celebration, like a parking lot, a posh picnic, or even a construction site.

The last change I see on the horizon has to do with new generations coming into the picture. This has brought a new focus on work/life balance and a diverse culture — ensuring that there’s unity, equal opportunity and job satisfaction for all. The days of working just to make money are gone. People want to love what they do; they want to learn and grow and turn their passion into their purpose. With this, I think it will only push the envelope of the event industry even higher. The quality of what we can provide through the art of creating whether it’s culinary, planning, designing, or logistically executing events, will only continue to increase because the people creating it will be the craftsmen of their profession. The combination of current technology mixed with the skill and talents of our team will continue to evolve and improve over time and events will be bigger and better than ever.

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Image Credits

Richard Nix Jr. and Richard Nix Sr.

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