Montgomery Business Journal

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Scott Street Deli

Made-to-Order Upgrade

Scott Street Deli Doubles Sales with Renovation

March 2016
By David Zaslawsky   
Photography by Robert Fouts

Before-and-after photos are common for weight-loss programs, but the before-and-after interior at Scott Street Deli in downtown Montgomery has doubled sales.

First, let owner Kathy Powell describe what she bought on July 3, 2014. She said the front windows were “so nasty you couldn’t see through them.” There was a large cooler – the length of a wall and about five-feet wide, and she was told that it had not worked for 50 years. The floor was black and in some areas rotten.

That’s not all. There was a toilet that served as a restroom, but no real restroom. There were no tables – no chairs. You picked up your sandwich and left. I almost forgot to mention there was no heat and no air conditioning.

For a couple of months, Powell was given a rare opportunity to work at Scott Street Deli and observe – a crash course in restaurant 101. She worked for free, but learned valuable lessons and necessary lessons for someone who had never operated a restaurant. She had painted and restored furniture for about 10 years, selling dressers, chests of drawers and buffets at the three booths she ran at Eastbrook Flea Market & Antique Mall. She left the furniture restoration business “because it was getting very hard on me physically. I was moving furniture myself and something was always hurting. It was time to make a change and I knew it.”

She was able to “envision what she wanted to do with” Scott Street Deli. “What I wanted it to look like.” She closed the deli for 10 days – it’s still opened from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday – and with a lot of help from her homebuilder husband Rusty Powell, the inside was renovated. They worked 16-hour days. It was more like a complete overhaul – a $25,000 makeover. That old cooler was removed, which freed up space. The counter was extended and another sandwich station was added.

The Powells tried to keep as much of the original flooring as possible. The floor was sanded and where it was rotten they installed black and white tile. The front windows were replaced and a restroom was added, along with air conditioning and heat.

Perhaps the most dramatic change was adding tables and chairs from Eastbrook Flea Market. With eight tables inside and four chairs to a table, there is now room for 32 people. There are another four or five tables outside. Having tables and chairs has made all the difference, according to Kathy Powell. She’s had tour buses lined up outside and a large group coming inside to sit down and eat. “I wanted people to be able to come in and sit down,” she said. “Business has more than doubled.”

Two large local groups which ate lunch at the deli were players and coaches from the Jeff Davis High School girls basketball Class 7A state championship team and players and coaches from the Carver High School boys basketball Class 6A championship team. They ate at the same time and it was on the house. Ham Jordan, an employee, made earrings for all the girls.

The menu has been only slightly modified. Kathy Powell added chicken slices, taco salad, wraps and homemade banana pudding. Sandwich prices did rise about 50 cents because the cost of meat increased, Powell said.

On a very busy day, the deli will serve about 120 sandwiches and 60 salads. Two of the most popular sandwiches are the club and the Italian while the chef salad takes top honors.

Now, Kathy Powell is working to rebuild the catering business, which had pretty much died. “That’s been my biggest obstacle to overcome,” she said. “I just want a little piece of it (catering business).”

First-time diners get a special treat at Scott Street Deli, and that’s a homemade cookie. Powell even had a recommendation for a first-timer. “The lemon is great.”


Years in Business
20 months


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