Small Business Success Story: A Toast to New Beginnings

After 20 years in the insurance industry, John Reuber made the decision to pursue his dream of becoming his own boss. In 2015, John opened breakfast and lunch restaurant TOAST, Four Corners, in Storrs-Mansfield, Connecticut. With the help of his friends and family, who also work alongside John at TOAST, he created a welcoming, family-friendly business that serves mouth-watering comfort food to the local community.  TOAST, Four Corners is “your cornerstone to great food”.

After attending Florida State University, John developed a taste for the comfort foods of the South and a passion for bringing his favorites to the customers he now serves. He also brings his second passion, college sports, to life through the restaurant décor. John is a proud Florida State fan while the rest of his family prefer the University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies. Despite John’s Florida State allegiance, TOAST boasts a “Husky Room” loaded with memorabilia, given its location in UConn territory. But, don’t be surprised if you see some Florida State décor show up every once in a while.

To launch an endeavor combining his love of college sports and great food, John worked with Guidant Financial to roll his 401(k) retirement funds into the business. This was possible through Guidant’s Rollover as Business Startups (ROBS) option. ROBS allowed John to pursue his passions and finance his dream business, all without incurring any penalties or fees for withdrawing early.

From there, the almost immediately profitable TOAST, Four Corners was born, just over a year ago. With a robust menu of biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, and cheesy grits, the staff even bake fresh breads and muffins on site. They also offer a full line of gluten-free alternatives. However, they still offer a wonderful selection of the classics including pancakes, waffles and omelets.  And new to the menu is a breakfast creation John calls “The Pile,” a unique take on the classic breakfast casserole. Take our word for it, it’s a dish worth driving to.

Check out TOAST, Four Corners out at http://www.toastfourcorners.com.

No time for a quick video? Here’s the transcript:

John Reuber: My name is John Reuber, I’m the president of TOAST, Four Corners. I was inspired to jump into entrepreneurship after being laid off from a career in the financial services industry. After almost 20 years there, I decided that my passion was not in corporate America anymore. I wanted to open up my own business and start something where I can be my own boss.

I was inspired to open a Southern-style restaurant because I spent five years down in Florida attending Florida State University. It was there that I really developed a taste for Southern cooking. And when I moved back to Connecticut, it was not something that I could find anywhere else, so I thought that I might have a niche, and be able to bring some of those flavors back up north.

Working with Guidant Financial has been such a great undertaking, from the initial contact to create the corporation, to helping me fund my organization, it’s been outstanding. They’ve been tremendously supportive. All their staff is top-notch, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Toast is unique because it appeals to all the demographics in the area. On any given day, we have students from the University of Connecticut. We have seniors from a retirement center down the street. We have families, and everybody has something that they can enjoy here.

It’s been performing way above expectations. We were profitable in month two, which I didn’t expect. And I would absolutely recommend Guidant Financial to others. The fact that I was able to utilize their ROBS transaction to fund my business was outstanding. It enabled me to have an advantage over a lot of other business start-ups.

The fact that I was able to utilize my own 401(k) money, and not have to take a loan from a bank or another financial institution really eliminated a lot of the stressors — I never had to worry about being able to make a monthly payment to the bank.

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