Avery Harris has many job titles at her food truck business, SAvery Grilled Cheese: marketing specialist, auto mechanic, financial planner, activist, and, of course, grilled cheese master.
It all started when she went on a mission trip after graduating from Texas A&M in 2013. Avery spent 11 months volunteering in 11 countries. While in Thailand, she worked alongside human trafficking victims; the personal connections she formed there spurred Avery to take action.
Upon returning home to Texas, she moved to Austin — a food truck hub — with the plan to combine a lifelong love for cooking with her desire to bring awareness to the cause that touched her heart. Since the truck first hit the road in April 2015, SAvery has donated 10% of all sales to a variety of organizations dedicated to fighting modern-day slavery.
Avery remembers thinking, “if I have to work double shifts every day for the next three months, I’ll do it,” she says. “When you can remember why you’re doing it and why you’re passionate about it, it can give you the strength to keep going.”Tweet
It’s not easy being cheesy
Avery’s skill in the kitchen is no surprise. “My grandma had a bakery, my mom’s an amazing cook; it’s kind of second nature for me,” she explains. But that doesn’t mean it was easy for Avery to launch a food business.
“I had a lot of learning curves my first year,” she says, “like learning the automotive side of things.” When her food truck broke down within the first month of opening, it was faith in her purpose that helped her stay strong. Avery remembers thinking, “if I have to work double shifts every day for the next three months, I’ll do it,” she says. “When you can remember why you’re doing it and why you’re passionate about it, it can give you the strength to keep going.”
She works hard to keep SAvery profitable, while still donating to organizations that fight slavery. Avery also raises awareness about the issue — like that the National Human Trafficking hotline receives more calls from her home state of Texas than any other state.
Personally, Avery prioritizes monthly payments, like rent and loans, and always keeps a financial cushion. SAvery was originally funded by a combination of resources, including crowdfunding, private investors, and a loan.
A community of support
Avery credits much of SAvery’s success to those around her. “My parents really challenge [me and my siblings] and make sure that we’re expanding our horizons,” she explains. It also helps that Avery’s employees are just as passionate and dedicated to the food truck’s humanitarian cause as she is. “I wouldn’t be anywhere without them,” she says.
SAvery has connected Avery with many others in the Austin area who also want to make an impact, from customers to investors to other food industry professionals she’s met along the way. Being part of a community that prioritizes involvement and making a difference is important to Avery; it’s something she has valued since the mission trip that started it all. “When you have your faith alongside your heart and passion, there’s just nothing that you can’t do, especially when you have a group of similar-minded people with you.”
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