Reggie Martin and Merinda Watkins-Martin

Chef Reggie Martin discovered his passion for food at a young age while working for Lemond Catering, his family’s business in Houston, Texas. Reggie eventually teamed up with his wife Merinda Watkins-Martin to take over the family business in 2003.

Combining Reggie’s passion for great food and Merinda’s dedication to quality service, Lemond Catering soon earned a reputation for making every event — from intimate affairs to major corporate galas — an incredible experience.

Together, the couple launched the Lemond Kitchen brand in 2013, which allowed them to create a line of retail products and expand the company through new food concessions and catering contracts. Despite Lemond Kitchen’s continued growth, the couple realized their business’ future was at the mercy of ever-increasing local rent prices. The couple resolved to purchase a place of their own and approached several local banks for financial assistance before a bank associate suggested they visit LiftFund.

Working with the LiftFund team, Reggie and Merinda were able to secure a financial support to refinance their building, build a new kitchen required to fulfill a local concession contract, and move their catering and daily operations into one space.

“LiftFund literally changed the trajectory of our business by giving us that loan,” shared Merinda.

The couple credits their work with LiftFund and their resulting business ownership with preparing them for any challenge. Reggie and Merinda hope to continue growing Lemond Kitchen and open a local flagship retail store within the next decade, showcasing the best of Texas cuisine, providing professional and public cooking classes, and a legacy of empowerment for their family and community.

“Being business owners in our community allows us to create opportunities for other people. It allows us to give back,” shared Merinda. “There’s so many things that we have the flexibility to do because we own our own business.”