You graduated with a degree in film from UMKC. What drew you to UMKC and that degree in particular?

So, I've always been interested in film since high school. I was always making short films with friends and that carried on into college. I wanted to go into video production and start my own company. Funnily enough, I started my own company, but not film. And, I was originally born in San Francisco, but my parents moved here because my mom worked for Sprint, which was headquartered here. And I just kind of wanted to stay close to home, because it was more affordable for us so that’s how I ended up at UMKC.

What sparked the idea for Bay Boy Sandwiches?

I moved out to San Francisco the summer before I started at UMKC to take film courses out there and there was this sandwich shop down the street from my godparent’s house, where I was staying. Man, these sandwiches were amazing, I would go once a week. So, after I moved back and was going to UMKC I was having a craving for that type of sandwich that they had over there. I would go to different sandwich shops in town, and they were like ‘I had never heard of that bread’ or ‘we don't have any of that type of sauce’ you can either get like olive oil or Italian dressing or mayo or deli mustard. I think it was heading into my senior year I got a job in the West Plaza at Johnny Joe's pizzeria. So, how I started was pizza. And I was like, ‘Oh, I wonder if I can recreate those sandwiches’ so, about a year into working at Johnny Joe’s, I pitched it to him, so we recreated them for a few months, but they didn’t really take off, so I was like oh, God, okay.

After having little success at Johnny Joe’s, how did you recover this idea?

After I graduated in 2012, I was doing freelance film jobs and I just started thinking that maybe I could do pop ups at Johnny Joe’s to try it out again, just once a week. Just to see what happens. Around 2013, Johnny Joe’s gave up on it, but people were still asking about the sandwiches. So, for a year I muddled over it. And then I was like, Okay, let me just try something. I was living with my business partner at the time. We've been friends since first grade, so we were just living together, I was like ‘Hey, do you want to try this random idea that I have?’ and he was like, ‘yeah, let's do it.’ Not knowing at all what was going to happen. It started just as a pop up once a week, twice a week, I think we eventually did three times a week, then we eventually moved locations around town because we couldn't afford a food truck. That was too much of investment. We like to say we started with 160 bucks and an idea. We just bought the ingredients to make like one day's worth and then we sold all that. And then we would save the ingredients, save the money, and just buy more the following week. And then this space opened around the corner from Johnny Joe's. So, we took over the whole space. We were going to originally just use it as like, a commissary for a food truck eventually because that was always the idea, because we were always mobile. But then the shop got way too busy to even prep for a food truck.

How has it felt growing as a small business in Kansas City, especially with the pandemic?

It's been surreal.  I remember when they were going to shut down for the two weeks or 30 days. I think it was two weeks originally and then they switch to 30 days after that. I thought this might be the end. It was a good run but there’s nothing I can control about this. So, the first day of the shutdown we were super slow, which I anticipated. Second day picked up a little bit more then third day it was like almost like normal. And then by like the fourth day we were back to normal, if not more than normal. And then we were busier than heck after that.

What is something that you wish you could tell yourself back when you were getting ready to graduate?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether you sound like an idiot or not, it’s important to ask questions. And to just soak it all in because you won’t be in college forever.