If you’ve been to a grocery store in Paducah in the past few months, chances are you’ve seen Colton Lyles. He goes grocery shopping at least three or four times a week. Why so often? Because it’s his job. Colton grocery shops for busy families who either don’t have time or that need help shopping on a budget. But he’s more than just a shopping and delivery service. He goes one BIG step further than that. Colton brings the groceries to your house and uses them to cook healthy and delicious meals for the whole family – with plenty of leftovers for lunches, snacks, and more dinners!
“I’ve gotten very familiar with local grocery stores,” Colton admits. “I know where to go each week to get the best deals on everything from fruits and vegetables to meats and dairy. By shopping smart and knowing how to use each ingredient to its fullest potential, I am able to save families substantial amounts of money each month.”
Colton is a professional chef and Paducah native who graduated from culinary school at Sullivan University in Louisville. He worked in popular restaurants in Louisville and studied under renowned chefs. He was on the fast track to a successful career as a restaurant chef in a booming “foodie” city. But something was missing. Colton felt called to take his love of cooking in a different direction. So, he moved back home to Paducah and opened his personal chef business, Family Thyme.
“For me, cooking is about more than fancy plating and high-end ingredients,” he explains. “It’s about making food that not only tastes good, but is good for you. I get a bigger thrill from seeing a kid eat (and like!) fresh vegetables than being in the spotlight as an executive chef at a big-name restaurant.” So, he made the decision to go into business as a personal chef specializing in home-style, fresh food, for busy families on a budget. Colton realized that Paducah would be a better market for his business plan and moved home. The first order of business was to get his small business management certification from WKCTC. The next item on his list was to find a bank.
“I knew I wanted to be with a local bank. I had heard a lot of great things about Paducah Bank and decided to see what they had to offer. I was really impressed with their account options for small businesses like mine. None of the big banks offered solutions that fit my needs as well as Paducah Bank. It’s been a great decision. It’s only been about six months and the Paducah Bank employees at Strawberry Hill already know me! They call me by name when I walk in the door and always ask about my business. That never happened in all the years I was with my last bank.”
Family Thyme is truly a unique and multi-faceted new business in Paducah. Colton does not fit the stereotype that most people have of a personal chef. He’s not a caterer and he’s not a luxury only the wealthy can afford. He really provides four services for the price of one. When new clients sit down for a consultation with Colton they receive the services of a financial consultant, dietician, personal shopper, and professional chef at the same time.
He and his clients review grocery budgets and dining out budgets to determine how much money is being spent on food each month. Once they have a number, Colton explains how he can drastically cut that number. “It’s all about budgeting,” he says. “Families are often very surprised, once they do the math, at the amount of money they are wasting on fast food and dining out. One of my clients keeps very meticulous budget spreadsheets for every household expense. She has calculated that her family has saved twice what they were spending on eating out each month since I’ve been shopping and cooking for them.”
On top of the financial help, Colton finds ways to incorporate only fresh, wholesome ingredients into his meals that even picky eaters will enjoy. “The idea is to teach kids healthy eating habits and eliminate the processed food diets that lead to obesity and disease,” he says. Colton has found that cooking for families with specific menu requests and on a budget can be tricky. “It’s been a challenge,” he admits. “But I enjoy coming up with creative solutions. This is a dynamic business and I have to be flexible and make decisions on the fly. The freedom to be my own boss and the daily challenges are probably some of my favorite parts of this business.”
Colton has gotten a lot of press lately. You’ve probably seen him on the front page of The Paducah Sun and on iList Western Kentucky in the past few weeks. He reports that all the publicity has been great for business and his calendar is filling up. If you’re interested in learning more about his services, you can visit his website http://www.kyfamilythyme.com/ .
If you are a customer of Paducah Bank and would like us to feature your business, let us know by emailing Susan Guess at [email protected].