Business Owner Earnest Sutton Talks With The Southland Journal (Markham, IL) Earnest Sutton, who describes himself as a Markham kid, has lived in the area since his mother moved there in 1971. Sutton received his Bachelor of Business Economics and Master of Business Administration from Benedictine University.
After graduation, he served as Director of Circulation for the Chicago Tribune Company and Regional Vice-President Midwest Operations of ACI Last Mile Midwest LLC.
A Markham Kid on the Corporate Ladder
While working in corporate America, Sutton started to experience the pressures of leadership.
“Like in most companies, the higher up you are, the more exposed you are to cuts and things of that nature,” said Sutton.
Sutton said he was forced to go down the path of entrepreneurship due to these changes. He questioned what was next. With over 20 years of experience in circulation, he found the motivation needed to start the next phase of his career: owning a delivery business.
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A Path in Entrepreneurship
Stated in 2016, Easy Way Delivery Services LLC is one of the major delivery services for the city of Markham. The business specializes in medical courier services and delivery of 10 major newspapers. The reach of the company expands to Chicago, Chicago’s south suburbs and Gary, Indiana.
While working, a friend of Sutton’s who owned two bars approached Sutton about managing a third location in Markham, On The 9 Sports Bars and Grill.
“You don’t wake up and say I’m going to do distribution and then I’m going to get into the bar business,” said Sutton.
Sutton initially committed to working at the location for 6 months, only on Monday and Thursday nights as available. That initial commitment turned into 4 years, adding another business to Sutton’s portfolio.
One of the biggest successes Sutton had with the location is getting it up and running after year of preparation. He is thankful for all who patronize his location.
“Every day we walk in there, you have a feeling of success being able to get to that point,” reflected Sutton.
A Legacy Continued With the Markham Weenie Wagon
Sutton acquired the Weenie Wagon which is next door to On The 9 Sports Bar and Grill. What he describes as ‘the gem of the property’, Sutton appreciates the history of the restaurant. The location has been in existence since 1955.
Formally known as Willy’s, followed by Johnny’s Weenie Wagon, one of the biggest goals for Sutton and his team was to keep the recognizable name. The decision made to name it The Markham Weenie Wagon to make all residents feel connected and welcomed.
“We think the name is synonymous with Markham and it has built a great history, tradition and association,” said Sutton.
The restaurant will keep the traditional menu of hotdogs and hamburgers but will also offer other options on a separate menu.
Lessons in Entrepreneurship
Sutton was fired as Head Coach from Hillcrest High school after a DUI charge, an experience that he has grown from.
“It was a negative initially, but I used that incident and information as fuel and motivation to keep striving and get better,” Sutton.
Sutton’s advice to fellow entrepreneurs is don’t let the negativity, distractions and distortions stop you from doing what you want to do. In business, he relates that people may be negative towards you, but you must remain steadfast.
His second piece of advice is that there is no easy path to success. He shared an often-used quote from his days as a coach.
“The easy way is the hard way. The harder you work, the easier things become,” confirmed Sutton.
The Markham Weenie Wagon is located at 15743 Crawford Avenue and will be open for business soon.
Business Owner Earnest Sutton Talks With The Southland Journal