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Meet Selina Kelley of The Midwest Way

Today we’d like to introduce you to Selina Kelley. 

Hi Selina, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
The Midwest Way is a seven-year journey of discovery. The vision started when I reconnected with an old flame and we talked about starting a business together. We had worked together more than 25 years ago and wanted to recreate the connection and teamwork that allowed us to build a successful Barbecue business with repeatable processes to create a franchise offering. I was instrumental in creating the standard operating procedures as well as being the Senior Store Manager and executive assistant to the owners. We would reconnect and that connection sparked a creativity and desire I did not realize was still there. I started having dreams about the possibilities of creating something new that would be a healthier version of barbecue and soul foods as I was on my own healthy journey to become a vegan. I received an entire vision for the entire concept and the various lines of businesses for the company. We went on to marry a build a successful mobile BBQ catering business in Las Vegas, Nevada. We provided a healthy swap version of the 80-year sauce recipe with mostly organic ingredients and the soul food menu items that was now being produced by the third generation of the family that started in 1942. I was the operations side of the business from accounting, social media manager to strategist as well as Co-CSO (Chief Servant Officer). I created our vision and mission and set out to execute it. Because I had been given the entire blueprint. Little did I know it wasn’t for us. It was for me… After our decision to divorce and go our separate ways. I would give the ex the business in the divorce. I could not shake the thought of no longer being an entrepreneur and bringing the vision to life. As I would meet with my therapist and share this over and over. I began to pray as ask what am I to do with these thoughts and vision now that I no longer have the business. The spirit spoke to me so loudly as said, if the vision was for him, I would have given it to him. I could have been knocked over with a feather at that point because I realized it was the reason, I stayed in the marriage so long. It was my desire to bring the vision to life. Armed with this new information I began to process that it was mine to bring to life just me and the fact that I felt I needed a partner wasn’t as true as I thought it was. My true desire was to create a legacy to leave to my son, Richard. At that point, I realized. I could still do that and partner with my son. I asked him if he was interested and to partner with me. He said yes, and we began to discuss the vision for at that time, Midwest BBQ. I asked for his input to come up with a slogan to represent the brand. He came up with “Ain’t no way like the Midwest Way”! It was an instant hit because we knew it was about more than just BBQ. Being from the Midwest in Cleveland, Ohio to be specific, we wanted to represent our culture of service and what it means to be a Midwesterner. Thus, the name of the company is Midwest Way, LLC.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road but every twist and turn has been worth it. The initial struggle was mental in comprehending that I had stayed in marriage because of the vision of the business and bringing it to life. It was hard to give up because I thought I needed my ex because of his family legacy. In reality, I was bringing it to life. I had to take time and go deep within to understand why I would do such a thing and mentally prepare to become the businesswoman that I saw in my dreams. Two years after the divorce I was finally ready. But not without therapy to address my past and a life coach to help me shape my future.

Another obstacle was all of the investments to build the foundation of the business before getting started. Training courses, marketing strategy, project management because I am still working my day job which I use as my investor.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The Midwest Way is a for-profit start-up with the vision to create a circle of love by being a bridge to connect people to random acts of love, information, and resources one heart at a time.

Our Mission is to create a movement and a culture of service being the heart, hands, and feet of Jesus to meet immediate needs one heart at a time.

We currently have two products Midwest Way branded T-Shirts and Midwest Gourmet Sauce to help us raise capital to grow the business and perform Random Acts of Love. A portion of every purchase goes to the Random Acts of Love Fund.

We strive to be a debt-free company and leverage our profits and Circle of Love Village support to accomplish our mission and vision. We are just getting started so come along for the journey. As we pursue our dreams and what’s been placed on our hearts as our life’s purpose. We ain’t perfect and will not always get things right but our heart is in the right place.

What sets us apart from most brands is helping meet “immediate needs”. There are very few organizations that do this. It could look like helping a single parent send their child to summer camp, while they are working. An experience that can be life-changing for a little one to experience a new environment and exposure to new things. We want to be able to do this without the red tape of bureaucracy that sometimes gets in the way of helping those who truly need it. Our vision is to help and not be concerned with if the person is going to do the right thing with the help. Some people are one Random Act of Love away from their life being changed for the better. We also partner (build bridges) with other individuals and organizations that offer the information and resources that are not immediate needs if helps as well. That’s the information and resources part of the vision and creates the “Circle of Love” in us helping one another.

What I am most proud of about this brand is that it is out in the world and the work has started. It has been birthed because it was inside for over seven years waiting to be born. We don’t fully know all that it will become but we know we are on the right path because so many serendipitous moments have happened to light the path. Such as this interview.

Types of immediate needs (Randoms Acts of Love) but not limited to:

Youth Programming

Meals

Personal Care Services

Bill Payments

Education needs

Car Repairs

If you are the type of person that just wants to help and don’t care about a tax write-off, don’t want to fill out paperwork and deal with any BS*#% and want to support financially, and or provide resources, a helping hand then we would love your help!

Join our Movement – Facebook Group “Circle of Love Village” this is where we will test out new ideas and share with our supporters first.

Support Financially – see financial support link in BIO on social media

Purchase Midwest Way Apparel – see the purchase Merch link in BIO on social media

Purchase Midwest Gourmet Sauce when it hits the market.

Share our story with others that are likeminded and we can partner and figure out ways to help and support one another. We are still evolving our operating practices and have a lot to learn to be in this space but we’re ready for the journey. We know the right people and resources will come along to support the movement.

More details about our products:

Midwest Way T-Shirts:

Apparel featuring the Midwest Way registered trademarked brand “Ain’t No Way Like The Midwest Way®” with many more to come, support, and stay tuned. Go to our Social Media page and click the link to purchase.

Midwest Gourmet Sauce 

Ain’t No Way Like The Midwest Gourmet Sauce Way…Organic, Everything Sauce. The healthy swap of the old-school version. It’s Tangy, Sweet with a hint of Heat. BBQ made it famous but it is more than a BBQ Sauce, it’s an everything sauce with versatile uses and a unique flavor profile. Use it on meat, seafood, pasta, vegetables, salads, as a marinade, add to beans and soups, even as a Bloody Mary mix! We are midway between old school and vegan foods! The sauce is in the incubator stage to bring to market, As the, Founder I am currently enrolled in the Fall 2022 course of The Craft Classroom and The Central Kitchen incubator program in Cleveland, Ohio.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Yes, The Covid-19 crisis gave me the space and time to go inward and learn about myself, stop the noise and truly hear and connect with my spirit and higher power. 

The biggest aha moment for me was that I was responsible for my own happiness. That it was not someone else’s responsibility. They are responsible for their own happiness. I had been disconnected from myself, busy people pleasing (co-dependent) and doing things I didn’t want to do for the sake of the business and marriage.

Secondly, that the desire and vision in my heart to help others was for me to bring forth and create the Circle of Love to do so.

Thirdly, that I am a Life Coach, I had been one for more than 30 years. I didn’t realize there was such a thing. I was just naturally doing it and helping others in their lives. I realized, I needed me a me in my life. That’s when I found my life coach, Yahya Smith of Feminine Success Consulting. She helped me realize the powers I laid down and reconnect with my dreams and life’s purpose. Thus, giving birth to the DisruptHer Coach. I gained the strength to start going live and share my journey and gems placed on my heart to help others. At some point, it will be merged with The Midwest Way but for now, they are separate and the focus is all Midwest Way! That is where my heart is…

Pricing:

  • Crew Neck “Ain’t No Way Like The Midwest Way®” T-Shirts $30.00 Sizes Small to X Large
  • Crew Neck “Ain’t No Way Like The Midwest Way®” T-Shirts $35.00 plus $1 each larger Size 2X – 5X Large
  • V Neck “Ain’t No Way Like The Midwest Way®” T-Shirts $35.00 Sizes Small to X Large
  • V Neck “Ain’t No Way Like The Midwest Way®” T-Shirts $40.00 plus $1 each larger Size 2X – 5X Large

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Pat Isenstadt
Silvia Iorio
Selina Kelley
Aaliyah Johnson
Midwest Way

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