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Young 13-year-old serves the seven seas with his own restaurant in S.W. Bakersfield

Posted: 11:55 PM, Feb 08, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-10 15:32:41-05

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Here at 23ABC, we are celebrating Black History Month by highlighting African American history right here in our community.

On Saturday, 23ABC spoke with a local seafood restaurant in Southwest Bakersfield that has been making waves in the community this past year and it isn't just for the food.

Garrison's Seafood Express is located just off of Panama Lane. At the front of the store, you can find one of the owners, 13-year-old Garrison Ray, who says this was made all possible due to the encouragement and support of his family.

"Its all about support, you can’t obviously do it all by yourself," Garrison Ray said. "You can get support from your family and people you are close to because they can help you a long way."

At Garrison's Seafood Express you can find fresh catfish, jumbo shrimp, crabs, and many other tasty seafood cuisines.

Garrison works alongside his dad co-owner and chef, James Ray, who says Garrison works around 12-to-16 hours a week at the restaurant.

He also shares that he's proud of the business skills his son is learning.

"I absolutely love it and it is a lot of work, but its nothing better than me cooking and seeing my son communicating with customers," said James Ray. "Mind you, he is just 13 and he speaks well, he is helping them out and just doing a great job."

The father and son duo says the idea to create this restaurant came from their fishing trips to Ventura and eating at the many seafood places.

The duo says they felt the need to bring a fresh and affordable seafood restaurant to Bakersfield where they now have a regular span of customers like Deborah Bradford.

"For a young man at his age to manage and have a restaurant on his own its excellent," Bradford said. "It says a lot to the young black men to reach for the stars on whatever you aspire to do."

Garrison has been opened for just a little over a year. The young store owner says its success is due to the outpouring support from the community and he has this message for other young entrepreneurs.

"You gotta step out of your shoes, you cant keep yourself in a box," Garrison Ray said. "Time will pass you by so you have to go after it when you are thinking about it."

Garrison's is hosting a Valentine's Day dinner special for couples only on Feb. 14 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. If you would like to attend, you must make reservations by the 10th.

If you know someone in your community who you think deserves to be recognized be sure to email us at Kero.news@Kero.com