November 18, 2016
Former teammates and longtime friends Alana Beard and Marissa Coleman recently embarked on an endeavor together outside of basketball. Marissa currently plays in the WNBA for the Indiana Fever and Alana just finished a championship season with the LA Sparks. Once teammates for both the Washington Mystics and the LA Sparks, they are teamed up yet again, but this time the playing field has completely changed. The two are co-owners of Mellow Mushroom, a pizza restaurant chain that serves up “fresh stone baked pizzas to-order in an eclectic, art-filled and family-friendly environment.”
Having their grand opening just three weeks ago Alana and Marissa are ready to take on the challenges of being franchisees. For Beard, franchising has always been a goal of hers. Early on, she studied the franchise industry and business models that were of interest to her. However, it was Marissa who connected her with a family friend who has over 30 years of experience in the franchising industry and from there the chance to become partners in business began.
Both Alana and Marissa are like-minded in their desire to be prepared for life after basketball. “We understand that basketball does not define us and that it is only a platform for us to grow as individuals,” said Beard when asked about the working relationship her and Coleman have. “We work well together because our vision for growth is similar and we understand the importance of being good people first.” Their years of playing basketball and being part of a team has prepared them for the many challenges they will soon face as business owners. It is widely known that athletes make great business owners and employees. Their dedication, work ethic, competitiveness, and team mentality all support being successful in their careers after sports.
“Running a business is like being a leader of a team. At some point in our life/career we were/are all leaders, it’s imperative to apply that asset when deciding life after basketball. There are companies within the corporate world that wish they knew how to build, sustain and lead a team as well as we do! Use that to your advantage!”
With plans to continue to venture out into the business world, this is just the beginning for the two. Both Marissa and Alana were recently at their Mellow Mushroom location learning the ropes of the restaurant which included making pizzas, washing dishes and cleaning floors! Beard’s father who owns his own business left her with a piece of advice in which she has carried with her into her new position. “No one will appreciate and take care of your things as well as you.” She understands that in order for a business to be successful, you must be there, on site, working every single day. “It’s ours! It’s our responsibility and I love that we get a chance to decide how great we want our business to be. That’s pretty cool to me!” Their Mellow Mushroom is located at 2239 Franklin Road SW Roanoke, VA 24014. If you’re ever in the area stop by, have a drink and a bite to eat! The House Special Pizza is my favorite.