FACES of Flint & Genesee Business: Nichol Albiar and Chris Veihl, Steady Eddy’s Café at the Market

About seven years ago, employees Nichol Albiar and Chris Veihl took over ownership of Steady Eddy’s Café at the Market – a staple in Flint for roughly 30 years. The local restaurant, which has had three previous owners, started in Davison but soon moved to the Flint Farmers’ Market on the second floor of its former location.

When the Flint Farmers’ Market moved to downtown Flint in 2014, so did Steady Eddy’s. And since moving to the new market the restaurant has grown by expanding its menu, offering fresh-squeezed lemonade at its lemonade stand in the summer and growing to include Steady Eddy’s Veggies stand inside the market.

“When we took over, we grew the menu to make it more inclusive to our customers by adding things such as beef burgers and expanding our soup offerings,” says Albiar, who has been with the business for 13 years. “We were so lucky when we were able to take over and improve the business.”

Veihl, who has been with the business for over 20 years, says taking over the restaurant has been one of his favorite moments. However, another favorite moment came more recently.

“When we were trying to make it work during the early part of the pandemic was one of my favorite times,” says Veihl. “We had a tent outside for carry-out orders and made sandwiches for first responders. We did what we could to make it work and it made me appreciate our business, employees and customers that much more.”

Steady Eddy’s Café at the Market continues to be a fan favorite in the community and with customers far and wide.

Why stay in Flint & Genesee?

Albiar: The customers and the people in the area are what keep us here. We have people who drive from as far as “Up North” Michigan to come to Steady Eddy’s, and it means a lot to us that they come all this way.

How would you describe the area to an outsider?

Veihl: It has definitely changed. Of course, you hear people say negative things about the area, but it’s not like that now. Downtown Flint is awesome, there is always something going on in the summertime.

How did the pandemic affect your business?

Albiar: We ended up shutting down three days before we were ordered to, just to be safe. Thank God we had a good amount of savings because that helped us through a lot. About a month after we shut down, we got a call from Josh Spencer from Café Rhema who recruited us to help with a boxed lunch program through the C.S. Mott Foundation to give free lunches to first responders. That helped us pay our bills and make it through.

What was the public response when you were able to reopen?

Albiar: Since we reopened, we have had a lot of our regulars come back and support us. During the time we were shut down, we had customers reach out and ask how they could help – people were bending over backward to make sure we stayed open.

How is your business involved in the community?

Albiar: Each year we participate in the Seeing Stars benefit for the Flint Institute of Music. We provide gift cards to community members who come in asking for support for various things. We also support a local baseball team through Kearsley Schools.

What advice would you offer other business owners or future entrepreneurs?

Veihl: Be hands-on, don’t just be an investor – get in there and do it.

Albiar: Be good to your employees, they mean a lot to your business.

For more information on Steady Eddy’s Café at the Market, visit SteadyEddysCafe.com.