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Truly successful Featured

6:17am EDT June 28, 2002
In 1981, the four Shibley siblings -- Jeffrey, Larry, Arthur Shibley and Darlene Shibley Ziegenhagen --opened their first Yours Truly Restaurant in Beachwood, converting a small restaurant Jeffrey managed, Our Gang, into a family-owned business.

Twenty-one years later, the Shibleys own and operate a chain of six restaurants across Northeast Ohio, in Beachwood, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Mayfield Village, Shaker Heights and Mentor. A seventh will open in Medina in September.

Growth is never an easy part of business, but it's especially challenging when it includes expansion to numerous locations.

At one time, each sibling ran his or her own restaurant, but when the number of restaurants exceeded the number of Shibleys, the company's overall management structure required a change.

"Developing the infrastructure of the company -- the different systems and supervisory people -- has been difficult," says Larry Shibley. "Going from a couple of guys operating a couple of restaurants to a functioning chain where things happen automatically and you have sophisticated, high level training which shows everything documented ... that's been the challenge."

The group redefined the partners' roles. Today, Darlene deals with all of the store managers and interviews and hires them. Larry oversees much of the administrative and financial duties from the Chagrin Falls headquarters, manages the facilities and is the lead in the selection of new sites.

Arthur spends the bulk of his time at the Hudson store and handles tasks such as in-store training and public relations. Jeffrey splits his time between the Mayfield Village location and Mentor. He develops targeted training for employees and oversees the Web site and newsletter.

To fill out the management team, the Shibleys promoted one of their restaurant managers, Dixie Jerdon, to streamline the corporate structure. Jerdon computerized the restaurants, then took every aspect of the business and documented it in detail, Larry says.

"She created a form that would walk a manager through the tasks of each day," he says, adding she did what was necessary for the group to expand beyond four restaurants. "(She) played an extremely significant role in providing the management tools for Yours Truly to grow into a seven-restaurant chain." How to reach: Yours Truly Restaurants, (440) 247-8338