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18-year-old Ohioan goes from dishwasher to restaurant owner

An 18-year-old from Dover, Ohio, used her college funds to invest in her future, but in a different way than most her age would.
18-year-old Ohioan goes from dishwasher to restaurant owner
Posted at 11:01 AM, May 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-17 13:01:50-04

An 18-year-old from Dover, Ohio, is living the American dream. She used her college funds to invest in her future, but in a different way than most her age would.

“Right now, this is so new; this is my priority,” said Samantha Frye. “Five days of the week, I'm in here. If not in here, I'm back there doing prep. The other two days, I’m in the office doing meetings with the sales reps.”

At Rosalie's off North Wooster Street in Strasburg, Ohio, Frye, 18, wears many hats. That's because she owns the place.

“If you told me six months ago I would be doing this, I would have said you're crazy,” Frye said.

She started working at Rosalie's as a dishwasher at 16. As the years passed, she moved up in the ranks, from kitchen prep to line cook. And as most high schoolers do these days, Frye went off to college after graduation.

“First it was business, then it was environmental engineering,” Frye said. “It changed a little bit, but that's what I went to Ohio State for in the fall.”

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But when she came in for a shift during winter break, an idea sparked when the owners told her they wanted to sell the restaurant.

“I was thinking, whoa, maybe this was something I wanted to do, because I had savings — because I was saving up for college,” said Frye. “So, I had quite a bit of money set aside, and I was like, I could possibly do this.”

She paid her down payment and took ownership in April.

“It's awesome she was able to save her own money for a down payment,” said Randy Zehnder, a customer. “I couldn't have done that.”

Rosalie's is a staple in Strasburg, where some customers come in twice a day and some almost every week. Frye is not only an inspiration to her customers, but also to her staff.

“I just really think she's a great example of a young lady that is following her dreams and doing what she loves,” said Leanna Gardner, an employee.

Frye doesn't want to change the name of the restaurant or update much, but she hopes her story has one clear message for her generation.

“You don’t need college to make a decent living, and I think that's what a lot of people think nowadays,” Frye said. "Follow your instinct, honestly. If it feels right, just do it.”

This story was originally published by Bryn Caswell at Scripps News Cleveland.

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