Woman opens restaurant, uses profits to pay for sister's cancer treatment

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 20:23:02-04

There's no set menu at Lady J's Soul Food in Copperas Cove, but you can expect a good meal each time you stop by.

Jacquelyn Coefield dreamed of owning her own restaurant since she was a young girl. It became her reality just three months ago.

"I can't dance, but I was in here acting like a fool," Coefield said. I said 'thank you, Jesus!'"

Lady J's is built on family values. Items like plates and bowls from Coefield's family are tucked away throughout the restaurant, homemade recipes are served daily and there's even a list of rules on the wall reminding you not to waste food.

"We cook whatever we feel like cooking," Coefield said. "Today, I don't know. I just asked Mama 'what are we cooking today?'"

All of the tables inside the restaurant were also donated from Coefield's family, friends and local business partners. She said this helps everybody feel like they're right at home. 

"This is our family history. This is our legacy to pass over to the next generation," Coefield said.

The restaurant is also completely run by Coefield's family members who don't mind wearing many hats.

"I would say a jack of all trades! Whatever needs to be done, that's what I do," said Joyce Lamkin, Coefield's mother who helps her in the kitchen.

A donation jar that has Coefield's sister's picture on it also sits by the cash register, reminding everyone why they do what they do.

"Until it hits you in the home, you really don't know the impact that cancer has on a person," said Freda Lamkin, Coefield's sister who works the cash register. "These days that we're here, we know that we're doing it for her as well as for our family. So, in the end, it's all right. Long days, 15 hours, 24 hours, whatever it has to be."

Once the restaurant starts to turn into a profit, Coefield said half of the money it brings in will go towards her sister's medical costs. Her sister is also a deputy with the Lampasas County Sheriff's Office.

"For Ethel Mae Watson, we're going to go to the end. That's baby sis," Lamkin said.

In the meantime, they'll continue to serve up a little bit of soul and a whole lot of flavor as they share part of themselves with the community.

"It's all a piece of the family," Coefield said. "Everybody contributes something to it."

Texas was also recently named the best state in the country to start a business by WalletHub based on location, access to resources and business costs. The City of Copperas Cove reports that 40 businesses have opened up since the start of 2018.

For more information on Lady J's Soul Food, click here

To make a donation to Ethel Mae Watson's GoFundMe, click here

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