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Perry Smith of MatchBox Food Group, The Avalon Institute



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After spending his early childhood in Little Rock, Perry J Smith’s family moved to the state of Maryland in 1974. He holds a BA in History from Lehigh University and an MA in Media Studies and Communications from New York University. Smith is a Maryland State track champion in pole vault, played 1-AA football at Lehigh University and is a USBA amateur boxer and member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG.)

After graduating from New York University, Smith began work in the hospitality industry as General Manager of the Polly Esther’s Nightclub Group. In 1996, he relocated as President and Managing Partner to launch Polly Esther’s, DC. In 1997, Smith moved to the Midwest to build and manage Polly Esther’s, Chicago, Denver and St. Louis.

Prior to his eight-year tenure with Polly Esther’s, he succeeded in numerous areas of operations at such New York City restaurant and bar venues including The Coterie, Chumley’s Speakeasy, Sports on Broadway and Robert’s Jazz Bar in Hell’s Kitchen.

In 2001, he founded the successful multi-unit matchbox Food Group with operations in California, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Texas. Under his tenure, the company’s concepts grew to 13 units with revenue of over 50M. Areas of focus are startup strategy, buildout and design, menu development, operations, legal, licensing, HR and PR.

In 2016, he founded The Avalon Institute with USAF Brigadier General John E. Michel (RET.) Avalon is a business development and leadership firm that incorporates forward thinking tools and strategies to assist growth and identify Best Performance Assets™ in individuals and organizations. These tools and strategies will be integrated into all phases of minute man™ growth and development.

In 2018, with an eye on moving back to Arkansas, Smith partnered with Ms. Linda McGoogan, owner-operator of the last- minute man™ restaurant in El Dorado, Arkansas to regrow this beloved heritage concept throughout the state.


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