Meet Laci MidgleyEvery morning, as soon as her feet hit the floor, Central Valley native Laci Midgely is on the move. As a wife, mother, business owner and real estate agent at Sheri Midgley Realty, this ambitious Stockton resident is no stranger to the work-life balance juggle. Armed with determination, ambition and a healthy dose of spunk, this mompreneur welcomes the daily challenge of keeping all the balls in the air.

The Woman Behind the ManWhen Laci and her husband, Michael, met in a restaurant more than two decades ago, little did they know that their shared love of the food industry would not only lead them on the adventure of a lifetime, but also would be the catalyst in the creation of their successful business, Midgley’s Public House, years later.

“Mike and I met in a local restaurant about 20 years ago,”Laci recalled. “I was a hostess and he was a server and we both really enjoyed working in that industry. We dated for quite some time and eventually got married. During that time, Mike decided to use his passion for food to become a chef. While he went to California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, I waited on tables full time to help make ends meet.”

After graduation, Laci shared that her husband’s career exploded. Thanks to his talents and big personality, he appeared as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef and was the top winner of Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. Life-changing opportunities were also presented to the couple as Michael appeared as a judge on Esquire network’s Knife Fight and Bravo’s Top Chef Masters; the couple appeared together on CNBC’sRestaurant Startup.

The Birth of a BusinessAs Michael’s reputation reached celebrity chef status, the opportunity presented for the duo to start their own restaurant. Together the pair worked tirelessly to bring his culinary talents to Lincoln Center by opening Midgely’s Public House in November 2014. From the very beginning, Laci and Michael created Midgley’s Public House to be an exciting culinary experience. The restaurant is known for their American fusion, steaks and seafood paired with fine wine and spirits.

“During the first chapter of our lives, I was very much the woman behind the man, and I am incredibly proud of my husband’s achievements,” Laci noted. “Now that our business has been open for three years, I have found my own role within our restaurant. My official title is Office Manager, but I can assure you what I do is much more than that! My job is managing the business, but I also take pride in facilitating the details and subtleties that help make each customer’s dining experience an exceptional one. I fill in wherever I’m needed, which includes waiting tables and working special events. I am always working on ways to keep our social media vibrant and fun as well, and I love to showcase special dishes or even unique local beers that we offer. When things are going well, I focus on how we could be making it better.”

Family first through their long journey and string of successes, Laci and Michael have always remained 110 percent committed to their most important role of all; being parents. “We have such a full and wonderful life, but our children are absolutely the best thing we have going on,” Laci shared. “We have three beautiful kids and they are the center of our world. Our daughter, Taylor, is eight, our son, Mikey, is seven and our youngest daughter, Morgan, is five.

“Michael and I work great together as parents and as business owners, even though juggling those dual roles can be a challenge some days. We believe in keeping the lines of communication open, putting family first and always doing our best to respect each other even during the heated moments that come along with working in the food industry. It has been easier now that the restaurant has been open three years and we have an exceptional team working for us. It allows us to be more present for our kids and take better care of ourselves as well. Some days our efforts work well, some days not so much. But we know we are not perfect and every day is a new chance to try again.”

When they’re not working alongside the 40+ employees at Midgley’s Public House, Laci, Michael and the children love to travel; many of their trips are inspired by food-related events. Every year the family makes a vacation out of going to the Santa Cruz Chili Cook-Off in October and again during the Chowder Cook-Off in February. But after working all week long, they also enjoy just hanging out at home and spending time with the kids. “Don’t rush through life,” Laci advised. “Savor every precious moment of parenthood because they grow up so quickly. Insist on meals together, plan that vacation and always make family your number one priority.”

Lessons of Business and LifeDoing business in modern times means social media can play a major role in a business’ success and reputation. Laci also is aware that people sometimes get brave behind a keyboard without realizing the damage their comments can make; a fact that she advises all business owners to keep in perspective. “I’ve learned over the years to not give our critics too much weight; we prefer to focus on the loyal patrons who love us. Michael and I give Midgley’s Public House every ounce of our blood, sweat and tears, but we also know we are not going to appeal to everyone.

“People say we are lucky all the time, and I completely agree. But our wonderful life is not the fall-in-your-lap kind of lucky. I believe luck is earned, and we’ve worked exceptionally hard for what we have. We’ve both failed at things plenty of times, and it’s okay to fail. Failures motivate you to come back better than ever. Whether it’s in life or business, you just need to show up, do your best and repeat.” ■


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