One summer day almost 6 years ago, Mike Lane was driving home from vacation at the Jersey shore. When he passed the corner of 11th and Shunk streets on his way, he found there was a "For Sale" sign in the window of the former deli. And even though he was looking into other locations within the area to open a full-service convenient and prepared food store, he felt this spot would be perfect. "It was like fate and I bought it," he said. "It was something I always wanted to do and the opportunity was there so I took advantage of it.”
The former resident of 19th and Mifflin Streets attended Community College for a few years while playing baseball, but changed his interests when he realized college life was not the perfect fit for him. After working in the food industry for over 15 years, he decided he was interested in opening up his own business. But, it all depended on the right timing, finances and whether this new venture was truly meant to be. “I kept thinking, ‘If I build it, they will come," Lane said jokingly. Along the way, he knew it wouldn't be easy, but in the end, it would be worth it.
After purchasing the store, he remodeled the interior to his liking. "Everything here is brand new," he said. The dark black awning juts out from the fresh white exterior to advertise some of the shop's favored items such as pizza, stromboli, hoagies, wraps, burgers and the list can go on and on. Steak 'Em Up serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and a full line of groceries, which can be delivered throughout South Philly. One of the most popular and known items is their steak, which remain synonymous with their name. " I would put our steaks up against anyone in Philly," Lane said.
According to the business owner, one of the most important aspects of establishing local notoriety for a new store relies on the opinion of the customers. He makes sure to maintain a clean interior, which the workers sanitize on a daily basis. "Everyone tells me how clean my store is, " he said. The Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP) graduate knows the majority of his success wouldn't have been possible without the help of his hard-working employees. I have great employees and owe everything to them, " Lane said. "But, a profitable business is often the result of loyal patrons. "We want to thank our customers for making our store a success so quickly," he said. "We try to keep them happy by putting out the best product possible."
The business owner also finds time to give back to the community whenever an opportunity arises. Last year, after learning of a sudden robbery at A.S. Jenks Elementary School, he approached Principal Stephanie Phillips to donate $1,000.00 check for the annual student Fun Fair. "I felt bad, I know a lot of the kids and their families order from here and I wanted to give back to them," Lane said. "It was just the right thing to do."