Scott and Jane Wolfe

Founder, Melba's Famous Po'Boys

At a young age, husband and wife Scott and Jane Wolfe pooled their life savings to purchase a small, failing grocery store in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward – historically one of the most crime-ridden areas of the United States. From those inauspicious beginnings, the Wolfes built an empire. Wagner’s Meats spanned the Ninth Ward region, with ten stores opening in roughly twenty-five years. Business thrived, then Hurricane Katrina hit.

Not a single store was salvageable, but the Wolfes did not lose heart. They found opportunity in the destruction and went on to found Wolfman Construction, helping New Orleans residents put roofs on their homes and, slowly but surely, rebuilding their city and livelihood. The Wolfes’ story explores the wildly creative solutions that Scott and Jane took to overcome the financial and emotional damages that came with Katrina.

Today, Jane and Scott have stepped away from the construction business and opened a business close to their hearts: Melba’s Famous Po’Boys, a unique gem at the crossroad of New Orleans’ 7th, 8th and Ninth Ward neighborhoods. In 2018, Melba’s joined the Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies list, and was given the title of Fastest Growing Business in Louisiana. Melba’s is as unique, original, and welcoming as its owners, and the Wolfe’s book – due to be published in early 2020 – reveals the deeper story behind their decades-long journey, as well as what they learned along the way.

From GED To Harvard Then Inc. 500: How Two Teens Went From GEDs To Building The Fastest Growing Business In New Orleans

Publication Date: April 2020

In From GED to Harvard Then Inc. 500, be prepared to fall not just for a city but for a couple who firmly believe that the most wildly successful businesses don’t start with a sale or even a product … they start with a desire to engage with others.

When they bought a run-down little market in 1982, the Wolfes didn’t even consider the idea of failing. At seventeen and nineteen years old, Jane and Scott knew that if they were going to succeed, they needed to put their whole heart into their business. And it worked. The Wolfes found that success isn’t as much about what you sell―it’s about the feelings that your team members project and your customers walk away with. In short, it’s about love.

From GED to Harvard Then Inc. 500 walks with the Wolfes through their journey from the early years of Wagner’s Meat, its growth and utter destruction by Hurricane Katrina, their astonishing rebuilding, and the realization of running a New Orleans icon that has a little bit of everything … and a whole lot of community engagement.

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