Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our Business Promise

Before we had a business plan we had a business promise. 98 Bottles is the culmination of several years of planning, misfires, raised hopes, dashed dreams and a healthy helping of blood, sweat and tears. But through it all we always promised ourselves that we would listen to each other’s ideas, revel in each other’s company, support each other’s dreams live in every moment and, most importantly, have fun. We promised that this simple doctrine would guide our decision making from the vendors we pick and the employees we hire, to the deals we negotiate and the people with whom we choose to do business. We tell you about this promise not necessarily because it’s crucial for you to know, but because it is necessary for us to remind ourselves.

Our business promise is laudable but it is not always easy to fulfill in practical application.  On the path to opening we have endured our share of scares, traumas, close calls and frustrations.  In other blog posts we’ve shared with you a few of the crazy hurdles we’ve had to overcome and, while we have described them with humor, many have been challenges that were downright scary; especially this past month. After a five-week standstill due to city permitting, a malaise began to creep into our consciousness. Every decision (and there are millions of them you have to make when opening a new business) seemed labored, we were getting short with each other, frustrated with the process and panicked about everything that had to get done. We were so focused on getting to opening that we forgot to be in the moment. We were letting ourselves get sucked into the panic vortex, letting fear guide the way instead of joy.

No matter what anyone says, business IS personal and it should be because your business, and the way you conduct it, is a direct reflection of who you are as a person.  Our goal is to make 98 Bottles a family  not only for us (the people who work here) but also for you (the people who play here).

We realized last week that we were forgetting about our business promise. Grateful for the epiphany, we knew we needed to share it with you so that WE would not forget and so that you would hold us to it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Conditional Love

There is one thing for sure, so far we couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome to the neighborhood! Local residents, neighboring businesses and yes, even the THE MAN, have all given us a big thumbs up. SDPD (San Diego Police Department) to CCDC (City Centre Development Corporation) to ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) and every other alphabetic arm of government in between have all shown us the love for what we are trying to do. BUT that love is NOT unconditional, after all this is government, not a puppy. One permit alone bears the weight of 30 separate conditions. Here are just some of the wacky things we have agreed to just to keep the LOVE coming:

-       No Public Dancing  - That’s right folks, feel free to tap your feet and shimmy in your chair, but if you want to stand up and boogie you’ll have to follow Kevin Bacon to the grain factory outside the city limits of Beaumont.
-       Amplified Music to be Played in the Back Half of the Space – Despite solid concrete walls, train tracks directly behind us and planes that narrowly clear our building every 10 minutes or so, we’ve been asked to keep the noise down by keeping amplified music confined to the back half of our space. And, we have to keep the front doors closed!
-       Must Remind Patrons to be Quiet When Leaving – This one we support whole-heartedly. After all, the residents that live close by were living here way before 98 Bottles. So we will be reminding you regularly to please be quiet as you walk to your cars after a fun evening.  You can consider this our first official, “SSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH”.
-       Retail Beer Purchases Must Be Sold in Quantities of 6 or More –THE CHALLENGE: few quality craft beers come in 6-packs. THE SOLUTION: we are offering mix-and-match 6 (or more) packs. This way you can try 6 new craft beers or buy 5 of your favorites and one new one to try. AND DON’T WORRY…the quantities of 6 or more applies only to our retail store. You are more than welcome to enjoy just one brewsky inside the lounge or at the bar. Though, we certainly won’t complain if you buy six.
-       Must Have an Independent Emergency Phone Line for the ADA Lift- We completely get this if the ADA lift were outside, in a hallway, or enclosed. Our lift is a 4-foot, open riser INSIDE our space! But this condition ensures that if the lift does get stuck, the stuckee will now have not one, but two options to get help:
1.  Simply say “Um, excuse me 98 Bottles staffer (who is 10 ft away), the lift is jammed”
2.  Hit the emergency call button that will then dial an outside emergency service to come and assist (and hopefully hang around for a cold one afterward) 
NOTE: If the lift is not stuck, DO NOT test the call button. If the lift is stuck, please choose option 1.
-       No Outside Promoters or DJ’s – Let’s get one thing straight. We want everyone to promote 98 Bottles outside. This condition just means we can’t pay someone else to make us cool. As far as the DJ thing is concerned, oh well. I guess you’ll just have to listen to us on the 1’s and 2’s. DJ Double Click From My Preset ITunes Playlist is back bitches… whickey whickey! Word to your mother.