MY OWN BAR – an owner’s journey

  • February 16, 2017

Becoming a bar owner has been a dream of mine during the course of my entrepreneurial career for many years. The combination of a nightlife atmosphere and ambiance, a business operation and an hospitality requirement was a combination that attracted me early on.

After going through the process of setting up the business entity and construction of a location to meet my expectations, I can look back and admit that the whole process had its share of challenges. However, having the constant vision of “Smiling Patrons” in my head for so long was they key to help me persevere and see this journey to its end.

As a first-time bar/lounge owner, I can say that the process from idea to opening day can be – and was – challenging. One of the key insights that I can share is how important is is to have a detailed step-by-step plan to follow from the beginning. Without such a plan, this process could have easily turned into a day-to-day nightmare for me. Given the fact that I was familiar with the usual steps to open a (startup) business, in this instance, I had to realize that opening a bar/lounge required a lot more work and additional expertise in navigating the regulatory process before even considering a date for a grand opening.

For this venture – B’s Wine Bar – I chose a location that was dear to my heart: Sienna Plantation, which is not only a great community, but is also where I call home. The bar is located in a business shopping enclave among other various established businesses, which should allow us to attract a broad section of patrons to come and socialize in a friendly, intimate, accessible and relaxing atmosphere. Our centrally located bar will appeal to after-work clientele from nearby offices, business travelers, stay-at-home moms (and dads) and neighborhood (young) adults looking to spend a night out, without having to drive far or deal with the crowds and traffic of the downtown nightlife. My choice for this location came about also from a constant refrain that was etched in my head and that proved accurate: location, location, location.

In my business career, this was my first venture where i had to deal with so many legal regulations regarding the sale of alcohol as governed by our state laws. As a full service bar that also offers light beers, getting the right and proper paperwork in order was a slow and arduous process in itself. A good business practice that I learned many years ago is: “Don’t Wait till the Last Minute”. This has never been more appropriate as in starting a bar where you must allow yourself ample time to secure the proper licenses, such as State Business and Occupational Licenses, County or Municipal Agencies, Building Permits and much more.

Since I first envisioned opening my own bar, I wanted it to pulsate and breathe with live music. We will be featuring several weekly nights of live music; book local musical talent from the immediate area to perform and give them an outlet for their creativity and we’ll lean on our musician friends from around the world to book them for special appearances. To that effect, I made sure not to skim on the sound system: ours is state of the art and forward-looking banger.

With the grand opening of the bar fast approaching, my duties now have shifted to a greater percentage dedicated to marketing and promotion and we are creating unique ads using various mediums – radio, video, print, social media, blog, vlog, Facebook and Youtube streams, etc, and have already begun scheduling firm calendar dates for our list of upcoming events. One thing I am keen on capturing is the live atmosphere and ambiance in the bar and the patrons feedback and enjoyment of the place. To that end, I have signed on an interactive blogger/photographer to take candid live pics and videos in and around the bar on most nights. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself accosted by a certain mild-mannered hipster who wants to capture your smile for our blog. When he does approach you, just smile and share the love and fun time with us and our online clientele.

My journey is only beginning with this bar and the fact that it is carrying my name gives me a greater incentive to steer it to a successful existence. I anticipate the work ahead to be even more challenging and looking forward to all the new things that I am about to learn on this journey. I promise to regularly come back to this blog to pen down my excitements, frustrations, achievements, failures, challenges, etc, as I follow this journey to its completion and hope my experience will encourage other female entrepreneurs to get off the fence and jump in with their own business ideas – all to give our young girls and women a sense of empowerment and an unencumbered spectrum of possibilities for their future.

Feel free to share your comments, questions, feedback, suggestions with us in the comments section below and I hope to read from you here or see you at B’s Wine Bar soon.

12 Replies to "MY OWN BAR - an owner’s journey"

  • Angela Harden
    March 31, 2017 (11:24 pm)

    Congratulations and made Everything You Touch prosper

  • Belva Allen-Robinson
    April 3, 2017 (8:55 pm)

    I am so excited for y’all. When does the live music occur? I’ll be coming by soon, can’t wait.

    • Bonita Billings
      April 26, 2017 (1:48 pm)

      Hello Belva,

      Thank you for commenting on “An Owner’s Journey” and I appreciate your excitement about B’s Wine Bar. Live music is every Friday and Saturday night beginning at 8:00pm. Hope to see you soon.

  • Tyrone A. Lavigne
    April 21, 2017 (1:01 pm)

    Being a lover of jazz music,I would love to hear more jazz groups.However,being a resident of Sienna I can understand the need to book some acts that may attract the ethnic diversity of Sienna and surrounding area ,to survive in this demanding business. B’Wine Bar I feel is a great addition to this area.I will definitely support you.Good Luck.

    • Bonita Billings
      April 26, 2017 (1:57 pm)

      Hello Tyrone,

      Thank you for commenting on “An Owner’s Journey.” I am also a lover of jazz music and yes we do try to capture diversity in the area. Check out our website and follow B’s Wine Bar on facebook for future events and guest JAZZ artist. If you are a Joe Carmouche fan, stop by B’s Wine Bar on May 13th, he’ll be performing. Ask for B and introduce yourself, I’d love to meet you.

    • B.Scott
      June 30, 2017 (9:22 pm)

      I agree with Tyrone’s comment. Being from New Orleans I would love to have a place to enjoy some smooth jazz and a few glasses of wine. My two favorite things at one location would be amazing! Congrats on making a dream of yours come true and I will be sure to tell my friends and family about B’s Wine Bar.

  • Andre and Chekiter esther
    May 30, 2017 (6:20 pm)

    Congrats! We look forward to visiting you there soon.

  • Thelma Gilliam
    July 6, 2017 (2:37 pm)

    Glad to hear you’re in the area. I’ll be stopping in this evening with friends to check things out!

  • Danita Carey
    July 26, 2017 (10:40 am)

    Just heard about your Wine Bar. Can’t wait to visit. Thank you for sharing your dream. It gives me hope that I to will have my own business which has been a dream of mine for many years.

  • Valerie (GiGi) Savage
    November 14, 2017 (11:28 am)

    I’ve visited B’s Wine Bar on several occasions and I find the atmosphere to be warm and inviting. I N’Joy the live band of Jazz music as I take a sip of my glass of wine. Congratulations on all of your Endeavors wishing you longevity and much success.

  • Joseph Joubert
    December 5, 2017 (10:05 am)

    It had your name on it ALL THE TIME! Love your story. Your dream finally caught up with you. Much Success…

    J J

  • Charlotte boyance Johnson
    July 15, 2018 (4:43 pm)

    I discovered B’s wine bar on accident and decided to check it out. I have been back several times since and decided to place an ad their for my own business. The owner is friendly and approachable. What an awesome place with lots of ambiance and class. The live entertainment is great. I am so proud of this sista. B you did an awesome job putting this together. When you have a vision like you did all it takes is execution. You did that! You rock!

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