Almost 10 years ago, an idea was born at Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds. I met Drew (my business partner) bartending at the ballpark and we quickly became friends. With an abundance of creativity and some time to shoot ideas back and forth behind the bar, we developed our first pro forma business plan:
BarSwap never got off the ground, but this idea motivated Drew and me to pack our trucks and move out West in search of the resources to start our own bar – a bar called H.I. McDunnough’s. After putting together a real business plan, looking into liquor licenses, and talking to distributors for almost a year, we decided that Phoenix, AZ wasn’t the place where we wanted to set roots. Drew and I still shared the same dreams and aspirations; the only thing that needed changing was our location. One night we each made a list of the Top 5 cities where we would like to live. Two months later we hit the road for the top spot on both of our lists, Charleston, SC.
Charleston was the best decision we could have made. We made friends quickly and got bartending jobs quickly, which gave us the motivation to keep the ball rolling on starting our own bar. After assessing the bar scene for a few months, we realized two important things: we needed to switch up our concept to better suit ourselves in the Lowcountry and we were being overly ambitious for two people who had never before owned a bar. With those realizations in mind, we started talking to investors about our new concept, The Blue Bottle Company. The BBC was a bottle-and-shot concept that eliminated large startup costs such as draft systems, walk-in coolers, dishwashers, kitchen equipment, etc.
Everything seemed to be right on track until, one night, we found ourselves with a group of friends playing “Trivia” at a bar. Drew and I looked at each other and knew right away that we had found our niche. Not only did we find ways to vastly improve the format of the game we were playing, but we saw the bigger picture. We saw a Trivia Night as a staple in every bar’s weekly lineup across the country.
The idea that was born almost 10 years ago wasn’t for a bar and it wasn’t for a trivia company; it was for a lifestyle business between two like-minded friends. Last Call was the fruition of that idea.