I Bought a Bar Today...
“I bought a bar today!” That was what I spent an entire day telling people four years ago. April 25, 2016, I went to The Wicked Sister, took down the liquor license and went to Central Savings Bank to sign papers. From there, I grabbed a to-go lunch at Zorba's and headed South to Gaylord, then to Traverse City for two trade shows. The next day, I drove to Lansing to have the liquor license reissued in my name. Then I drove to Grand Rapids to celebrate my friend’s graduation from Grand Valley’s Teacher Ed. program and finally drove back to the Soo. (Somewhere in that time period, I also managed to talk myself out of what could have been a very costly speeding ticket.)
On April 27, I proudly hung a new liquor license on the wall and The Wicked Sister reopened for business as usual. Life moved on and most of our guests were blissfully unaware of how my life had changed; at the most basic level, I had gone from employee to self-employed. What felt like a whirlwind two days, has turned into a whirlwind four years! And despite all The Wicked Sister successes and growing pains, I think I will remember those two days like I remember the day I got married and the days my children were born.
In the last four years, I’ve seen all three kids start new schools– one is now in middle school! I dye my hair way more often. My husband received a promotion at his job. I’ve lost two grandparents. And despite making some incredible friendships, I’ve also lost touch with a few close friends. The Wicked Sister has been the recipient of several prestigious awards given from community groups. To say a lot has changed in four years would be an enormous understatement.
The Wicked Sister, under my direction, has seen 86 employees come through its door – not bad for a restaurant in four years considering 24 of those fantastic people are still on the schedule when The Wicked Sister can reopen for dine in sales. Of the sixty-two others, the majority have left The Wicked Sister to pursue bigger and better things, like chasing their dreams and life’s passion. For better or worse, I have learned something from each and every person that has allowed me to be their employer.
This day has always been something that I’ve celebrated privately. The Wicked Sister will always celebrate the day it opened on January 6, 2015. Today’s milestone simply has marked a changing of the guard. I was here from the beginning helping my mom and aunts run the business. I’ve always joked that the biggest changes after I bought the bar meant that I was responsible for payroll and recycling: And if I’m being honest, Bob has handled the recycling for the last four years.
Today, in the middle of a pandemic that has impacted so many, and has obliterated the restaurant industry, specifically; I’m taking a moment to reflect on the last four years and to look forward to the future. After a little thought and some wine, here’s what I know:
1. The Wicked Sister does not exist because I simply want it to. It’s a team effort and takes amazing people working beside me, giving 110% every day. I’m grateful for the crew I’ve curated (past & present) who’ve supported me, continue to grow with me and even call me out when I do things that simply don’t make any sense.
2. Along the same lines, it takes guests coming through the door to ensure The Wicked Sister has money to make payroll, pay our vendors and has some left over to give back to the community that, without hesitation supports us. This fact has never been more apparent than in our current situation!
And that’s it!! Four years in, and those are the only two things that I know for certain! I’ve probably learned a few other things over the years, but those are the two most important truths that I know about The Wicked Sister.
Here are a few fun facts about The Wicked Sister over the last four years –
1) We’ve sold almost 2.25 TONS of Construction Dip! That’s nearly 4,500 pounds or the weight of an average American car or a White Rhino. (Huge thanks to my friend, Mindi, for helping me put that number into perspective!)
2) The Wicked Sister has sold over 350,000 pounds of burger in four years!
3) We’ve featured over 470 different types of draft beer and have sold over 7,000 gallons of beer on draft since April 2016. On average, The Wicked Sister sells five gallons of draft beer each day. That's just shy of a sixtel barrel each day!
4) The Wicked Sister has welcomed over a quarter million guests through our door since April 25, 2016.
5) We’ve made almost 800 gallons of ranch in four years.
6) By the end of June 2020, I will have spent over a million dollars in payroll – well deserved dollars earned by local folks that is being reinvested into the community.
May is going to be an exciting month at The Wicked Sister even though we will be closed to dine-in sales through May 15! We’re crossing our fingers that our new POS system will be delivered and installed on May 1. Due to the economic effects of COVID-19, the shipment of our system was delayed a bit which means we are going to get less practice time so I’m hoping everyone will be patient while The Wicked Sister crew navigates the learning curve of our new POS. One of the biggest perks of the new system is ONLINE ORDERING! There will be a link from our website at www.wickedsistersault.com for ordering online, and you won’t have to worry about getting a busy signal if you’re trying to place an order during a busy time.
May also kicks off Burger Month! We’re finalizing the details for Burger Month 2020 and can’t wait to tell you what we have planned! The Wicked Sister will be offering two gourmet burgers for the entire month, in addition to two specialty burgers that will change weekly. There are so many possibilities that it’s hard to narrow down the selection to just ten different burgers for the entire month!
Ashley & Megan made a crap-ton of Bloody Mary & Caesar mixes today so you can get your Bloody fix for the weekend. We’re going to feature Corned Beef Hash (seasoned potatoes, house cooked corned beef, beer onions & Swiss cheese) tomorrow as a Brunch offering. If you ask nicely, Mike, Kody & Oz can probably whip up a Crab Dip Skillet for you, too. We also have plenty of sparkling wine & OJ available for you to enjoy mimosas at home.
If you’re wondering how one celebrates four years of being in business – I said “goodnight” to the crew, had a glass of wine and ran some sales reports. I’ve also counted my blessings that thanks to an outstanding crew & community, The Wicked Sister will, by all indications, make it through the pandemic so I can celebrate five years as a business owner in 2021. It’s not always easy and it’s not always pretty, but if you ever get the opportunity to chase your dreams – I hope you do.