Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Justin Whitfield . We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Justin, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Can you recount a story of an unexpected problem you’ve faced along the way?
I bought The Wildcatter in February of 2017. It took us three months to set a sales record. This place had been a bar or Ice House for over three decades prior. By the seventh month…we were hit by Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane spawned multiple tornadoes and a tornado took out my antique wood panel truck that was used for advertisement. After the hurricane and tornado hit us, the flood waters would submerge The Wildcatter under 3-4 feet of water. Year 3 would find us battling a severe ice storm that would cause over 30 breaks in my plumbing. Year 4…well, that’s when covid hit. Being closed for the pandemic was hard but we made it and the first 5 months that we reopened would be record months! During this time, the bar grew into a live music venue capable of holding up to 2500 people. Acts that have performed here such as Whiskey Myers, uncle Kracker, Eli young band, sir mix a lot, blue oyster cult, everlast…the list goes on and on. We made it through the hard times and the good times are now ahead!
Justin, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I owned a bar named The End Zone Sports Bar & Grill from 2005-2017. I was done with the bar biz. I put the bar up for sale. One morning I see a post on Fb about The Wildcatter closing in 4 days. I look at my wife and tell her that’s the bar that was on the show bar rescue. It got made over and now it’s closing…she said to me I should go buy it. I said “sure” in a very sarcastic way. Long story short…it was the best move I’d ever made business wise! The little nudge from my wife was the push I needed to make our dreams come true! Now, I look forward to coming to work, unlike when I owned the End Zone.
Conversations about M&A are often focused on multibillion dollar transactions – but M&A can be an important part of a small or medium business owner’s journey. We’d love to hear about your experience with selling businesses.
The day I was driving to The Wildcatter to close the deal, it had been something that took months to finalize but the day came to sign the paperwork. As I was driving to close the deal, someone called me. It was the guy looking to buy End Zone. He said he was ready to close the deal and wanted to meet me immediately to finalize it. I literally bought and sold the two bars at the same time in the same place. I couldn’t have timed it any better.
Can you share one of your favorite marketing or sales stories?
When the pandemic started, I woke up one morning to read about all the proms being cancelled due to covid. I made a post on my Fb page offering free proms. The post hit over 100,000 views and we hosted 6 proms. Nobody got sick and they all got their prom memories! I’ve booked many parties since then due to the appreciation from the parents.