We were lucky to catch up with Monte Large recently and have shared our conversation below.
Monte, appreciate you joining us today. What sort of legacy are you hoping to build. What do you think people will say about you after you are gone, what do you hope to be remembered for?
To preserve and create beautiful places for people. To alter the urban landscape in Houston so that it is one where people, nature, and art are prioritized, where walkability is king, and where loads and loads of cool independent places exist. And, more recently, to be the best dad in the world.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Axelrad is a sprawling drink, food, music, art, nature, hammock, festival, market, and performance venue set in and around a historic grocery store building in Houston, TX,
Events are daily and include live music, films, and performances. All are free. While we could probably make more money if we charged entry or tickets for events, our business model allows us to program these items free to the public by selling drinks and other items. We were thinking first and foremost about being an amenity for our community, so we wanted to create a place that is always welcoming and free to enter, where one can go and just hang out. Although COVID has made our business model extremely challenging, we have luckily been able to continue and expand hosting a range of events.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
We were intent on bringing as many investors/partners as possible, even if they invested just a tiny amount. In our view, the more people from the community that had a personal interest in the business, the better. More people not only meant built-in marketing, we also were interested in our business being a reflection of and benefit to the surrounding community. What better way than to have many voices always helping guide the direction of the business?
Has your business ever had a near-death moment? Would you mind sharing the story?
When COVID hit and Texas mandated businesses like ours close, that was a frightening moment. Not only were we concerned for the health and safety of our staff and families, we wanted to make sure our staff felt at least some stability in their income. With our business closed and absolutely no revenue, we had to make some very difficult decisions. Luckily, we had been saving up to renovate a portion of our building. Not knowing what the future held or how long we might have to be closed, we dipped into those funds, stopped paying ourselves (the owners), and paid the bartenders and staff as much as we were able. Those were tense months from which we are still recovering, but we are lucky and fortunate to have had a safety net to get through.
- Website: www.axelradbeergarden.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/axelradhouston/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/axelradhouston
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtx3sLj3UEo
Houston Chronicle, GQ Magazine, GOODSPERO, Mario Rodriguez, Coffee Guzman