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  • Writer's pictureAmber Coburn

Why a Speakeasy Concept in a Small Town of 1,000 People?

Updated: Oct 3, 2019

Why not? Just because we live in a small town, does not mean the demand for class and luxury isn't real. White Sulphur Springs' economy is built almost solely on tourism. Whether it is hunting, floating the Smith River, or soaking in the natural hot springs, the town has a lot to offer. Despite the small population size, people travel through in droves, but what is there to do? Well, there are a lot of bars that serve the same food and offer similar atmospheres. We wanted a completely different concept that stood out from the burger and fries options already available around town. There needed to be something fun and different for people to do. Additionally, there is absolutely no fine dining anywhere in town or another small, sophisticated space for people to rent out for private parties. We decided on the concept and went for it.

Speakeasy Style Entrance

We do not have any signage nor any advertisements or banners that make people come in. We decided not to have a hidden entrance because that would be too hard at the beginning (not that we won't ever have one), but we have a side street entrance. It is based on word of mouth which was a little tough to manage at first. We opened towards the start of our slow season, so we spent many nights sitting in the restaurant serving maybe 1 to 2 customers. It made us want to throw a huge sign on the building, put ads in every paper, and offer our friends free drinks to come in, but we didn't do that. We wanted it to be so good that everyone wanted to be there and only the people enthusiastic enough to find it could enjoy how great it is.

The idea of a speakeasy is fun and interesting. Hopefully, one day we will be so busy that a secret entrance is what we will need to limit the number of people we have in the building. One idea I thought that would be fun, is having a telephone outside that customers have to pick up and then the employees inside will answer the phone and direct the customers inside through the back entrance. There are so many possibilities and it is going to be so fun to watch the town and business change over the years. Do not be scared to do something unique and different, especially in a small town. If you do it right, the people will come and the community will not only be supportive, but grateful for the opportunity to try something new.


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