Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mardi Gras Party marks end of some things, the start of others.

 Yes, we are having a big event on Saturday the 18th of February at The Wolf.  No, it is not an ordinary event and not just a big Mardi Gras party, the reason a lot of  folks get together on a nasty Saturday afternoon in February. Nope, this event will mark much more than just a party with bands and parades and profundity (my wife warned me if things get unsavory, she will pull the plug). It will be my farewell, my stepping down and out of the Wolf Public House, out of the light and into the...history of things.  I will be handing the keys over to the staff to take the joint where they want to take it. It's time to focus on other things, turn the page, start a new chapter.  After four years, a ton of vision, time, money and energy, my work is pretty much done and there are many things to be proud of.  The canvass is complete and most of you are part of the masterpiece. 

I'd like to put things in to perspective.  The Wolf has been a gift from Pfoodman to the community while we piloted a new part of our business.  This was the plan from the start and certainly one that evolved over time. Pfoodman's relationship with The Wolf has served its purpose.  The plan was to find a shuttered kitchen and use it as a commissary for the launching of our K-12 Division of Private Elementary Food Services.  The restaurant?--it was an afterthought and we worked very hard to make it sustainable.  If anyone wants a lesson in developing a brand on the fly without a plan, contact me. This practicum has been important to my continuing to open retail restaurants, not!  However, the original plan and program has been so successful that we outgrew the space in less than two years and had to move operations to another location.  Since then, Pfoodman and the brand "Wild Thyme's Wellness" has operations at Chaminade, Whitfield School, Foresythe School, New City School, Chesterfield Day School, and many others on board for next school year.  Wild Thymes Wellness was launched in four of your higher education accounts this year as well.  This is where I will be focusing my time.
Nope, the shuttered restaurant called Zhivago's that sat empty on the cornerstone of Ballwin and Chesterfield for several years, that Russian Vodka Bar with Club Enigma below that pissed off the neighbors each night...I am not sure that was much of a gift. In fact, one of my fondest memories is when I went in front of the board of aldermen to apply for a liquor license and the neighborhood got up in arms, saying "folks will be sleeping on our decks again". Not kidding. We wanted to be on the cutting edge of introducing craft beer to a coffee house concept.  It seems to have worked.  The entertainment was next, kind of a hit too if I don't say so myself. Someone say Jimmyleg lives! The Wolf continues to evolve and the time is right for me to step aside.

The Wolf has changed the world a bit, in my opinion.  From the sponsorship of active living events in our community like the Short Track Dirt Crits, The Moonlight Howl 5k Run, The Ballwin Days Bike and Blues Experience, the support of so many other charitable events that I have lost count.  And lets not forget the impact the Wolf Public House has had on the Endangered Wolf Center.  These and other events are some of my biggest branding accomplishments as a brand guy, a promoter and event manager.  We have elevated the spirit in the community, advocated a standard of living that resonates the best of active lifestyle, art and culture, entrepreneurship and community stewardship.  The Wolf has indeed been a medium for delivering my expressive aptitude, my workshop, my classroom and a window looking in to the good life.
I remember when I used to get angry at my father for being so rampant in his entrepreneurial endeavors. I remember his purpose centered on the "big swing and hit out of the park".  The home run, the big payout.  Not much of a focus on anything other than prosperity.  It worked for a bit, only to one day have the auction company arrive at the house and sell all of the memories in the house I grew up in. 

The Wolf isn't like that, it is strong and getting stronger.  We have never compromised the mission of delivering a quality product while advocating the spirit of good living and community stewardship; a "service" held each day for the community to come and "be", amongst the multitude of churches up and down Clayton Road.  This gift will keep on giving and I urge the community to step up and support that which is now a part of the fabric.  Cherish the small business hero's if you can, support them with your patronage.  Seek to keep them in your community by buying local and independent.  Toss a bill at your homeys today for a better tomorrow,  ifyoukonwhatimtalkinbout.     


Anonymous said...

Rock on, JimmyLeg Ralph.


Anonymous said...

Good luck Ralph!
I have a feeling that truck will never come to your door!

Geezer Built Rustic Woodcraft said...

You big fat quitter!

Geezer Built Rustic Woodcraft said...

you big fat quitter!