Bartender to Business Owner
Amanda Ransom Profits from Her Passion
Amanda Ransom loves being behind a bar. She started bartending at age 19, and even after exploring different fields in college, she found herself returning to bartending. Over the years she realized she finally wanted to go into the business for herself. Ransom spent several months looking for the right opportunity, and when it finally presented itself, she set things in motion.
Ransom approached two colleagues who had invested in other businesses within the industry, and the three agreed to form a partnership. In February 2015, they completed the purchase of Stoli’s Lounge off 120th & Dodge. “The location was perfect,” Ransom said. “It’s right in the middle of the city with a good mix of business and residential, and it’s easy access off of the interstate and off of Dodge. When you market right, you can pull in all that clientele.”
The bar quickly underwent a renovation. Ransom said she liked the bones of the space, but it needed to be cleaned up. “The color scheme is much better now, it’s clean, classy, has better drinks, and is a place where women can feel comfortable, which is what I wanted,” she explained. “It’s a good melting pot for people, and even if you come in by yourself, it’s hard not to have a conversation within five minutes of sitting down.”
"You're going to succeed if you're passionate about it, but you also need to know the business. Do your research ahead of time."
- Amanda Ransom
The process of purchasing the business went smoothly, which Ransom attributes to having a business brokerage like The Firm serve as the mediator between parties. She also said knowing what you want and having a business plan is key to buying any business. “You’re going to succeed if you’re passionate about it, but you also need to know the business,” she said. “Do your research ahead of time.”
The partnership turned out to be the right move. The experience of Ransom’s partners is valuable when she needs to make big decisions, but she is in charge of daily operations. “They didn’t just invest in a business, they invested in me, and they trust me,” she said. “It’s a great working relationship, and I think we have a good thing going.”
Because she’s been in the business so long, Ransom said she knows what works and what doesn’t. She likes the fact there isn’t a kitchen, which adds a lot of costs to a bar, but food trucks often park right outside. Stoli’s also has a heavy emphasis on NFL Sundays, and also has theme parties every few months. Next year they plan to put in an outdoor patio as well. “Once we get people in the door, they love it, they stay, and come back again,” she said.
Even though the first year is going well and Ransom is pleased with the result, she recognizes the need to keep improving and the importance of working hard. “Owning a bar is a lot of fun, but it’s still a business,” she said. “This is where I belong and what I’m good at. I’m on cloud nine and look forward to doing this for the next 30 years.”
The Firm Deal Review
Reason for Sale: Moved to Colorado
Days on Market: Under 120 days
Business Established: 2005
Location: 120th and Dodge Street