Mongrel’s is becoming a reality. Last week I established Mongrel’s as an Limited Liability Company. What is Mongrel’s, other than a bar? You will soon find out!
I have spent over two years developing this restaurant. The process to get here has been nothing but education and frustration. And it’s only the beginnig. The education has more than paid off. I would tell anyone jumping into this business to develop a business plan and continue to rework it over and over. I will also tell you that the amount of negativity from others is high. I have yet to meet anyone that seems to be excited about their restaurant or bar. I realize and acknowledge times are tuff, however it is an opportune moment to establish oneself. Leases are more affordable, prices are lower and customers are looking for something new. I am not going to tell you this process is all fun or fast, but it is a learning experience and if the right opportunity presents itself, it has a chance. This is not a race! More than anything you have to believe in your restaurant and product. It has a chance with hard work and diligence.
I believe what I have created will bring something new to Savannah and become a destination for locals and tourist alike. In order to do this I have to reach both markets in different ways. Attract tourist and not discourage locals from being a influential part in Mongrel’s development. Advertise and market different from the rest of Savannah retail. Get a little loud and attract the attention of the people and media. Supply quality product and service with character. Figure out how to bring Savannah locals back downtown?
With an estimated 6.4 million visitors, it looks good on paper, but dig a little deeper and the average tourist is only staying 1.5 nights. What does Savannah have to offer? Lots, but only for a day and a half… then Disney World for a week! For a long time I have deemed Savannah as a great place, just leave the kids at home. Come for the history, see the gardens, eat some expensive fried chicken and have a drink(or a couple). Savannah seems to be in a state of flux these days. Trying hard to be more family friendly. I have on occasion stated that Garden City be bulldozed and turned into a six flags, if Savannah wants to be a family friendly destination. Parasailing and scuba excursions off the Savannah River? I think not!
Savannah is and needs to stay the “Hostess city of the South” it needs to focus on turning the downtown into a high volume commercial district with affordable and value added shops that both the local and tourist markets can create interest, afford and utilize. While keeping the beauty of the old south that we love. It is time for Broughton Street, City Market, and River Street to upgrade.
When the 1996 Summer Olympics came to Georgia, cities cleaned and made themselves presentable to the hundreds of thousands of guest that would be welcomed. 14 years later it is time to do it again! Downtown businesses should consider staying open later hours to attract locals who are unable to take advantage of shopping during the day and fill a gap. At 6 PM lots of retail stores close, some people may go to dinner others will go home. Around 10 PM the city starts to come back to life in some areas due to the late night bars and clubs.
We also need to establish more festivals that would attract more interest and reinforce those that already exist. We need to find a way to keep tourist and locals downtown longer and more often!