It is almost impossible to describe the kind of preparation needed for an event that made it possible for us to do two months’ business in five days. In 1997, besides myself, I only had three employees, so I needed to hire plenty of outside help. Once again, I had my family lined up to assist me, but I still had quite a few holes in my schedule. I met bartenders in the months preceding the rally who said they would love to work, and a friend I worked with at the Office volunteered. I tried to choose people I could trust. As it turned out, I wasn’t a very good judge of character, or I just had a lousy pool to draw from.
People always assume that Johnny’s is bigger than it is. Before we added the patio in 1999, we had only 1,250 square feet to do business in, and that included the kitchen and two bathrooms. In an effort to make it easier for people to get a beer, I added a small station for draft beer on the restaurant side of my building. My Budweiser distributor rented me a trailer again, and this time we put as much beer in it as it could hold and scheduled daily deliveries. I arranged for two extra garbage pickups, ice deliveries at least twice daily, and hired a security company for help at my doors. Tommy built a new storage and office area above the bar, and I stocked it with booze, cups, juice, food products, and T-shirts. I could hardly move or get to my desk. I bought loads of extra change and locked it in my safe. I thought I had it all handled, but man, was I wrong.
With twenty Fourth of July weekends and fourteen rallies under my belt, things go a lot more smoothly than they did in the beginning. But there never fails to be a last minute problem or complication. This year the midnight alcohol cutoff is the unexpected issue that I have to deal with. Losing over an hour of prime serving time will certainly affect sales. I keep meticulous records of sales to enable me to buy the right quantities of food, alcohol, and beer. The previous year’s numbers are usually a darn good indicator of what I need to order. Insert the 2015 rally curve ball. The early closure changes everything. We will roll with the punches as we always do and pray for sales to be as good as last year despite the hiccup.
There has been a lot of publicity over this ordinance and it’s been made very clear that I am not pleased with the situation. It is important for me to say that I’m not angry with the chief or the city about this turn of events. Disappointed? Heck yeah. Irritated? You know it. However, I understand that the powers that be believe they are doing the right thing. I think that they fail to understand that the people that will be most affected by the early closure are the locals that worked hard all day and want to enjoy some social time. The folks that traveled for hours to get to Hollister after a hard day’s work and want to enjoy the concerts and then have a drink in my historic bar will also be sorely disappointed. With that said, I am still one of Chief Westerick’s biggest fans. Without him there would be no rally. He assured me that if this ordinance doesn’t pan out this year it will be eliminated next year.
We at Johnny’s are keeping a good attitude and expecting a fantastic rally. We hope that everyone keeps the positive vibe going. I can’t wait to hear about how much you all enjoyed the concerts, biker games, poker walks, contests, vendors and more.