This is the story of a voiceover actress and a piñata maker creating a massively successful hospitality business. It’s called the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club and it’s in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Unsurprisingly, Ashley and Jonathan met in an odd way. Ashley did a voice on one of Jonathan’s favorite shows, Daria, so he found her email, contacted her, and before long they started playing shuffleboard together, as one does. On a whim they began looking at buildings where they could open up a shuffleboard club and after seeing their current space they decided it was either that or nothing. Spoiler alert: they went for it.
Being total rookies to the hospitality industry they immediately started buying coffee for anyone that could offer advice. In our conversation Jonathan was quick to point out his ongoing dismay at the cost of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) among other things they knew nothing about just a couple years ago. Yet through a combination of great advice, natural talent, and plenty of luck they pieced together a plan for a business that really works.
The two went on to raise the funds to build out the space and have been on a roll ever since. Ashley and Jonathan dish out plenty of advice in this episode but what stuck with me while editing it all together is their emphasis on fun. They’ve clearly had to make sacrifices while creating the Royal Palms but as an outsider you’d be hard-pressed to spot them. Ashley’s dream of snail races has yet to come true though there are plenty of goofy, definitely not cost-effective touches throughout the space that make it feel much more like an eccentric clubhouse than a bar or event space. All that said, the Royal Palms is doing quite well and just a few years after opening they’re already eyeing new cities for expansion, so stay tuned.
Thanks to Ashley Albert, Jonathan Schnapp, Jessi Arrington, Creighton Mershon, and our sponsor MailChimp.
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