How did you get started in this business?
I was a part time bar manager and bartender in Germany at the American Legion in Waldorf. Todd was a manager of Slate Street Billiards for about six years.
I was a patron of this establishment since the day they opened 18 years ago, and one day the opportunity arose to buy the joint. Once I found out they were trying to sell it I went to talk with the owner. She was tired of it, and lived out of state. As you can imagine, it was hard for her to manage. Todd was also already looking into buying the bar as well, so we teamed up and bought the business.
Why did you choose to do business in Rio Rancho?
Rio Rancho is home. I moved here in 1993, and it's been my home ever since. After my retirement from the Air Force in ‘96, I was looking to open a business I could enjoy.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
To have fun.
- Company name: Slate Street Billiards
- Type of business: Bar and Grille
- Owners: Steve Ricar & Todd Mack
- Business Address: 2003 Southern SE Ste 139
Rio Rancho NM 87124505-944-0363
- Business Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-2am, Sunday 11am-12am
- Business Website: slatestreetbilliards.com
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We added more local beers, we now have 30 tap handles up from 22. We also added TVs, we have 19 of them.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
We have 15 nine-foot pool tables which make us one of the largest poolhalls in the city.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
We're the only bar in Rio Ranch that stays open past 10 o'clock at night. The rest are basically restaurants and breweries. We are open until 2am. Last call is at 1:20am. We show all pay-per-view UFC fight nights. You can book an area for parties. We also have the NFL ticket, so we have plenty of great football games on. And of course we have cold beer and lots of booze.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in operating a successful business?
What was your best business decision?
Buying this business. We've only had it for less than a year (June 3rd). But it's been a blast! It's a lot of fun.
What was your biggest missed opportunity?
Not doing it sooner.
How has the internet affected your business and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
Other than being a pain in the ass to keep up, Facebook is working out okay. Once you have a website up, everyone starts calling telling you they want to put you first on Google. They all need to go away. Don't be mad, just go away.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Staff: waitresses, cooks and bartenders.
If you had to choose another career or start another business what would it be?
Retirement. I'm pretty old, so if I wasn't working here I would be retired. But this job stays interesting. I like the people, I like the business, and I just have fun doing it.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
Be ready for the unexpected. We were open for one week, and on the first fight night the water heater blew! There went several thousands of dollars trying to fix the water heater on a Saturday night. So expect the unexpected. I would also say, take care of your people and they will take care of you.