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Day in the Life with Paul Sundy

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In the hard and fast world of entrepreneurship, 34-year-old Paul Sundy is highly mobile by necessity.

Something of a serial entrepreneur, Sundy has a hand in restaurant ventures Big Whiskey’s, Parlor 88 and Dublin’s Pass. His umbrella business – a partnership with Mike Heslin dubbed English Management – serves as the management company for the establishments, as well as the Gillioz Theatre, Vintage Nightclub and, new to the mix, English Apparel & Promotional Materials.

From his downtown office – a nondescript building wedged between Missouri State University’s Jim D. Morris Center and a parking garage – Sundy has a base of operations near Park Central East, a block that visually teems with Sundy’s entrepreneurial ventures. His businesses dominate the street east of the square to Jefferson Avenue.

On this particular day – conditions prime for walking downtown with blue skies, wispy clouds and 75-degree weather – Sundy handles his first meeting at the Gillioz after dropping his children off at school.

It’s 9:30 a.m., and Sundy is in a meeting with two booking and operations managers at the “Gilly,” as he calls it, planning events, hammering out the details of bookings, and discussing tickets and other revenue makers such as drink sales. Posters line the walls, evidence of the turnaround at the Gillioz since Sundy’s English Management took over operations last September.

“I do think The Black Crowes show will sell out. That has to sell out,” he says of the May 27 concert featuring the 1990s rock act. “Let’s give it two weeks, and we’ll need to think of different marketing strategies.

“We can’t lose money. I think we just need to think bigger.”

As Sundy checks the last-minute statistics of the evening’s Gov’t Mule concert, his iPhone 5 chirps intermittently.

“If we can do $1,000 that night, I’d be a lark,” he says of an upcoming First Friday event.

Sundy moves into a scheduled 10 a.m. interview with the Springfield News-Leader about receiving the 2013 Excellence in Business Award from Ozarks Technical Community College. This is followed by a meeting with a regular Gillioz tenant; under its agreement, English Management acts as landlord for the venue, as well.

At 11:15 a.m., Sundy holds an impromptu meeting with Dave MacPherson about potentially managing his drive-through venture, Whiskey River Market in Ozark.

“I think you have a ‘have a nice day’ kind of mentality,” Sundy tells MacPherson.

With the meeting over, Sundy shifts past a pinned-up copy of a Wall Street Journal article “So, You Want To Be an Entrepreneur,” and leaves his office for a lunch meeting. His black Adidas Neo shoes hitting the pavement, Sundy covers the distance within two minutes to Big Whiskey’s; he says fielding meetings at his restaurants serves a dual purpose, allowing him to check on the operations and employees while carrying out other business.

In the corner of his restaurant, Sundy visits with Mark Gelner of distributor Premium Beverage Sales about providing beer for the May 31 Missouri Harley Owner Group Rally on Park Central Square – for which English Management has been contracted by Urban Districts Alliance to make alcohol-related decisions.

He moves back to his McDaniel Street office for an English Apparel meeting, and to catch up on phone calls and emails.

At 2 p.m., Sundy is back to Big Whiskey’s for a meeting with MSU sports marketing representative Sharry Olson, who offers him advertising space to promote the restaurant, as well as English Apparel and Dublin’s Pass, through MSU athletics events.

“Right off, I’m interested,” Sundy says of the advertising potential. “I need to talk to Mike. Mike’s the bean counter.”

From there, Sundy makes a quick stop at the English Management-run Vintage Nightclub, where he irons out last-minute details concerning a fashion show to be held that weekend to benefit Isabel’s House Crisis Nursery of the Ozarks.

At 3:30 p.m., Sundy is down the block at Dublin’s Pass to meet with Woodruff building developers Tim Roth and Matt Miller, who want to talk about the possibility of leasing out floor and roof space for restaurant and bar operations.

“That’s exciting. We’re interested,” Sundy says, as Roth and Miller listen intently to his ideas.

He then meets privately with the developers behind the $13 million apartment complex and mixed-use redevelopment project dubbed Sky Eleven.

Though he says he typically ends his work day by visiting his south-side restaurants, on this day, Sundy leaves work early to serve as assistant coach in Nixa for his son’s first baseball practice of the season.

“I lead about as normal a life as possible for the industry I’m in,” Sundy says.

Click here for the full 2013 Day in the Life.[[In-content Ad]]

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