Serial entrepreneur Josh Widner is targeting the Commercial Street and Galloway Village areas for his next ventures.
Speaking this morning as Springfield Business Journal’s guest for the 12 People You Need to Know live interview series, Widner said he wants to get into the food business. He’s known for bar concepts Scotch & Soda, Golden Girl Rum Club, Cherry Picker Package and Fare, and Best of Luck Beer Hall in downtown Springfield and the Rountree neighborhood. He recently added Good Spirits Concepts LLC, a management company for the ventures.
“I really want to sell food. I’ve made a living selling alcohol,” he said during an interview with SBJ Editor Eric Olson at Hilton Garden Inn. “I’m hoping to fill some restaurant voids. I’m always creating. I’m always writing business plans.”
C-Street and Galloway Village are top of mind for ventures including a food hall, a European-style concept that’s a large-scale, open floor eatery. He and Good Spirits business partner Jim Wilson had been looking at sites on C-Street, but negotiations fell through.
“The food hall’s got to be the right place, right time,” he said, noting “there’s a thousand factors to make it work.”
The food hall previously was slated to occupy the former Bistro Market downtown, but he and Wilson called that off last year.
Widner this morning said a $1.5 million investment would have been needed to make the concept work at the former Bistro Market, in a building he didn’t own and likely wouldn’t be able to obtain.
“That size of project gives me anxiety,” he said.
A native of the Queen City, Widner said he’s made a point to launch ventures in Springfield, despite hearing from others that his ideas would work better in other cities.
“Springfield’s my hometown. I would rather make a difference here,” he said. “I do it for a purpose. I love my city.”
Widner said he takes inspiration from other cities, such as Chicago and Seattle, to make Springfield a better place to live.
“Creating a town where people want to play as well as work in is huge,” he said. “Bigger cities are looking at us. I hope it continues to grow.”
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