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You could say this local biz is “legenDAIRY”…or you may say it’s milkin’ life in DT Turlock. Our June Big Little Biz feature is with Jerry Powell, the co-owner of The Udder Place– one of the most crowded bars in the area! With its country flare, how could you not want to honky tonk on in? Jerry shares what inspired this theme, and how he became a “serial entrepreneur”.
Hi Jerry! You actually have experience working in commercial real estate so you could say it would have been expected of you to someday buy your own commercial property…but why did you open up a bar?
We really wanted to do it like 25 years ago when I was younger, but this spot came along and we saw there was a need and then there was an opportunity to purchase a license. I knew about the space, which was originally the Vintage Lounge, and it just came together perfectly and my partner, Shayne Heine, and I put everything together and we did it!
Did you always want to open up your own business?
Well I have other stuff that’s my own business too. I have partners in commercial development, I own my own construction company, and I did commercial real estate and really that’s on my own too. This [The Udder Place] was just an extension of [my entrepreneurial path]. It was a business opportunity and we enjoy country music; we knew there wasn’t anything with the type of vibe or look we wanted to do so we did it.
What was the inspo for the country theme?
“Shaine works in the cow business and I grew up working on dairies and ranches and everything like that, and the history of Turlock just all relates to the ag industry. It just made sense to do it and we put our own spin on it. The “udder” part was just a play on words for “the other place” and of course “udder” tied in well with the area and the dairy industry.
Operating a bar must be a little bit more fun than your other businesses, right?
Ha! Well most people who are in business for themselves know that they’re all stressful and you’re dealing with all kinds of issues all the time. At the end of the day, Udder and The Grand Cru are a little less stressful but there’s still stress there…it’s hard to relax even though it’s a fun place. You come down and hang out at your own bar, but you’re still worrying about the drinks being served and customers being treated right, so sometimes it’s more stressful to be here than it is to be away!
The Udder Place is such a hot spot downtown! Why do you think people enjoy it here so much?
I think people like the atmosphere. It’s clean, they have fun, we do more security than we have to for code, we have clean bathrooms, women feel safe in here, our food’s good, and just the overall vibe. We stress “customer service, customer service” with our employees and I think people enjoy that and people are able to have fun in a safe environment.
Did you grow up in Turlock? And how did your childhood play a part in your path as an entrepreneur?
I grew up in Denair and Hughson. I went to Hughson High School. I was in the Marine Corp and then when I got out, I came back and I went to Stanislaus State. Eventually, my own goal was to have my own businesses, or business, and not have a boss. I like being independent so that’s probably the key thing there. I worked on ranches and dairies, so what I wanted was my own ranch so maybe that’s where it started.
It sounds like you’ve grown comfortable in Turlock. In what ways have you gotten involved with the city?
Right now, I’m on the Downtown Property Owners Board, I’m the President of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, I’m on the Chamber of Commerce, and I’m usually involved with different events we have throughout the community.
Are there any entrepreneurs you look up to?
There are some local guys that have done very well, and I read books on how to do things; I try to learn from other entrepreneurs out there. I never really put anybody famous on my mantel as like being my hero or inspiration.
Why do you love HeyTurlock?
I like that it’s directly focusing on Turlock businesses, Turlock customers, and how it’s very active on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a great tool for local businesses to get our word out to a broader base!
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