Cleveland Businesses Blog Series
We are starting a series of blog and social media posts that look at local small businesses and people that have been affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. I sit down (virtually) with the owner and discuss how they, their business and their staff are doing through this crisis. We also chat about fun things like what they are watching on TV and how they are occupying their time when they are not working. This is my interview is with Joey Fredrickson, the Owner & Operator of Society Lounge.
Society Lounge is a craft cocktail establishment located in the middle of downtown Cleveland’s E. 4th St restaurant scene. Their “passion is for concocting the highest quality cocktails and creating an atmosphere where their guests can partake in old fashion interactions.” Hand crafted cocktails, amazing seasonal foods and private event space are all on the menu at Society.
How are you doing?
Joey says he is doing pretty well, all things considered. He is healthy and he is trying to use this time for personal study and growth, when he is not working. Although the Lounge is closed, there is still plenty to do.
The majority of his work time is spent on his on Society Lounge but he is also on the Board for the US Bartender’s Guild. They offer a Bartender’s Emergency Assistance Program. The program went from about 12 active applications to over 250,000 in a matter of days! Needless to say they are a little overwhelmed. Joey has been working on a volunteer orientation program to help train new folks to review the applications.
Joey has been using the time to read more, and get out and do some more running as part of a marathon training program he is doing. He feels time and energy are the most valuable resources and wants to devote his energy into using this time to do better for himself, his business and others.
How is the business doing?
Society Lounge is closed and did furlough their employees. They are using this time to do tasks like deep cleaning and organizing. They are adding a new service bar in the kitchen. And they continue to work on the revamp of their menu. The new menu will have a Cleveland focus.
They are also looking at new ideas as well. Currently, you can check out their Women Crush Wednesday Facebook Live events at 7:30 pm. They are considering other video options and possibly a Drink Kit that you can pick up at Society and then follow along with the video to learn a new cocktail from the comfort of your own home.
Joey is also focusing on the SBA Cares Act loan application, withe the hopes of ultimately bringing his staff back to work.
How is the Staff?
One of the great things Joey is doing with his staff is weekly calls. This is an opportunity for him to check in on them and for them to connect with their co-workers virtually. They discuss and share resources that are available to them as Ohioans as well as restaurant employees. All have applied for unemployment but most, of course, are still waiting.
What have you been doing for fun?
One television show that Joey has been watching is Tiger King. But much of his time has been reading. He and his girlfriend have been doing a lot of cooking, making everything from homemade noodles, chicken pot pies and corn beef & cabbage. They, like many of us, have been doing a lot of walking and running. Joey told me that downtown is so beautiful and peaceful these days. One advantage is it makes running easier with less distractions.
What is your favorite drink?
So since Joey owns a bar dedicated to craft cocktails, I had to ask what his favorite drink was. He told me to relax, it would be a Manhattan. But for fun it is a lime Daiquiri. I did learn something new in this interview, a daiquiri doesn’t have to be frozen. In fact his lime daiquiri is served up, with rum, lime juice and simple sugar mix. Sounds great! I can not wait to go back to Society Lounge and try one!
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