Beau and Jenna Black, owners of The Bookcase & Barber, a Prohibition-era themed bar and barbershop, will add a new bar and 20 more seats.
“It will allow us to expand the size of private parties we accept,” said Jenna Black.
The expansion, which is expected to be completed by April 1, will be especially helpful for things such as groomsmen parties.
“We’ve had to turn down parties of more than 30 people,” she said.
The business, located at 601 East Second Ave., Suite B, presents itself to the world as a barbershop, and patrons there for a haircut or beard trim receive complimentary beer from the hidden bar.
Those who are there for a drink enter the barbershop and reach the bar, called The Bookcase, through a false door disguised as a bookcase.
But patrons aren’t shown through the secret door until they have shared the correct password with the barber.
A new separate bar, The Archive, will be entered through a sliding farm door from The Bookcase, and it will constitute the new 20-seat addition slated for the April Fools’ Day opening.
“We want to keep that speakeasy feel,” Jenna Black said. “We really wanted to maintain that Great Gatsby quality.”
The Archive will have a separate bar, allowing The Bookcase and The Archive to operate separately or together, giving the business flexibility in serving private parties.
The Archive’s décor will feature 100-year-old sheet music on a wall, several piano tables and a pine bar made by Beau Black’s brother, Paul.
Jenna Black describes The Bookcase as having more of a railroad-era feel replete with railroad ties.
“The Archives,” she said, “will be more like you were invited to Gatsby’s house. He was the party guy.”
It will feature couch seating, and the Blacks will add Sutcliffe wines from the McElmo Canyon vineyard.
Barbers at the business rent chairs from the Blacks, and they have proven so popular, a scheduling app is on the business’ website. Jenna Black said the barbers are usually fully scheduled, and walk-ins are usually out of luck. So, the app is the best way to see a barber.
Beau Black said a symbiotic relationship has developed between the barbershop and the speakeasy – each boosting the business of the other. The Archive will occupy space that formerly served as office space for the now-closed Sushitarian. To maintain the speakeasy feel, a password will be required to get into The Archive, which will be available at The Bookcase & Barber website.
The current password, which is changed quarterly, is “Saint Peter sent me over.”
The expansion also added a storage room and an office. Office functions had been preformed out of the Blacks’ house.
They plan to add four or five more employees to the bar and wait staff, bringing total employees – a mix of part- and full-time positions – to 15.
The addition of employees allowed the Blacks to use the Region 9 Economic Development District for financing. Because the business is adding employees and is considered in its start-up phase, Region 9 business loan officer Jenny Stollar said it was able to help with financing.
“Most banks want to see two years of financial statements,” Stollar said. “The business was limited by space. So this will definitely allow them to grow and add jobs.”
Stollar said Region 9 often adds bridge financing: For example, if a business needs $150,000 and a bank can provide only $100,000, Region 9 can often provide the other $50,000.
Most Region 9 loans are for $50,000 to $100,000. The maximum amount of a loan is $350,000, but it comes with a lot more strings attached, Stollar said.
Currently, Region 9 has a $5.4 million loan portfolio, and it makes about $2 million in loans per year, she said.