How Did I Get Here?

I’m sitting here at the counter running a resale co-op on Main Street Houston.  How did I get here?

I’m a computer scientist by training, and my working career starts quite a ways back, but I was trying to do iPhone apps full time up until February of this year, when it became apparent that the income stream there was not gonna hack it.  I was in a similar situation in 2002, and I showed up at the Continental Club and helped Pete build the Big Top.  So, this time I came over again to see what was going on.

I was vaguely aware that the 3600 block of main had something going on, so came to see if I could get some mortgage money.  It turned out that the block had been obtained by a small group of investors, some directly involved in the Continental Club, some not.  The old building across from the Continental has been mostly boarded up since they moved in in 2000.  Labor Ready was here for maybe a year, before that other portions of the building had been office spaces.

They thought they were going to tear down the building, but first they gutted it.  When they took out the drop ceilings, they exposed an amazing wood roof supported only by piers in the middle of the building and wood trusses.  So, they decided to renovate it.

When I started working here in March, the place was partially framed; you could pretty much walk freely through the interior.  The plans for a while have been: a restaurant, a resale/vintage shop, a retail shop, a coffee shop, another retail shop (which ended up being Sig’s Lagoon’s new location – moving from the Continental Club building to here), and a combo barber/salon/tattoo shop.

I did various construction jobs here, mostly finish carpentry and fitting and placing windows.  The octagonal windows on Natachee’s (the not-yet opened restaurant) are my favorites.

When we got close to finishing out some of the spaces, the previous management plans for the vintage resale co-op had untangled.  Bob asked me if I’d like to own and run it.  It’s totally out of my realm of experience, but I’ve come to love this block (in the last 10 years), love the vibrancy of the light-rail city scape, and can totally see how great this are can be.  I want to be here and watch it grow into its potential and this seems a great way to do that.

So, though I have no experience directly in Resale, Vintage, or Retail, I think I have plenty of experience in Life and I’m leaning on that for my help in the new venture.  And a few other people who know what they’re doing. Every day is interesting and new, at least so far.

I almost called it Shirleyville, which I wasn’t too fond of for making it about me (it’s more about the vendors we’re getting in to me), but we ended up with Shop-o-Rama.  So, come visit when you can!

I do plan on resuming part-time iPhone development in the future.  But for now the hours I’m covering here only allow minimal effort in that regard.

New Venture

I’ve been working construction for months in an old building in Midtown, mostly installing, framing and trimming windows, with a variety of other miscellaneous tasks.  Once it’s open I will be managing one of the stores.

There was an article on the front page of the Sunday Business section of the Houston Chronicle.  Included below:

Midtown’s Continental Club is known for its live music and comfy Texas roadhouse feel.

The club, it turns out, is also an incubator for entrepreneurs who will soon open their doors one block away from the club at 3600 Main on Metro’s light rail line.

Most of the 3600 Main retailers have Continental Club connections: One tends bar and several play music there. Two helped build the club and another lives upstairs.

The soon-to-open shops at 3600 Main will not be mistaken for Highland Village. The barbershop Big Kat’s, for example, will feature a tattoo parlor with a 1940s sailor theme. Most stores will have a retro feel.

When Metro rail passengers look out the window, they may glimpse burgers grilling, a band playing and people dancing on the big patio of comfort food restaurant Natachee’s.

Continue reading New Venture

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Bar-b Que Cookoff

I’ve been to the rodeo and the livestock show bunches of times, for many years. But I’ve never been to the BBQ cookoff which happens the days before the Rodeo opens. So, I had to go when Nunnally gave me a free pass to one of the booths. Continue reading Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Bar-b Que Cookoff

Shirl’s Weekend Preview

What are you doing this weekend?

Get out of the house!

Here’s some stuff going on in Houston…

International Festival is downtown on saturday and sunday which means many stages of music and lots of food and other things to entertain. I have found their website lacking, in particular a nice grid breakdown of the music by stage & time. But you’ll likely get one at the door (for your $10, $8 from HEB), and bopping between stages is the point, not overly preplanned listening.

Friday night at the Continental Club is Sugarman 3. If you want to see some NYC Soul/Funk, this is the show. $10

Also Friday night at Last Concert Cafe there is a great Austin band, Grupo Fantasma. I saw their multi-horn array at SXSW and it was a packed, high-energy show that everyone enjoyed. $6 (?)

Music on the bands’ sites if you want to prejudge whether you’ll like it.

(I’ll be at Grupo, Int Fest (Sun, maybe Sat), and the Astros on Sat)