We were standing on the cold concrete floor in a nondescript warehouse building on the near east side of Madison. On that cold winter day, which feels like ages ago, we were discussing the potential of a wide open former paint storage building. The space was a 10,000 square-foot single story brick building with a concrete floor. There were two drive-in doors, one at each end. I suppose the old paint delivery trucks would drive in one end, load up for the day, then drive out the other end dutifully spreading new colors around the city. As a former paint warehouse it was a bit ironic to see the paint peeling on the walls and the ceiling. Little crusty edges all curled up, hanging there, looking down at the cold floor below. Clinging to the life they once knew.
Typically, when you show a warehouse space to a prospective tenant, they have warehouse questions. Does it have dock doors? How much power is available? What are the eve heights? But on this day, the questions were much different.
In that frosty concrete warehouse, I had the warming feeling only experienced when passionate visionaries do their thing. When listening to Josh and Patrick brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other I realized I was in for an entrepreneurial treat. As an entrepreneur myself, I absolutely thrive in environments when I work with smart people who explore their creativity with cerebral cohorts. As the two painted their vision for that old tired space I knew one thing for certain – no matter what would happen with that space, I knew these two were definitely going to make something amazing happen with their next endeavor.
That old paint warehouse didn’t evolve from idea to reality, but it was the first experience I had with these two restaurateurs. Every once in a while you come across truly special visionaries in life. Their words and actions model the way for pushing yourself towards your best self. There was no doubt in my mind that I would help Josh and Patrick reach their next success — no matter where that location would be. Patrick and Josh had already proven themselves with Merchant.
What would their next adventure be? Without a doubt, I knew the next restaurant/bar would be an engaging environment offering a vibrant destination for a remarkable experience. The food and drink menus would be individually curated to match the vision for their shared enterprise. My confidence in their new space grew as we toured location after location. With each space we toured, a new vision was created. Different neighborhoods needed different concepts. Different spaces had different neighbors. Each space had its own feel and yearned for its own individual renewal.
That type of renewal doesn’t happen easily. One of the great success secrets Patrick and Josh understand and implement on a daily basis is they only surround themselves with the very best. Their final design and implementation team included over 100 people and businesses. This team included OPN, an architectural firm with a vision so large they helped rebuild half a city after massive floods destroyed much of it. Ideal Builders, one of Madison’s finest construction firms and with leadership committed to the highest of standards. Distillery Design, a Madison branding and marketing firm that exudes exquisite attention to detail and handcrafts many one-of-a-kind designs for every detail, from wooden drink menus to metal receipt holders.
As you know, Lighthouse CRE was all in. No matter how many spaces we needed to see, no matter how many negotiations we needed to start, we were willing to do whatever it took to negotiate the very best deal in the perfect location. The passion and professionalism from the team created a momentum and commitment that pushed everyone to deliver their personal best.
As it turned out, we toured space after space, month after month, year after year. It seems a bit surreal looking back at all that time and all those spaces. I suppose I could have asked myself if I was crazy to keep searching so hard and for so long. Many of my peers would have tapped out, moving on to their next opportunity.
We had good reason to keep searching so hard. Patrick and Josh have a powerful WHY. There is no doubt in my mind that Josh and Patrick want to create such powerful spaces that guests can’t help but laugh more often, love more often, and live more often. The sounds, sights, textures, aromas, tastes, and the grit of life grabs hold of you when you are in their restaurants and bars. With Josh and Patrick, spaces once cold and desperate are flipped from old to new, from dead to alive, from lost and forgotten to sought and desired.
Take one step into their restaurants and you will find your best self. You will see others seeking theirs. It’s a shared mission to seek the very best in all you do, to be the very best you know you can be. After all, you only get one life to live. Shouldn’t yours be the best it can be?
Why don’t you ask Lucille?