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Jody Newman, Chief Friend and Mentor

One of the most successful and influential business leaders, restauranteurs, entrepreneurs and female mentors in San Antonio discusses a myriad of topics. From Fiesta to the very tough economics of COVID-19, we get into it.

Transcript:

Justin: Hello and Bienvenidos San Antonio. Welcome to the Alamo Hour, discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonio and keeper of chickens and bees. On the Alamo Hour, you’ll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best-kept secret in Texas. We’re glad that you’re here.

Okay, welcome to the Alamo Hour, today’s guest is Jody Newman. Jody is the chief friend of The Friendly Spot. Soon enough to be hopefully Two Friendly Spots. She mentors small businesses through Cafe Commerce. She was the first-ever Queen Anchovy, which is how we met and became great friends to this day, a random Fiesta event, which is one of the reasons I love San Antonio, honestly, is Fiestas. This weird thing where you make lifelong friends. That’s where we met.

Jody: It happened.

Justin: We asked Jody on here today. We’re going to talk about small business, small business mentorship, and honestly, what’s going on today, the biggest thing, the gorilla in the room, the elephant in the room is Coronavirus and how small businesses have been affected. Thank you for being here.

Jody: Thanks for having me, Justin. I’m happy to be here.

Justin: All right, so we’re going to start with one of my start with everybody, with a little bit of just random background about you. Do you have any pets?

Jody: I do not have any pets.

Justin: Do you have human pets?

Jody: Yes. I have two wonderful kids. I have a 14-year-old son named Wilson who is a freshman at Holy Cross on the Westside, and then I have a daughter named Simone who is in the fourth grade.

Justin: Okay, what is your favorite place to eat in town right now? I know there’s a million, but right now what is it?

Jody: My super favorite place to hang out without a shadow of a doubt is The Dakota East Side Ice House on Hackberry and if you have not had their pork casserole, you have not lived.

Justin: All right. I’ve seen you and Steve post from there quite a bit.

Jody: It’s so good.

Justin: I still haven’t been there. I’ve got to.

Jody: You got to. You have to.

Justin: Another thing. Everybody’s got this weird hidden gem thing in San Antonio. When you tell people, “Okay, you visit San Antonio, but to be a PhD tourist, you’ve got to go to this or do this thing.” What is your hidden gem?

Jody: For you to experience San Antonio fully, I think you must go to the Esquire Tavern.

Justin: For me, it’s the Downstairs.

Jody: Yes. For sure.

Justin: Such a great hidden gem. Okay, we’re going to get into this more in a second, but you’re very involved outside of your job, which everybody in town knows what The Friendly Spot is unless they’ve lived under a rock. What are some of your biggest involvement outside projects?

Jody: Interestingly enough, several years ago I was spread so thin. I had The Friendly Spot Ice House. I had interests in other ice houses. I joke that when I see an ice house, the more dilapidated it is, the more I want it. I’m super into ice houses. I started spreading myself thin and several years ago my husband said, “Pick a lane sweetie.” I decided to choose Launch SA, which is San Antonio’s small business incubator. We also have the first culinary accelerator in the country called Break Fast & Launch. I sit on the advisory board. I’m also a mentor at Launch SA. Oddly enough, I think it’s been the greatest school of my life as well.

A lot of my weekly, monthly, yearly efforts goes to Launch SA. I’m also active in Fiesta Cornyation, which I was the invented royalty and several years ago, the queen anchovy.

Justin: What year was that?

Jody: I believe it’s 2014. [laughs]

Justin: I was trying to remember. I couldn’t remember.

Jody: I was the Queen Anchovy One. Then I’m also active in a relatively new movement happening down in my neighborhood called Southtown The Arts District, applying for cultural district status and just supporting the creatives and creative sustainability in Southtown. Those are my passions but certainly, Launch SA is my gem.

Justin: Okay, I assume if I talk to you in a year from now, you’re going to have a new list probably.

Jody: I hope not. I’m hoping that I’m old enough to actually start committing. [laughs]

Justin: All right, and Launch SA is business mentorship, is that correct?

Jody: That’s correct. It’s essentially the 311 for small business in San Antonio.

Justin: Any odd hobbies?

Jody: A lot of people would really laugh, but I actually have a butterfly garden. I’m super into butterflies and chrysalis and caterpillars and all of that. I also am well known for cruising my cruiser bikes around Southtown, either with my husband, my mother or my children.

Justin: How are the milkweed doing?

Jody: They’re doing really great. We have 11 caterpillars currently today from a monarch that I knew was pretty much producing. [laughs]

Justin: We went over those on New Year’s. Was it New Year’s, we looked at those?

Jody: Yes.

Justin: Okay, next question. What is the one thing you think San Antonio needs that it doesn’t have? That’s a very broad question, but it’s left up to you

Jody: To tell you the truth right now, as funny as it sounds, I think that San Antonio has a slower pace. A lot of people would say we need a faster pace, but I think we’re actually on a sustainable pace for the exception of one thing. I think we need improved mass transit and we need it immediately.

Justin: Perfect, yes. When I was younger I had a mullet, so what was that terrible trend you followed when you were younger?

Jody: I have an Oakland Mills picture– My senior picture at Oakland Mills with this pose that I was in. I always had a bob. I was always the tallest girl but in that photo, I know it’s hard to believe, but I was wearing orange and had gold earrings on, big hoop gold earrings.

Justin: Can we get a copy?

Jody: No, no, no. I have it. I’ll send it to you. It’s hilarious.

Justin: I’m going to hold you to that. What year did you move to San Antonio?

Jody: I started living in San Antonio full time in 2002.

Justin: You’ve been here a while?

Jody: Yes.

Justin: Okay, I know your favorite fiesta event is Cornyation, so what is your second favorite?

Jody: Actually, one of my most favorite fiesta events is the King William Fair. I’ve been the volunteer to put the kids float together for years because my kids have always been in it. I also love the Southwest School of Arts and Crafts arts fair. It’s pretty fabulous.

Justin: That’s where we met.

Jody: Yes.

Justin: All right, and finally, what do you think will be the best thing about having a November fiesta?

Jody: Interestingly enough, I always think about beer when it comes to that stuff, so I’ve recently found out from one of my fabulous distributors, Ralph Good, who is my glacious dude that Fiesta and the Wurstfest are the same week. Fiesta is one of those things where, if you do it right, you don’t remember. Listen, November Fiesta, first of all, big shout out to the Fiesta Commission and Ron Nirenberg for their leadership and not canceling Fiesta, but postponing it because it’s saved thousands and thousands of local vendors from significant financial hardship. I feel like that was such a great decision.

Justin: No. I agree with you.

Jody: Also my fiesta this year, my metal is good and I want to be able to use it.

Justin: You mean now you get to use it because it will make it here in time?

Jody: [laughs] Yes.

Justin: Because that’s what my big concern was.

Jody: Yes. That’s right, for sure.

Justin: Okay, let’s get to it. I want to talk to you about– Let me tell you the way I feel about what’s going on, is that I am insulated because I am in a job and a career that is not going to have as much of a negative effect as so many other jobs are. I’m sure we are going to feel it. I’m sure we’re going to have a problem as well. As we sit here right now recording this– Who knows by the time it airs, what’s going on, but as we record this, the hospitality industry and the entertainment industry are really the only in San Antonio that have been really locked down. Fair?

Jody: That’s right.

Justin: I see things online and we’re going to go over those. Like bare necessity and Culinaria and all these to-go menus and all of those, and they feel good to try, but they also feel like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. What is your advice? Let’s start with the people that their jobs have been lost because of this. What advice do you have? As a small business mentor, what kind of guidance can you give for people?

Jody: Sure. Over the past 72 hours, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to almost a hundred of our food and beverage operators at all different levels. What I will say first of all is that there’s nothing fair about this. These are people who are in one of the riskiest industries of all time anyway and a lot of them have made it. If left to continue doing what they were doing, some would succeed and some would fail.

For some people, this is really speeding up the failure and really the personal financial ruin of their life. To those people, there’s really not much you can say to them. This is the loss of their investment. Sometimes they cashed out their 401k. Sometimes they use their entire savings. We’re talking about true financial ruin. It’s also very difficult sometimes to say to those people that there are people that are losing their lives because the statistics that are coming out are that there will be hundreds of personal bankruptcies for every death from the Coronavirus. The fallout from that is significant.

The one thing I would encourage people to do is understand, don’t judge. When someone is calling you and they want to vent, listen. Don’t tell them what to do because most of these people are successful and they got there. They got there on their own with their own sweat and their own grit and their money. I’m seeing two different directions. One is a direction of preservation, and that is the direction that I have gone.

I’ve realized that the jobs that I have created and speaking with my employees, they don’t want to be unemployed forever. They want their jobs back in 30, 45, 60 days whenever we’re allowed to operate. My commitment to them is that I’m going to do every single thing in my power to keep healthy so that when we open we can have a full staff and we can have product to sell. We actually sell physical items, so we have to invest in that.

Justin: Sure.

Jody: Then you are seeing groups like Culinaria, which in my opinion, Culinaria is the most well equipped nonprofit in San Antonio food-related to get the message out there. Culinaria has done a fantastic job. They’re not only one of the best event throwers in this town. I know you’ve been to events thrown by Culinaria but I think that Culinaria, their response to this has been amazing. It’s been immediate–

Justin: I’m a little embarrassed. What is Culinaria? I know they’re non-nonprofit, but what is their actual mission?

Jody: Culinaria is a lot of the reason why San Antonio’s gastronomy is on the map. Culinaria is a nonprofit that tells the story. It tells our stories of how we got there and how we created what are some of San Antonio’s greatest treasures. That is their job. They don’t toot their horn a lot so that’s why a lot of people don’t know them but they do assist with food and beverage staff when they go through hard times, when they get ill, they have children that say get cancer. When I saw that Culinaria was heading up a to-go restaurant week and stuff, in my opinion, that was the best option for something to succeed.

Justin: Did that come out of the blue, I should know this, or was that Restaurant Week they just flipped to a to-go menu?

Jody: That’s Restaurant Week. They already had the process and the procedures for Restaurant Week and Restaurant Week is extremely popular here in San Antonio. They were speaking with a lot of chefs and a lot of industry insiders and that’s how they came up with the To-Go in the curbside.

Justin: Okay, I listened to one of your previous podcasts today with a restaurant industry podcast. [crosstalk]

Jody: Sure, yes.

Justin: One of the things that he highlighted in yours and one thing you highlighted was that you listen to your staff.

Jody: Yes, for sure.

Justin: How are they?

Jody: They’re down. They know that they were being safe. They know that we were making decisions to social distance. That we are in an outdoor environment. Frankly, they feel like the world needs a Friendly Spot right now. They’re down but they’re not out. I just had some great response from my staff that did not want to file for unemployment because they thought it was going to hurt me and Steve.

A lot of our people have been with us a long time. They gave me their feedback and they trust me to do the right thing. What they want is their jobs back. They want to be making the caliber of money that they were making the day we closed.

Justin: To the Friendly Spot, I wonder a little bit, one day you offhand told me which turnover rate was and it was just insane compared to every other industry job. Y’all don’t have people that leave y’all. Y’all have people that stick around.

Jody: We really do. To tell you the truth, until the day we closed, we were staffing up for the spring. We had a bar staff position open and a kitchen staff position open. Up until the very end, we were hiring. The people that work for the Friendly Spot are some of the greatest people in the world. Some of them I know very well, socially. Some of them I don’t really know anything at all.

We have joked that we have this one staff member that’s been with us for over five years but we joke he’s in the witness protection program.

Justin: [laughs]

Jody: I think we’re going to deal with this as a friendly family but for me, the day that I can get those people back to work that’s what I’m fighting for. That’s what I’m preparing for.

Justin: Hopefully, we have listeners that have never been to the Friendly Spot because they don’t live in San Antonio. Recently you started selling alcohol but until then you were always sort of a beer and wine–

Jody: That’s right.

Justin: Really beer for the most part and one of the largest beer sellers in South Texas. Fair?

Jody: Yes, for sure. I will tell you that it took us 10 years to be RateBeer’s best place to have a cold beer in the state of Texas.

Justin: Very cool.

Jody: That award came the month that my husband and I got our mixed beverage permit which for people that don’t know is that it allows us to have liquor. We joked like, “Is this God telling us something different?” We’re definitely able to take and make some Friendly cocktails on tap and Friendly frozens that have been great sellers. My staff, one of the things that several of them said to me on Wednesday and Thursday was that we were about to have a record year. They wanted me to know that they knew that and they wanted me to know that this was taking that away from us. I love them for that.

Justin: I was thinking about this. The last time I felt this ominous feeling, this really dark sullen cloud feeling was when Harvey was coming in and basically, we were all told we were going to flood even in San Antonio.

Jody: That’s right.

Justin: We all weathered the storm at The Friendly Spot. We all sat there and thought we’re going to stay here until we got to go home. We got lucky, it never happened but I remember thinking that was the last time I felt this feeling and I felt that at The Friendly Spot, no offense meant, obviously.

Jody: Yes, true.

Justin: As it relates to the state of Texas opening up the regulations regarding delivery of alcohol, what has been The Friendly Spots’ take on that? I know you posted on Facebook. “Hey, my fellow bar owners take a look at your liability insurance.”

Jody: That’s right.

Justin: Which I was very proud of you, coming from the industry I come from. It’s an important thing for people to think about. There was also something you told me off the record before we got started about how that was a scary thing once you started looking into it. Can you talk to us about whether or not The Friendly Spot is going to join in the delivery and if so, why? Why not?

Jody: There are two ways that you’re seeing our fantastic local businesses, our local food and beverage businesses move forward on this: One is that they are hunkering down and closing. You’re seeing a lot of your places that you know and love, they’re not open. They’re not open for any product. The second is you see people trying to pivot. I think pivoting is great. I don’t think that you can do it in 72 hours super effectively. That’s my own opinion. There are people in this town that you would talk to you right now that they’re saying that they’re having a different reaction than that.

As far as the delivering of the alcohol, having the privilege to have an alcohol permit in the state of Texas comes with a lot of responsibility. My goal is to ensure that my responsibility is covered and not put me and my staff and my family into a situation where we maybe wouldn’t be covered or we have excess liability that would definitely go against my number one decision which I made this week, which was the Friendly Spot will reopen and when we reopen, we will reopen strong. That’s essentially after speaking to my attorney, Andy Tiwari, who Justin Hill knows very well, and my insurance carrier. I just made the decision that at this time we’re not going to do it because I’m not sure that I feel it’s necessary. Right now, we’re going to be shut down, in my opinion, I think 30 days. If it will go longer, then I reserve the right to change my mind.

Justin: Sure. I saw that Johnny Hernandez is turning one of his restaurants into a market. You have food delivery. You’ve got alcohol delivery. You’ve got all these people pivoting into different directions. Is it fair to say The Friendly Spot and the Newman-owned businesses are going to sit tight, stick to your core competencies and see how this storm weathers?

Jody: Yes, that’s correct. I think in a lot of ways I can’t deliver what The Friendly Spot sells. I can’t deliver that to you, but you sure can get it at 943 South Alamo. How do I protect 943 South Alamo? That’s my number one priority. That includes all the jobs that go with it. That includes the revenue that we create, the charitable giving that we provide, the taxes that we pay. All of that matters. There is some pressure because a lot of us feel like, “Man, if we blow this, our people aren’t just out of jobs for right now, they’re out of a job forever.”

It’s a tough decision. I spoke with one of my favorite bar owners on Friday, and he was just like, “I just can’t believe people expect me to turn my wonderful, fabulous bar that it took me years to create into a delivery service in 24 hours, and then they think that’s going to pay the bills.” There’s a lot of that. There’s a lot of frustration. That’s when I say if you have friends in food and beverage service industry, whether they’re owners, operators, managers, part-time, full time, whatever they are, just listen.

Justin: I’ve thought a lot about this. Let me just say this, generally, human beings either seem to be taking the approach of the sky is falling, sometimes rightfully, sometimes wrongfully, or how can I seize opportunities in this because there are needs that are not being met? I wonder when I think about the service industry, how do you come out of this if part of your patronage, which the Friendly Spot has a full range of people– It is socioeconomically diverse.

Jody: That’s correct.

Justin: It is every way diverse as possible, but I think a large percentage of the people that go to The Friendly Spot are going to be people that have been very hardly affected by this shutdown, whether through job-

Jody: Agreed.

Justin: -or some other way. Have you been thinking through, “How are we going to be able to service these people who maybe no longer have as much disposable income when we come out of this?” You’re a business mentor. You give advice to businesses. What would be your advice to businesses that rely upon that group of people that have been hardest hit when we get out of this?

Jody: Sure. You have to know your business. You have to be able to say, “Listen, I know who we are.” The Friendly Spot is a place where our average tab is $17. That’s it. We are not a place that people spend a ton of money at and that’s okay. We’re good with that. It keeps us responsible. It keeps our customers safe. We do it in volume. We don’t need three really good friends. We like 100 cool friends.

I really think that if we have to change all of that, it takes way more than 72 hours to do that. It takes time. I’m a small business owner, entrepreneur mindset, just like anybody else that we’re talking about right now, I have ideas.

[laughter]

I already have ideas. I’ve been writing them down. Even my kids, they want to start a movement. “Where’s the ground beef? Who has all the ground beef?” I think anyone who is creative at this point in time, they’re thinking that. All of these ideas that I have that I’m thinking through, I need to ask my advisors about, and after all of this, I then have to decide again, “Am I going to invest my money into that idea?”

You are seeing bars and restaurants that are pivoting. They are investing their money in these ideas. I just haven’t found an idea that I feel comfortable investing my money in yet, about how am I going to pivot this situation because I don’t want to be good for the next 10 days, you know?

Justin: Right.

Jody: I want to open strong.

Justin: What do you think is the outside of what most people can weather in your industry? What are we on right now? About a week of being shut down?

Jody: Yes, not even like four days. [chuckles]

Justin: What do you think is going to be that crunch point for most in the industry?

Jody: I think there’s a good chance that we’ve already lost a percentage.

Justin: Bear with me because I don’t understand, because-

Jody: I understand.

Justin: -I run a very different world, how our businesses operate. Let me be honest why I’m asking this. I sit around and I hear people on TV and wherever else say, “Well, if they didn’t put away money for a rainy day, to hell with them.” Is that the reality, that some of these businesses are running that thin or is it more likely that a lot of these businesses are up and trying to build something and because they’re trying to build something, they are on thin margins? What is it?

Jody: All of those things. The first thing, I think, I’ve been trying to tell people is, “Let’s not solve all the world’s problems right now.” A lot of issues in the food and beverage industry. Now is not the time to try to fix them all. People will talk about healthcare, paid sick leave, all of these different things. Food and beverage is a very slim margin. It’s a very slim margin business, to begin with, fact.

If you’re new, if you’re 24 months or less, there’s a likelihood you have not turned a profit yet, then your revenue stops. How long can you sustain? You haven’t even turned a profit yet. This is a very labor-intensive business and it’s very difficult. There’s a lot of us out here. There are so many different factors. I hope to dispel in this that food and beverage owners and operators do care about our staff. Our people do make good money. This was one of those things where I said, “Choose understanding over judgment.” Just because a business is going to go under in the next 30 days, it doesn’t mean they did anything wrong.

I even said to a reporter, “How long do you think you would have your job if no revenue came in?” Delta Air Lines is asking people to take unpaid time off. They are a billion-dollar company. Are we really sure we want to come down on mom-and-pop neighborhood place for doing the same thing? They’ve paid into unemployment. Let their people collect it. Right now is not the time to demonize your local small food and beverage businesses because while we are shut down, there are people making record profits.

Justin: Totally fair. I think that’s a great way to put it. One thing I think people forget, and honestly, it’s taken me such a long time to learn, it is being a small business owner means you know everything about business in terms of just that– You don’t have all the answers, obviously, but I know what it means that I have to report certain things to the state on a quarterly basis. When I started working for a bigger firm, which I’m sure is true for bigger businesses, I didn’t even know that was a thing.

You, all the sudden, realize there are so many hoops to jump through and there are so many barriers to entry. If you can finally get on the right side of that profit, white, red, or black and red, once you get on the right side of it, it’s a very good feeling, but you understand all those hurdles that I have to jump through.

Jody: That’s right.

Justin: The demonizing of a small business is crazy. You see on TV, “Well, to hell with them if they didn’t put away money.” It’s hard to do.

Jody: Totally. Could you imagine? It’s a fact, 67 cents on every dollar that you spend at a local family business stays in your community. Most of us have supported the schools in our neighborhoods and the people around us, more than you would ever know. There are a lot of angels in this world that don’t have to post everything on social media. For years people, your food and beverage establishments, your neighborhood hangouts, have helped people you don’t know. The thought would be is that now instead of judgment on them even to the point where people are saying, “You need to shut down because of–“

I know some of the people who are serving to go– They’re under great pressure to close, they can be open. I understand your opinion but we are talking about people that are going to lose their livelihoods, everything that they have. We’ve got to give human beings a break. That’s what my message has really been in the past 72 hours.

Justin: You made a good point. I saw somebody’s meme on whatever social media. It was like, “Hey, guys, all those businesses that always contributed to your kid’s soccer team, now is the time that they need help.” What is the way to help though? What is an actual meaningful way to help at this point?

Jody: To tell the truth I’m not sure there’s any answer to that.

Justin: That’s how I feel.

Jody: Yes. I think we can ask our leaders to make smart decisions. we can support our leaders and their decisions, ask your leaders to speak to the food and beverage owners and operators. When you see someone giving harsh judgment against a food and beverage operator or service industry individual, call him out, “Hey, give that person a break.” All of this sounds really good. “You don’t have to file your taxes for 90 days.”

Y’all that’s not for us. SBA loans, they’re 60, 90, 120 days out. How did these business owners get there? Really the only active program right now is unemployment. I was glad to get a message from state representative Diego Bernal saying that the 10-day waiting period has been waived for Unemployment. We still have to say though that 1.5 million Texans from the hospitality and food and beverage industry have applied for Unemployment in the past 10 days.

Justin: Yes. It’s going to go up.

Jody: It’s going up. I do appreciate Diego Bernal what he’s doing. He’s getting the information out there. He’s a leader that’s listening to us, but I’d encourage people to contact their city council people, contact the mayor, contact your state representatives, your Bexar County Commissioners and say, “Hey, this all sounds good but as of right now there’s really no program to help these service industry in hospitality.” There’s supposedly some stuff coming down the pipe federally but how long?

Justin: I think it’s a good time to remind everybody. We hear about this for everybody in America, you hear about all these. Every newspaper, every TV stations but in San Antonio where the largest hospitality city in Texas, and one of the largest in America, for San Antonio, it’s very acute. The problem is very acute. This isn’t part of our world in San Antonio. This is a very large part of our world in San Antonio.

Jody: Yes, and for every owner and operator, I think, whatever you think you should be doing right now is right. I really do. I think if you have made a decision you can always change your mind. Whatever you’re thinking right now, the direction that you’re going is right. The moment you feel like it’s not right, talk to your advisors, call your friends in the industry, contact Launch SA who’s going to be having a lot of web resources, join the Launch SA Facebook groups.

Ryan Salts, he’s the director of Launch SA, contact him directly. He will get you in touch with whomever you need to speak to, to try to figure out, “Hey, is what I’m doing correct?” You can e-mail me. My e-mail is. Jody, J-O-D-Y, @thefriendlyspot.com. I’m happy to talk to you about your decisions, but I want our small business centers to know it is your gut and your gumption and your risk tolerance that got you here, don’t abandon that now.

Justin: I think that’s a great point. I also do not want this to be all gloom and doom. I want to talk to you a little bit. We’re coming out of Corona at some point. The sun is going to shine and San Antonio is going to bet this beautiful city it’s been.

Jody: Sure. 90 degrees next week, they’re saying.

Justin: [laughs] Honestly, I told Lindsay that today– I told her that is going to be really good to see how that affects the virus. That actually might be fantastic for this. It might be weather. Weather might affect transmission rates. We don’t know, but it’s good to see.

Jody: The good person to follow for that is Dr. Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, public health doctor on Facebook. She’s a Southtown resident and she is putting out some fantastic information on her Facebook page. I encourage everybody to-

Justin: Tell her to come on.

Jody: – follow her. I need to connect you guys I’m-

Justin: I would love to talk to her.

Jody: – telling you. Also, I attended a meeting with the top public health official in San Antonio, her name is Dr. Dawn Emerick and she’s impressive. She’s lively, she curses in front of groups, which I love.

Justin: [laughs]

Jody: I feel public health-wise, in San Antonio, we have got some of the greatest minds that you could possibly have here making the decisions and helping our leaders understand the consequences of the decisions that they’re making.

Justin: Yes. The public health side it’s fascinating to me and I could talk about that forever.

Jody: Totally, me too.

Justin: As an aside, how is your family doing?

Jody: My family’s doing really well.

Justin: Healthy?

Jody: Yes. I was very excited to see that Holy Cross of San Antonio had an online platform anyway. Actually, right after spring break my son went back to school. Now, he’s doing it from home in his room, but he has been doing schoolwork for a week now. My daughter goes to SAISD and they are now starting to put out some schedules. My husband is doing fantastic. He’s just figuring out what else he can put on the draft systems.

Justin: [laughs]

Jody: My mom, and my sisters, everyone is doing great too. We’re like everyone else, we’re trying to stay home.

Justin: What’s the family going to do with the inventory?

Jody: That’s a good question. We do have some inventory that we feel like– I don’t know we’re talking about doing maybe a virtual sales town porch party. There have been a couple of local businesses that have contacted us and said, “Hey.” What we’ve got right now, it’s still good because it’s being stored at the proper temperature for a certain amount of time. We may do something fine with it, I don’t know.

The rain has not helped. We had planned on doing something yesterday evening but because of the rain, it was not good. Look for us to do a couple of things that are fan, community-minded, get rid of some of what we have. Some of our beer inventory will last longer than 90 days. There are some laws that are supposedly coming down the pipe that may help us handle some of that but look maybe some fun stuff going. We did make some donations to local charities with food products and that type of thing.

Justin: Okay, as well as saying, you’re giving beer away to charity.

Jody: Yes, I know.

Justin: [laughs] This was-

Jody: We all feel like a charity now dude. [laughs]

Justin: I think a lot of us should help as though you are. I’ve tried to explain to people there is certain people in San Antonio that were very important in my life, and you’re one of them. Without ever knowing-

Jody: Thank you.

Justin: – it honestly you are– We all have ups and downs in life and I met you at what I felt was one of my downiest of downs and it was down in Fiesta and I was getting out, and I was doing things, and I met you and Steve, and I met a whole new group of people through you and Steve. Honestly, it was very important for me in a way you never know. I think that’s the strange thing about San Antonio. I try to explain San Antonio to people and you can’t really explain, so

Jody: I agree.

Justin: -you just can feel San Antonio. I tell that story and they’re like, “Okay, so you met some people at a thing.” It’s just very hard to get the point across. I think there are businesses right now that still have not been affected the way that hospitality has-

Jody: Agreed.

Justin: – and I hope they will step up. That’s what I sort of asked you. For people like me, I want to step up, it’s just hard to know how to.

Jody: Sure, so it’s still very early. The mayor announced this on Wednesday. Today is Sunday, we’re very early in. When I talk about that there are angels out there, I legitimately have had people in my life contact me and say, “May I help someone today?” They’ve asked me for Venmo or PayPal or a Cash App of one of my staff members that may be helped them when they were down, or that they’ve known a long time or are they, mothers or fathers? Legitimately, just people in my life who have decided to gift to others. It doesn’t have to be this big dramatic thing. It doesn’t have to be anything other than, “I will do this.”

We will this week be setting up away if people would like to send the staff of The Friendly Spot, funds or help or anything like that. We’ve got that coming down the pipe, but right now, I think it was just important for everyone to take a minute and sort of mourn. What is happening? All the stages of grief that we’ve all been through. This week is a new week. It’s going to be a different world for a lot of us.

Let’s give each other a break, I think is the biggest thing, but if you want to help someone that works for us or B&D Ice House, you can email me legitimately, jody@thefriendlyspot.com. I’ll give you the name of a person and their Venmo. If you feel like providing for them, they will happily take it because I tell you what will happen at the end of this is I expect 90% of my staff to be back up and running when we are back and running. Let me tell you something, they’re going to give you the same great service that they gave you before we closed.

Justin: [chuckles] Even the witness protection guy?

Jody: Yes, even witness protection, I’m telling you.

Justin: [laughs]

Jody: I would say his name, but I’m afraid you wouldn’t even want me to say that. We were joking like–

Justin: I feel like I know.

Jody: Yes. We were taking pictures of stuff and my daughter joked, she was like, “Oh, for Mr. Blank, we should draw a stick figure.”

Justin: [chuckles]

Jody: You know what I mean?

Justin: Or the silhouette with a question mark?

Jody: Totally. [laughs]

Justin: Okay, Fiesta was going to be part of this discussion, so we’re going to power through and Fiesta is still going to be part of this discussion.

Jody: Okay, let’s do it.

Justin: Okay, what is Cornyation?

Jody: Fiesta Cornyation is the raunchiest, cheapest Fiesta event. One of the most longest-running and it benefits San Antonio’s AIDS-related charities.

Justin: Okay, there’s a couple of charities now that are beneficiaries of Cornyation-? [crosstalk]

Jody: For sure. Thrive Youth Centre.

Justin: What is Thrive?

Jody: BEAT AIDS and San Antonio AIDS Foundation and they may have added others. Thrive is the youth center, deals with LGBTQ youth. They’re very strong and they’re very effective. They do really good work, especially intervening with our youth. In the world we live in today, it’s not always the nicest world. Imagine putting that together with that you’re not mature enough to know that those people are just dicks.

This is a great thing. Also abusive households, children who are in danger. They do a great job. BEAT AIDS is a wonderful charity. They do a lot of community outreach, a lot of grassroots. Then San Antonio AIDS Foundation is San Antonio’s or Bexar County’s largest AIDS charity, so they do a fantastic job too.

Justin: There are six showings of the show?

Jody: This is correct. Six shows three days. It will be in November.

Justin: It’s the second week?

Jody: Yes. I want to say it’s the 21st, 22nd, 23rd but don’t quote me on it.

Justin: Yes, I can’t remember either. [crosstalk]

Jody: This year I have to admit, my outfit is going to be-

Justin: Raunchy?

Jody: -embarrassing to my mother.

[laughter]

Embarrassing to my mother.

Justin: For people that haven’t been it’s a rundown of– It’s not a rundown of anything. It is running over of current events and whatnot.

Jody: That’s right. I always like to say to our popular relevant people that are always subject to the show or our leaders is that, you know how you know you’re relevant? Someone is playing you in Cornyation.

Justin: [laughs]

Jody: Right?

Justin: Fair enough.

Jody: That’s how you know you’re relevant.

Justin: All right. It’s always at the Empire?

Jody: Always at the Empire, tickets will go on sale. It’ll be in a similar fashion. I know there’s a lot of, “Ahh Fiesta”, but the one thing I think is important for all of us to remember is Fiesta is coming.

Justin: All right, and who is King Anchovy this year?

Jody: King Anchovy is Jesse Mata, who is an executive USAA. He’s a popular guy about town. A lot of people don’t know this, but he is one of the main scriptwriters of the Cornyation script, which is every year one of the funniest things that will ever go into your ears. He’s also on the board of Fiesta Cornyation.

Justin: I think he’s been an MC every year I’ve gone, would that be correct?

Jody: He has not been an MC but essentially he writes and helps produce the show.

Justin: He’s not an MC with Elaine?

Jody: No.

Justin: Who’s it with Elaine?

Jody: Rick Frederick normally, so it’s good. It’s going to be really fast.

Justin: Okay, all right.

Jody: Trust me on that.

Justin: Do y’all have any involvement in Fiesta other than Cornyation anymore, or is Cornyation the main thing you’re involved in?

Jody: Cornyation is the main thing and then, of course, Friendly Spot Ice House sponsors, the Southtown kids float in the King William Fair, and I do a lot of drinking during Fiesta. My main affiliation with a fiesta-

Justin: You’ve got stones.

Jody: -is drinking. [laughs]

Justin: Jody, when we get through this, I want to get you on to talk about Launch. I want to talk about all of those things. That was the plan but what’s going on right now I think you’re a great voice for small business.

Jody: Thank you. I do want to let everybody know Facebook Launch, San Antonio. I know the Public Library is closed but the Launch SA is upping their online and virtual mentoring. Contact Launch SA. The director is Ryan Salts. If you cannot get ahold of anyone there, email me Jody, J-O-D-Y, @thefriendlyspot.com, and I will get you in touch with Ryan Salts, but I think it’s very, very important for our small businesses to have someone to talk to right now.

Justin: I agree. Thank you for being on here.

Jody: Thanks.

Justin: That’s everything for today. I want to say thank you to Jody again for being here and discussing small business in the time of Corona. Honestly, it’s a terribly weird time. I’m going to end every episode, and this is no different, with who are my top three wish lists. If any and can help, please help. Coach Pop, Robert Rivard or Jackie Earle Haley, I’d love to have on to talk here.

Jody: Okay, I want you to add to that list, Dr. Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, Public Health Consultant. I think you would just so enjoy speaking with her. In the light of what’s happening, I think, any opportunity, she has to drop some knowledge, factual knowledge on people.

Justin: Perfect.

Jody: It’s a good deal.

Justin: Perfect, thank you.

Jody: I love you.

Justin: I appreciate it, love you. Thanks for joining us on this episode of the Alamo Hour. You are what make this city so great. We hope you join us next week. In the meantime, subscribe to our podcast. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/alamohour or our website, alamohour.com. Until next time, Viva San Antonio.

[music]

[00:48:15] [END OF AUDIO]

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