Fine Art by Michelle Micalizzi
(All Rights Reserved)
My muses this week are Stu and Jill Bailey. Stu and Jill own Pane e Vino Restaurant in North Scottsdale.
WHY STU & JILL QUALIFY TO BE ONE OF THE 2016 FEARLESS THIRTEEN.
In the 5 years that I have known Jill and her husband, Stu, I have watched them live the American Dream. I first watched them buy the business that they were employed by and then witnessed them working their butts off to keep it a successful, enduring, and respected business in North Scottsdale. As business owners, we have both commiserated and rejoiced over the hardships and joys of business ownership. We have cried together and we have laughed our butts off together. They say you are supposed to separate business from your personal life? I am not sure how one does that? To the Baileys and me – business is very personal and we love it that way. It has been my pleasure and my sincere honor to get to know Jill and Stu in a deep and meaningful way over the years. I cannot imagine how boring my life would be without them.
People say that you do not make REAL friends on Facebook. That has not been my experience at all. Jill and I met on Facebook and not only is she one of my dearest friends; she has also been a client for three years now. We became friends when Jill in boxed me and asked me if she could borrow a pair of chaps for the annual Pane e Vino Halloween party since she had decided to be a biker that year and from Facebook she knew I was a biker. I said absolutely and I lent her an extra pair of chaps. I have no idea how we connected on Facebook either, we just were. Once Jill and I met in person, we became instant REAL life friends. Several years later Jill became a client. I get far more out of the deal than she does, I assure you.
Recently I took a good friend out for dinner to thank them for their friendship and service they have done for me. Where do you think I took that person? Pane e Vino, of course!
The three biggest things that impress me the most about Stu and Jill are:
- They are a husband and wife team that sticks together no matter what.
- They have an absolutely incredible commitment to quality and excellence.
- Their commitment to the Golden Rule and how they apply it not only with their customers but also with their employees.
In a nutshell….
Jill and Stu are in deed fearless. I know this for a fact because, I get to witness their fearlessness every week. I am so glad they were able to take time out to do this interview and to make it to the opening on May 14th. It will be a rare night off from the restaurant for them and I appreciate them taking it!
Stu and Jill took a few minutes out to answer the five Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Questions.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM STU & JILL ABOUT BEING FEARLESS?
1. Be the Decision Maker
When you are the key employee of a business, you have all the risk that goes with failing to meet the bottom line and none of the power that goes with being the boss. Key management employees assume all the stress for the business and yet they are forced to work with the decisions the owner/boss makes, which can sometimes make success impossible or at best challenging. A detached owner can miss the mark when they are not on the front lines with the person they put in charge of one of their largest assets. Stu and Jill new what they could do with Pane e Vino if they were empowered to make the decisions that they knew were best for the business. Taking that leap from employee to owner is a very scary proposition because the buck does actually stop with the owner. However, there comes a point when you realize that having the buck stop with you is actually less stressful than not having the power to make the best choices for the business. It is a big leap and a small skip at the same time to take over a business that you have been managing anyway.
2. Take on New Challenges
Change is scary and people can be nasty. Restaurant people are a special breed of hard workers. I have heard it said that we have to, “have a heart of a lion, the skin of a rhino and the soul of an angel.” Restaurant owners understand this statement. When you own a restaurant, you have to be bold with how you offer your product, strong in how you deal with adversity, and soft with your employees and customers all at the same time. Bad reviews can be the death of a restaurant so you are always walking a very fine line where the opinions of others do matter. The loss of a key employee or lack of respect in the kitchen can make being the boss extraordinarily stressful and hard. The Baileys are aware of their delicate position as owners yet they happily jumped in with both feet, ready to take on the challenge.
3. Weather the Storms
I find Stu and Jill’s answer to this question very informative and endearing. They have a unique answer that I think is very educational. Stu has a specific memory of a literal storm and Jill has a concept of the storm.
I empathize with the Bailey’s, because I too have opened a business after a period of the doors having been closed. For those of you who have opened a brick and mortar location of any kind you know what I am talking about. You turn yourself upside down to get it all done so that you can meet that opening day deadline.
You are simultaneously dealing with fear and doubt and intense excitement and anticipation. The amount of effort that it takes to unlock the door and turn on the OPEN sign again is immense. Your heart is beating a million miles an hour and then….. Crickets. The world has not been sitting outside in your parking lot like Black Friday at Wal-Mart. No one is getting trampled to death to get to the cash register first. Those first days are annoyingly earth-shattering QUIET. This is what Jill and Stu experienced for the first few days when re-opening Pane e Vino. Eventually, the restaurant regulars from the past fifteen years did show up only to have the power go out from a monsoon.
I find this so funny. Proof that God, a higher power or Universal something has a very funny sense of humor (if you believe in something bigger then yourself of course.) If you have never experienced what a monsoon feels like you might not get the humor in this completely. It is like the sky just opens up and dumps on the world with a vengeance. In a place like Arizona, where we only get rain about twenty-eight days a year, it is a big deal. I can just imagine Stu and Jill in that moment standing in their booked restaurant with the world coming down on them and the lights go out, the AC shuts off and the ovens go dark. The humor in it made me laugh right out loud and it does for Jill and Stu too.
Jill manages the details behind the business and for her, there are a variety of monsoons every day. That one storm is not foremost in her memory because there have been so many storms in her world. She has learned to just put up her umbrella, get a flash light, light a candle and open the drain to let the water out. She just plows through he storms and does not even take time to commit them to memory. She is too busy dealing with the daily business storms that are not mentioned on The Weather Channel to pay much attention to the external weather report.
4. Stay in the Game
There is huge competition in the restaurant industry. Big box chain models are opening all the time. There is a reason why getting an SBA loan for a restaurant is so challenging. The restaurant industry is HARD and most fail! Pane e Vino has been open and successful for nineteen amazing years. That is really saying something! Staying fresh and relevant from the perspective of the product that you are delivering your customers is always on the mind of restaurant owners both big and small. Yet – here is where I know that the Baileys are different. When you go to Pane e Vino you feel like royalty and you are treated like long lost family that is just coming home. The fact that their food is outstanding and the restaurant is inviting, classy and welcoming is just a bonus. As much as they try, the Bailey’s competitors cannot replicate nineteen years of success. They cannot re-create the experience of class that longevity brings. More importantly, they do not have Jill and Stu Bailey. They are two of a kind.
5. Stick to It
Stick to it is in reference to the commitment that the Baily’s have made to their business and ironically that Stu paints with sticks not a paintbrush. Jill has been a client and friend of mine for almost five years now. I have had the unique opportunity to watch, from a trusted advisor position, exactly the kind of commitment these two extraordinary people have made to each other, the business, as well to Jill’s daughter. In two words the Bailey’s are HARD WORKERS. I mean really hard workers. They are like two dogs with a bone or two energizer bunnies. They have a commitment to their restaurant, their employees and their customers that is second to none and is beyond grace. If you have not had a chance to experience Pane e Vino, I highly recommend you do. I also recommend you come back again and again to experience their wonderful dining area, their terrific bar at happy hour and their new delightful patio.
Thank you so much Stu and Jill for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 13! I look forward to seeing you again at the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Art Opening on May 14th at the Walter Gallery from 7-10PM.
Note from the Artist
STU & JILL’S ILLUSTRATION’S STORY:
Arizona is has a special kind of monsoon. It does not rain often in Arizona. On average it rains twenty-eight days a year but when it does, it is usually intense. Monsoons here can be formidable! I just could not get the image of the night that they lost power out of my mind. I started to look at pictures of monsoons – and when I saw a shot of lightning shaped like a fork I started to laugh. That is how I know I’ve found the concept in which to build the illustration on – when I laugh. The idea that Mother Nature was trying to eat Pane e Vino just made me chuckle. This painting is a simple reference to the early days of being new owners with a sense of humor and the idea that every restaurant owner has a storm every night to weather. If you have ever worked in a kitchen you will know what I mean. There is so much that can go wrong in a night – and you just have to get the product on the table with a smile no matter what the climate is inside the kitchen, with the economy, with your staff or any of a million other things that go into turning out that kind of amazing food every night.
SAVE THE DATES:
The Art of Fearlessly Doing Business!
Press Viewing (by invitation only): Friday, May 13 6-8PM
Opening: Saturday, May 14th 7-10PM
Conversation with the Artist: Saturday, May 21 7-9PM
Closing Reception: Thursday, June 9th 6-9PM
10% Proceeds donated to the Arizona Consortium of the Arts
Walter Art Gallery
6425 East Thomas Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257