Jakes Tavern in Gillette, Wyoming Live Music and Dancing
 
 

Brief History of Jake's Tavern
According to Jim and Barbi Hays

J.B. Blues was a bar and restaurant built in the mid 1960's about 3 miles south of Interstate 90 on Hwy 59. It was owned and run for several years by a group from Gillette, Including but not limited to Bill & Hazel Norman, Nick Jessen, and Cliff Lewis. The bar and restaurant closed sometime in early 1970 for unknown reasons.

In 1976, Robert H. Hays (my father), Joseph M. Hays (my brother), Alvin J. Lang (a good friend of the family) and myself purchased the building, the land (approx.. 2.5 acres), and the liquor license as equal shareholders. At that time we renamed the business "Rustic Liquors". My brother Joe and I ran the business for about 2 years as a liquor store/convenience store and gas station.

In 1980 we sold the business to Richard Plunket, a Gillette native. Dick leased the land and building from us. The liquor license I believe was in Dick's name. Dick remodeled a storage room in the building into a bar and named it "Rustic Inn". One of Dick's employees was Barbara J. Garner, who later became my wife. Dick ran Rustic Inn/Liquors until 1990 when he sold the business.

About 1985, Al Lang passed away. Robert H. Hays purchased his 1/4 interest in the business.

In 1990 Cliff Chew and Steven Bennet purchased Rustic Liquors (the business) from Dick. They were two Casper natives who owned and ran a bar in Casper. Cliff and Steve Bennet also leased the building and land from us. In 1992 they sold the business.

In 1992 the John Kinder family, also Casper natives, purchased the building from Cliff and Steve. They also leased from us.

In March of 1994, John Kinder told me that he was not interested in running Rustic Liquors in the future, and wanted to know if I knew anyone who would be interested in buying the business. At that time, my wife was working at the Campbell Co. Clerks office and I at Contractors Supply.

As a very bold venture Barbi and I talked to my father and my brother about purchasing the business. We first bought out my father and my brother, becoming the sole owners of the building and the land. On April 10, 1994, we purchased the liquor license and inventory from John Kinder. On that date we renamed the establishment "Jake's Tavern", and formed Jake's Tavern Inc., a Wyoming corporation, in which we are the sole shareholders.

Barbi and I took out a SBA loan through Wyoming National Bank for seven years. The amount of the loan, plus a second mortgage on our house, was in excess of $100,000.00. All loans were paid in full by February 2001.

Over the last seven years, we have seen quite a few changes in Jake's. We have added on a 30' X 50' Beer Garden, two horseshoe pits, and covered motorcycle parking.

In the first year we were in business, the beer distributors told us that we came within about thirty cases of doubling the previous year's sales. Our beer sales have gone up every year since.

Our increasing business has encouraged us to embark on a new bold adventure. We had totally outgrown the bar portion of our business. We normally have live music every weekend. On most weekends we were so busy that it was very hard to find a place to sit, and many times a place to stand. Several people had told us, that they wouldn't come to our place because of lack of space. We also had people coming into the bar and turning around and walking out when they saw the cramped atmosphere. Our dance floor was about 12' x 12'. When you got 50 people trying to dance at the same time, it was almost impossible.

So we recently added a dancehall onto the original building. The structure is about 60' x 120'. The dance area is about 40' x 80', which allows for a bigger crowd and more room for seating and dancing. Now Jake's is able to bring the bigger named bands to Gillette. By bringing these type band in we allow Gillette people to see the kinds and qualities of bands the would normally have to drive to Rapid City, Casper, or further to see. Big name bands also bring more business to Gillette's economy in the form of motels and eating establishments.

Our goals as with all of our loans is to pay them in full in the shortest possible time. We believe that with your help, we can build a business that can make this very possible. Thank you for your time.

Jim and Barbi Hays

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