As new JJ’s nears opening, meet some of its new leaders

April 27, 2018

This piece is presented by JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars.

The enhanced adult-beverage retail experience at JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars is about six weeks from opening, and hiring is going well as construction stays on track.

“Hiring is going great,” owner Tom Slattery said. “Our management team is being put together, and the rest of our employee needs will be assessed once that team is in place.”

One key hire is Paul Squyer, a hospitality industry leader who most recently managed the bar at Parker’s Bistro.

A Sioux Falls native and graduate of Lincoln High School and USD, he will be JJ’s bar manager and director of cocktail culture – a new role Slattery said is designed to help craft the experience customers have at the 3.0 Bar at JJ’s.

“Having someone with Paul’s experience and skill set is incomparable,” he said. “We see our culture as a combination of cool, eclectic and classy. It’s going to evolve. And having someone like Paul at the helm to guide us through that evolution is important for the team and for the customers.”

You’ll get to know Squyer soon at the new JJ’s, but here’s a little more about him:

What do you enjoy about running a bar?

I love getting to meet people and maintain relationships with regulars. Conversation is a huge part of it. I could never work from a desk. I like my human interaction and being able to be creative.

What excites you about joining the team at JJs?

Getting to do this completely brand-new thing we haven’t seen done in Sioux Falls, with the retail and bar side co-existing on a large scale. It’s limitless options for me with what I can do and what I’ll have at my disposal, between the bar, the retail and The Boozy Bakery kitchen. And I’ll have new clientele. I’ve always worked downtown, so it’s a chance to meet some new faces.

Do you have a signature or go-to drink?

My passion for the last two years has been classic tiki cocktails. The most important thing to me is whether you can make a good mai tai.

You’ve got a great title – director of cocktail culture – what does that look like at work?

I’m looking forward to figuring that out and helping develop it. We’re a little behind in Sioux Falls in the cocktail and fine-spirit culture, compared to Omaha and Minneapolis, and even a lot of good stuff out in Rapid City and Deadwood, but I think there’s huge demand coming for that. And I think we’ll be at the forefront of not just supplying it but showing you what to do with it.

Additional staff

Here are some of the other faces you’ll find when JJ’s opens in mid-June on 57th Street just west of the Interstate 229 tunnel:

Jennifer Miller is the new director of human resources and training, as well as JJ’s office manager. She has been with JJ’s for about two years, assisting with data entry, bookkeeping and as a daytime cashier. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business management and human resource management from Colorado Technical University.

“We are very excited to have Jennifer expand her role. It takes a lot off my plate, so I can focus on maintaining and growing our core retail business,” Slattery said.

Zachary Johnson is JJ’s new inventory-control manager. He’s a recent graduate of Augustana University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. His life plan after football did not necessarily have adult-beverage retail in the mix, but after working part time at JJ’s starting last fall, he decided sticking around and expanding his role was a good career move.

“His primary job is to make sure the shelves are stocked and the store is looking good. He has developed a keen sense of what I expect JJ’s to look like and has excelled at doing just that,” Slattery said.

Michael Callis is the new event-services manager. A recent addition to the team, he has been working with JJ’s for a few months at beverage-service events but decided to come on full time. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and has a degree in marketing and advertising.

“While his primary role is to make sure that our expanded event services runs smoothly, Michael excels at customer service. His wit and charm with the customers has certainly been noticed by my wife, Jean, and I, as well as our customers when they stop in. We are very excited to have Michael on board,” Slattery said.

Dylan Baker will take on an expanded role using his skills learned as a bartender and bar manager. He worked for JJ’s for about a year before moving back to Colorado to spend time with his family and work in the on-premise adult-beverage scene there.

“When Dylan left, we were definitely missing a piece to our puzzle. When he reached out and expressed an interest in returning, I was quick to give him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” Slattery said.

Emily Rommann is JJ’s new kitchen manager. She has worked in the banking industry for 10 years and has a degree in business administration and project management from the University of Sioux Falls.

“Hiring Emily has taken a huge load off Jean’s mind with respect to how The Boozy Bakery would be managed,” Slattery said. “She is a well-organized, task-oriented person with great people skills and is a quick study. Teaching her the ins and outs of running a commercial bakery operation won’t be difficult, freeing up time for Jean to cultivate the creativity that will make The Boozy Bakery a successful component to the enhanced adult-beverage retail experience at the all-new JJ’s Wine Spirits & Cigars.”

JJ’s also is accepting applications for part-time positions in the cocktail bar, retail area and event spaces. Stop in the current store at 4810 S. Western Ave. to apply.

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As new JJ’s nears opening, meet some of its new leaders

The enhanced adult-beverage retail experience at JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars is about six weeks from opening, and hiring is going well as construction stays on track.

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