John and Cindy Fiske are living out a dream from their 20s – owning their own sports bar.
Almost two years ago, the couple purchased Somewhere in Augusta Bar & Grill at 2820 Washington Road.
“It was the right time and the right place,” John Fiske said.
He handles the day-to-day operations, and Cindy is in charge of accounting, payroll and marketing.
Voted in a local poll as Augusta’s No. 1 sports bar, Somewhere in Augusta has a full menu and offers events that aren’t sports-related on weeknights, such as poker tournaments, trivia, comedy nights with national acts and live bands, John said.
Weekends are dedicated to sports, with college football and Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts on Saturdays and NFL games on Sundays. The bar also works with local sports teams, even televising Augusta RiverHawks games.
“There’s a lot going on that makes it more challenging to run because it’s not just a restaurant, but it also makes it more fun,” Cindy said.
The bar is open seven days a week, even on holidays, because of customer demand. It has 47 employees.
Last year, the bar didn’t open until 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving because the owners thought customers would be at home with their families, but patrons told them they “had no place to go watch football.” This year, the bar will open at noon, John said.
“We learned our lesson,” Cindy said. “We’re very much hands-on owners, so people come talk to us. We can adapt very easily because we’re not a corporation.”
Before purchasing the business, John worked as a market leader and store manager for Walgreens in New York, Florida, Massachusetts and Augusta, where he opened new markets. Cindy was a stay-at-home mom.
The family moved to Augusta in 2002 from Buffalo, N.Y., when John was transferred with his job.
A few years ago, he started looking for a new opportunity. He and Cindy were working with a business broker, who saw a listing for Somewhere in Augusta.
In their early 20s, the couple had a chance to buy a sports bar in Florida, but they were young and didn’t feel comfortable taking the risk.
“We said that someday we would own our own business,” John said.
John took a job with Walgreens to learn how to run a business. Over the years, he gained management skills and learned how to buy and sell merchandise. The couple purchased Somewhere in Augusta in March 2010.
“It was almost like fate. Things happen for a reason,” Cindy said. “The big learning curve was learning how to run a bar and restaurant. It’s hard work, but it’s fun.”
If the economy improves, the Fiskes are considering opening another location, John said.