Lydia's also coming to The Venue this Saturday, the 20th.
Hey there, I really do appreciate the folks that have read this far into the comment chain, because it means you really are passionate about this place. We know what the venue has meant to so many kids and musicians over the past decade.
I'll just make one last comment, and then I'll step back and let the faithful of the venue have their say, whether it's to say RIP, we'll miss the old place, or to say they'll see us at the new place once it's up and running.
To patebbc, I agree with your analogy, a utility company is probably a more fitting comparison. We do understand that we have this unique position in the market, and that a lot of the bands that come through idaho will either play the venue or skip town, so we understand the responsibilty we have. It's very similar to idaho power's mandate from the public utility commission and the government of the state, to provide this service to the community, whether it's at a profit or a loss.
When I was contacted by a friend from high school, out of the blue, to take over the venue from the Kecks, who were now in their 60s and could no longer physically or financially support the venue, we understood that if this space was lost, that a large part of the music scene in idaho would die with it. So, as two kids who grew up in the idaho all-ages music scene, jenean and I took on this mantle and have been doing what we can to keep the scene alive, even if some of the most ardent fans of the venue and the current scene have resented us for it.
With all respect to the musicians and fans that are and have been working so hard to keep the scene alive in idaho, truthfully, the people who have kept the doors open at the venue have been the Kecks and now the Claus family, at great personal and financial cost to both families. The Kecks had their reasons for doing it, but for us, it's been for the purpose of keeping the music alive in the state that we grew up in.
When we bought the venue, we knew it would split up our family. I'm working in California, and jenean and the kids are in idaho. The main reason they're not here with me is to keep the doors open and run the building, and the main reason I'm not there is because incomes in idaho aren't sufficient in my line of work to support my family and the venue.
Our sincere desire is to get the venue stabilized to the point where it can pay its own bills and I can come home to be with my family. If the venue does really well, my wife and I might be able to work side by side at this business that we love.
Either way, I expect to be home by early summer, and hopefully I'll be able to shake your hand at the new place, pour you a beer or a soda, and welcome you to the next great show that we've kept from driving right past idaho on the way to seattle or denver.
Best wishes to all, and I do appreciate your best wishes that we'll be able to make this work.
Sincerely, Johann Claus
Devin, yes we have partnered with Eric Muñiz to present shows at the venue. I reached out to him after we first bought the place, and let him know that as business owners, we wouldn't be offended or hold a grudge if he outbid us on a show, and that if he secured a show that he felt the venue would be the best place to host the show, we would be willing to rent the building to him for the night or work out another agreement. Since then, we've put on about 6-8 shows with Eric, and we'd be happy to do it again. We are happy to entertain any promoter's request to rent the venue for an evening or work out some sort of door split.
Having said that, you don't need to worry about the quality of our upcoming shows, since you're still blacklisted. Nobody is allowed to intimidate other patrons or my wife, online or otherwise, and then expect to still be granted access to our establshment.
Andy, I am sensitive to the comment that I seem to be condescending. Snarky is my default mode, which is why I think The Onion is America's finest news source and why I enjoy reading Josh Gross's articles :-) Allow me to give a little context:
It's hard to imagine another service-oriented business that gets such vehement attacks from the customers who willingly receive services from the business. Let's assume you run a dentist's office, and the Harris family is one of your regular patients. Every6 months, all six of them come into your office and get all their dental needs taken care of, but in the interim, the Harris family goes online to Yelp, Angieslist, your facebook page, the local newspaper's editorial page and rails on your practice, saying things like: close your practice, you effing idiot, or, you have no idea what you're doing when you clean my teeth, I hate what you've done to your office, it's all gone downhill since you brought in a new receptionist, etc. But then, after another six months, the Harris family strolls back into your office, all smiles, enjoying the service you provide for them.
This is pretty much the experience we've had with a few of our detractors, except that we don't have to wait six months for them to come back, we see them the next Thursday, when they come back to see another show that we've provided to them through our mom + pop service to the community. They walk past us, averting eye contact, pay their $14, and then have a great time listening to their favorite bands. It's kinda mind-blowing, so maybe you can excuse our exasperation after two years of doing this.
Regarding our belief that we're making good decisions, it's more like we feel like we won the idaho state lottery. With liquor licenses running $150K in boise, we'd been wracking our brains trying to find a way to keep the doors open, all the while knowing we would never be able to get funding for a license, which is the only way a music venue can stay open. When this opportunity came up to lease a building in caldwell with an owner who was willing to transfer his license to us in the lease for free, it was a dream come true for us, an answer to our prayers (really), and a way for us to keep bringing music to the treasure valley.
To those who think that the neighborhood around the new building is a cesspool or a war zone, of course we checked out the area before we made the decision to move the business, sign a lease and put down a sizeable deposit. The only thing we noticed about the area was that it is predominantly hispanic. If that constitutes a cesspool to you, I can frankly say you are not welcome at the venue. My 'affinity' for the hispanic culture runs a little bit deeper than you might expect from a guy named Johann Claus, since some of the best years of my life were spent in latin america. If you really believe that, then I really don't need you frequenting my business.
Thanks for reading this far into the comment chain. Josh's article has given me a forum to explain what went into this decision in fuller detail than would be possible otherwise.
Stephen, I apolgize for misspelling your name. Kinda hard to read on a droid :-)
Stephan, that's a good question. The fact that the building already had sprinklers, as well as hoodvents in the kitchen (both costly installs that Broad didn't have] and the fact that the building was already zoned by the City as A-2 for nightclub/bar/restaurant without the need for variances were big factors to decide on that location. We were in discussions with the City, Fire Marshal and CPD before we even signed the lease, and they are truly welcoming us with open arms, excited to help us start doing business.
As was mentioned in the article, the gentrification around Broad street was a factor to move. As I spoke with bankers, I was told that $100's of millions of dollars were in the planning stages to be invested in the corridor between Front and Myrtle. We knew, and had been warned by Sally, the building owner, that it was just a matter of time before an investor bought up the space, tore down the building, and put up mid-rise mixed use commerical offices. We were concerned that investing in improvements to 521 Broad would turn out to be money bulldozed.
In response to the people concerned with their physical safety of the new neighborhood, I think those fears are overblown, outdated and for the most part, xenophobic. If you're scared to go to a place that has a really good Mexican restaurant (try the enchilada de camarones!) and a tortilla bakery across the street, I insert an eyeroll. If I hadn't live in latin america (more than once) and didn't speak fluent Spanish and Portuguese, we might be a little hesitant to move into an area that has a high percentage of Hispanics. As it is, with our language skills and cultural affinity, we're being welcomed by that community also. The only interaction we've had with our neighbors is them asking us when they can rent out the space for quinceañeras and private fiestas. To the contrary of the previous poster, we know exactly what we're doing.
Not only have we lived around the world, but we've lived around the united states. The best clubs in chicago aren't in the Loop, they're in neighborhoods far from the center of town. The best punk club in st louis is across the river in east st louis, sandwiched between two stripclubs and across the street from a monsanto chemical plant. The oakland metro, where I'm going to see the Suffocation/Rings of Saturn show tonight is in oakland's warehouse district, one block from MLK drive.
Around the country, punk clubs aren't in the swankiest part of town, next to BoDo and across the street from a gleaming new law school. They're out of town, where DIY, punk and hardcore still mean something. If you're not 'hardcore' enough to go to a show in caldwell, have fun elsewhere. We'll still be drawing in the best punk/hardcore/metal bands that come through the Northwest, only now we'll be able to offer them bigger guarantees and draw in bigger names. You can go eat dinner at PF Changs and then walk over to see whatever band is playing in a cozy little bar that has less than 100 occ capacity. Actually, the treasure valley is big enough for both. Small, up-and-coming artists can do well playing at smaller places tucked away in corners of downtown, and we'll be playing larger artists who have a regional draw. We'll be doing just fine; thanks for your concern. Johann Claus
I'll add one more comment about the new location. For someone who lives in NW Boise, Chinden road becomes Highway 20-26 just west of town, and makes a straight line due west to Caldwell, meeting I-84 just one mile from the 10th street exit. I think you'll be surprised that the drive to the new location will only take 20 minutes, about 5 minutes longer than the drive to the far side of downtown Boise. For anyone living near I-84, the Meridian exit is roughly the dividing line: if you live to the west of Meridian road, you'll get to the new location faster than the old. We live east of the Gowen road exit (past Broadway) and we were very surprised that our commute to the new location takes only 30 minutes, due to the immediate proximity of 424 E Elgin to the freeway. That's only ten minutes longer than our present commute down Federal Way to Broadway. The touring bands we've talked to are excited about this new location as it's right off the freeway, and they won't have to navigate with trailers or buses into downtown Boise and the narrow city streets around the old neighborhood. We're confident that once people take this new drive once, they'll realize how quick and easily assessible it really is.
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