Hospitality is NOT Just a Job!
Hospitality in Michigan: Not just a job:
One of the most important life skills you can have is how to work with and get along with people. Working in the hospitality / service industry is a great opportunity to expand those and can also lead to a rewarding career. Most of the people that make up our team, work in other industries as well – outside of hospitality. And for those non-service industry jobs working from home has stopped a lot of them from even needing to leave their houses. That leaves people craving actual human interaction and at least for us, it’s identified how much we need it!
Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and Visit Detroit, the convention and visitors bureau in Metro Detroit, decided to invest in developing a video to help encourage the under 25 market to work and/or develop a career in the tourism industry and guess who they picked to include ? You guessed it, The HandleBar (Props to our guy Kevin for his starring role and to Stone Hut Studios for producing it). Check it out here:
It is definitely an honor to be included in some of the best companies within the entire State of Michigan! ( Detroit Opera House, Detroit Zoo, Great Wolf Lodge, Cherry Republic, DNR Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Mackinac Island Shepler’s Ferry, Stafford’s Perry, Frederick Meijer Gardens, City Built Brewing, Firekeepers, AC GR, Black Star Farms, TC Pizza Company, Happy’s Taco & Pit Spitters)
Our Story in the Hospitality Industry
If you have time we’d love if you read on about our journey from the corporate world of engineering to what it’s been like to own a fleet of giant parties on wheels and deal with all of you crazy people! As an adult, it is not always easy to expand your social circle – between our customers and drivers that has been probably our favorite part about The HandleBar!
COVID-19 & Human Relationships:
My name is Brian and my brother Stephen and I own The HandleBar. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 2 years since COVID-19 has entered our lives. It goes without saying that there are plenty of negatives with that, but if we focus on the positive – the perspective it has given us has been an eye opener. The pandemic has put a magnifying glass on the simple things that we sometimes took for granted and at the top of that list for us is our relationships. Literally our favorite part about owning The HandleBar is the PEOPLE! We’re surrounded by fun people who are generally celebrating something and enjoying themselves – that is EXTREMELY contagious for us. Think about it; When is the last time you left work, excited ? LoL it happens to us everyday! The BEST part is our staff though – drivers have become best friends, multiple have gotten married and MANY have become our really good friends and even business partners. COVID made us realize what life was like without that and we’ll never take it for granted again.
Our Journey from Corporate to Hospitality:
Most of you probably don’t know this, but Stephen and I (owners) both graduated college and became mechanical engineers. In high school we scored well on tests in math / science, our guidance councilors and those around us told us we’d do well in engineering and the pay would be great – so we got our degrees and went to work. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that and we did and still do love engineering, but looking back, for such a large decision it did seem to be made without really considering all the other careers there are out there. Afterall, at age 17 who knows what they want to do for a living, let alone knows themselves enough to decide!
Growing up and through college we were both in the service industry. I worked as a waiter at a private resort starting at age 15 and started working summers at a local restaurant the exact day I turned 18 and it was legal to do so. The same song and dance extended through college to pay the bills. If you would have asked me THEN if I enjoyed that stuff I would have laughed at you – I didn’t think I really did. It wasn’t until I was in Corporate America that I realized all the parts that I missed – namely the social interactions and the PEOPLE. There were some very rewarding things that I accomplished as an engineer, but on a consistent weekly basis my favorite thing usually ended up being our group meeting! Weird right? At my company the group meeting was the time we caught up on each other’s personal lives, talked about projects and cracked jokes. (OK so if i’m being honest here, it was mainly ME cracking jokes, but I loved the audience, lol) Anyway, it took a few jobs and way too long for me to realize that I really valued the relationships around me more than anything – it’s what put me in the best mood. If you ask anyone in the hospitality industry they will almost for sure tell you the same thing – the busy times can be stressful, but your team (and some customers) really do become family.
As we’ve gotten older it’s become very clear that serving people is what we really enjoy doing the most. I’m not sure how long it takes other people to finally figure out what they enjoy, but for us, in our early years, we didn’t really think of the hospitality industry as a career and that was a mistake. In our world it means showing people the city we love, jamming out to music and putting smiles on people’s faces by doing extremely simple things, like cracking a drink or leading a happy birthday song. If you ever want to pick our brains on our transition or how it may apply to you, shoot us an email at email@example.com and we’d love to chat w/ you! If you’re interested in joining our team you can also email or just apply (suuuper quick process) here: And if you’re looking to get some school training give GVSU a look. Either way, we really do love what we do and are looking forward to seeing you guys all soon!