By KJ Philp, May 2015 Issue. Meet the other winners here.
Since Stacy’s @ Melrose opened in 2013, owner Stacy Louis has taken home a total of 10 Echo Reader’s Choice Awards, including Service by a Man, Men’s Bar, Women’s Bar, Dance Bar and Happy Hour this year alone.
Echo caught up with Louis following the April 9 awards ceremony and here’s what he had to say:
Echo: Everyone is dying to know your secret to success; how do you do this year after year?
Louis: There really is no secret! I am my father’s son. As a restauranteur/bar owner for 30+ years, he was always the eternal friend-to-everyone guy. Everyone went to him for advice, help and even money (don’t get any ideas). He always had a wonderful disposition and a smile on his face. It was pretty evident when he was upset about anything … it was written all over his face. So, as I said, I am my father’s son … I love everyone and would do almost anything to make people happy.
Echo: Even the folks you associate with end up heavily favored by our readers – DJs, bartenders, restaurants – explain the Stacy phenomena to us.
Louis: I really feel strongly that my staff, or fellow employees as I call them, are all on board with my business style and understand that everyone is a human being who should be treated equally. We all have bad days and may say the wrong thing to a customer, but our customers realize that also. It’s like one big family around here! I consider everyone a part of my life – an important part of my life. I cannot do this alone and they know it!
Echo: You made your way into a new category this year – Service by a Man – what does that award mean to you?
Louis: I knew you were going to ask this! I really can’t easily express my pride in just being nominated for this category. Those amazing guys that I was nominated with are peers that I am totally humbled to be with in the same category. I do what I do because I want to! I want to help others, especially in our LGBT community! I have a special place in my heart for LGBT youth. To answer your question, I am humbled, proud and appreciative of your readers’ choice.
Echo: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Louis: Treat people exactly how you want to be treated.
Echo: Any advice for community newcomers or the Susan Lucci’s out there?
Louis: They don’t need my advice! They are doing everything correctly and they know that. I’m just better at campaigning and asking for people to voice their opinions.
Echo: Where can you be spotted when you’re playing “jack of all trades” at Stacy’s.
Louis: Great question! Customers say to me daily, ”Stacy, you pay people to do that for you!” There is nothing beneath me; I am willing to do anything I would ask my fellow employees to do. I enjoy being busy and helping get things done to make our bar stay what it is: welcoming, clean, accepting! So, where will you find me? Hell, I don’t know from one moment to another – just ask anyone!
Echo: You’ve become a big proponent for the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA) and bringing back the Melrose Street Fair; tell us a little bit about what that is and what it means to you.
Louis: I am so glad this is being discussed. The day after I left my last employer, I was having a cup of coffee by my pool with my dear friend and head bartender, Anthony Hugger. He asked me what I was going to do now. My reply was to take some time off, think, relax and enjoy life. He starting naming places that were for sale. After a few suggestions, he said that this location (then SANCTUM) was for sale. My mind started working immediately: Melrose could be Phoenix’s own Gay Mecca – our own Boy’s Town, Hillcrest, Castro, WeHo, etc. Then another big decision, what to name this place. Everything in my mind said don’t use your name. I faltered and used my name along with Melrose. I joined SAMA when I opened and then joined their board this year. I also joined their Seventh Avenue Street Fair committee, so as to be an integral part of getting the fair back in place after missing a year.
Echo: What new and exciting things can we expect to see you involved with between now and the 2016 Echo Readers’ Choice Awards?
Louis: I hope to continue being an important and integral part of our community. I want to continue to bring new and exciting things to Phoenix. I want our bar to be different and forward thinking. I do plan to get back into the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus on a more full-time basis and possibly get back on the board of directors, time will tell. I like to keep everyone guessing!
Echo: Is there anyone you’d like to thank? Shoutouts you’d like to make?
Louis: This list could go on for days, but I’ll try to make it short:
My parents, both deceased, for making me ME! My daughter, Stephanie Bennett, for listening and making recommendations. My ex-wife, Becky Louis, for her amazing support. My sister, Katherine Foster, and her husband, Tom. My brother, Chris Louis, and his wife, Helen. Anthony Hugger, without whom I would have never known about this location. His help is unimaginable. My entire staff/fellow employees. Phoenix’s gay bar owners who have all been so supportive & helpful! My long, long list of friends/customers who make every day successful and happy for me! Thank you all for following me throughout the past 16 years!
Echo: The floor is yours; anything else you’d like to add?
Louis: I thought you’d never ask! I really do owe a lot to the help and guidance I’ve received from Echo Magazine. You guys are so good to me. Thanks for all you do for our community!