“It’s a very bittersweet decision, but you know, the three of us have a really hard time getting in the same room together we just have so much else going on,” Thomas says.
Kenny Ballinger will manage the business, and Brown says he wouldn’t be buying it without him.
“Not to use a tired analogy, but I’m a backup singer, and he’s the star of the show,” Brown says. “He’s the one that’s going to be out getting shows.”
The address, at 608 E. Douglas next to the Old Mill Tasty Shop, has been home to popular bars for decades.
“I first walked into that spot when it was Panama Red’s in 1996,” Thomas says.
The trio of owners transformed it into a music venue of note with a giant marquee advertising multiple shows every week.
“It was a little bit of a proving ground in terms of just what we could do for regional and some national acts,” Thomas says.
“We’ve brought some attention to that area.”
“We’ve been a little absentee, and I think it shows,” Thomas says.
Ballinger will focus on the shows with an assist from Thomas, who will be a consultant as long as the transition takes.
The renewed focus on the music will “just take it to that next level,” Thomas says.
He says it’s hard to let go, though.
“It was a great time. A great experience. . . . It was like going to war with two of your friends.”
However, he says, “The worst thing that we could do is hold onto it because of emotional ties.”