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Tammy Johnson grew her business through hard work and by not backing down from a challenge – or from those who didn’t take her seriously. The result is High Spirits Hospitality, a parent company that is focused on being a trusted partner in creating special occasions.
In 2009, Johnson was working as a catering sales manager for a restaurant group.
“From there, I formed Liquid Catering, my first business, in 2011,” she says.
That initial endeavor focused on beverage catering, filling a hole that Johnson saw in the market at that time.
“There were a lot of food caterers out there who didn't want to mess with the bar and they didn't want the liability,” she says. “They didn't understand alcohol. They wanted to focus on the food, which is great. But unfortunately, when customers would hire those food caterers, they would have a gap in needing a bar service. We found a niche in the market.”
In addition to events, Johnson branched out into beverage service for festivals as well. She expanded to event venue operations in 2013, including two recent openings at Judson mill.
“And then we just opened a third venue, The 405, in downtown Greenville, in the old Westfield space along the Swamp Rabbit Trail,” she says. “I love venue operations because we get to actually host events, and we get to be involved in events a little bit more intimately than we do just strictly as a bartending company.”
Because security is an important component of event venues, Johnson also added a security company, Bravo1 Protection, to her portfolio. And since one project leads to another, Johnson’s company now offers full service planning and event management, plus Airbnb stays – High Spirits Overnight – and management of Topside Pool Club.
The growth of the business has come through cultivating relationships throughout Greenville and creating an atmosphere that honors employees and those they come in contact with.
“We've put a lot of intention and thought into our culture, and I think because we are so mindful of it, our staff responds really well to it and they get it –they understand our mission and our vision and our values,” Johnson says. “They live it and then they carry that vision forward to how they interact with our customers.”
Johnson says it took a long time for people to take her seriously, and she still faces that challenge occasionally, but it hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her dreams.
“You just have to be willing to put yourself out there and take a risk,” she says. “And it may or may not work out. But you’ve just got to give it a try.”
Learn more at highspiritshospitality.com.