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  • Writer's pictureAshley Martinez

Thank You

I first moved to Kitsap when I was 19 or 20, wanting to get away from Phoenix and the drugs most of my friends had found after high school. I never felt at home in AZ, despite being born there. I had never actually set foot in WA before I moved here, but it was a risk I will never regret taking. I was able to transfer my AZ job with Lowe's to WA, so I knew at least that when I came up. It took a year or so to make friends, and once I was old enough to drink legally, it took another year or so before I found out that I HATED most bars. When I discovered breweries, and especially Pint Defiance in Tacoma, I had found my happy place. I had found fellow beer nerds! Whether I was working for Lowe's, or Keyport, I have always thought it my duty to get the quietest people to talk and to bring people together. Building the Pub wasn't a life long dream of mine, but an idea friends and I had. I knew I didn't have much to risk by quitting my cushy govt job and trying my hand at being an entrepreneur, so I took the leap. I started taking online business classes, writing up a business plan, researching a million things a million different ways, trying to best prepare myself for what I was embarking upon.

When I first started renovating the space that is the Pub, was when I first realized this thing I had been working on for what felt like forever was finally becoming a reality. A reality I wasn't sure I was ready for but had already toppled the first domino. Thankfully, Keyport was super supportive and let me slowly get the Pub set up before I officially parted ways. I was definitely scared then, not knowing if it would work and knowing the last resort would be moving back to AZ. I had started hosting Game Nights at Silver City and LoveCraft a year before, so I had a group excited, plus the excitement built up from the FaceBook, so I knew there was interest, I just had to press on.

The real challenge came after opening the doors to the Public. I had never actually 'bartended' before. Sure, I had served at a couple of Brewfest's, so I knew what/how to do my new job. I've always had a love for customer service, my favorite job before this was as a convenience store attendant. I had regulars, an easy size space to manage as a teen (18), and little oversight. The Pub is similar, but obviously still different. I have trained my regulars, and in turn, new customers catch on faster. I want the Pub to be the place you bring your friends, grab a drink, a game, and entertain yourselves. I don't want to be the place you come to tell your bartender your troubles and stresses. I have always been an empathetic person, so your troubles and stresses, trouble and stress me out. I'm learning to not take on so much from other people, and not having bar seating right now has been a welcome relief.

The Pub was built with beer as the main source of income, but not the main focus. I wanted the introverts, the social outcasts, the lonely, and the new in town to find comfort and a 2nd home. I wanted these fellow fringe friends to relax and be themselves. I wanted to nerd out about beer and cider, and I wanted others to nerd out as well. Pinball has definitely brought out some of my favorite Pub peeps, but my favorite nerds are my Tuesday Game Night crew. I've developed some great friends from the Pub and seen great friends develop in front of me. It's because of that, and the fact that last summer almost every weekend we had the Pub at capacity, that I started to consider expanding. I started dating Josh, who has a kid, and that caused me to consider going all-ages. For what I want the Pub to be, and what it's already shaping into, all-ages seems like a logical step. I started planning again, I knew the space I wanted to move into, over twice the size as the Pub is currently, with bathrooms IN THE SUITE, with 2 stalls each!! I made floor plans, added furniture, priced everything out, talked to the landlord about how low the owners might go with the lease, & I thought I had just about everything ready again, so when 2019 taxes were ready, I eagerly applied, ready for the change. I was so engrossed with learning QuickBooks, being depressed at the state of our country, and preparing for what I thought the future would look like, I forgot to consider that the bank would say no.

That's where 'Transparency in the Smoke' comes in, and in less than 5 days, the community rose up and met the Pub's goal. Individuals and businesses stepped up to help. After the first day of fundraising, I was relieved at the love and support sent our way, and with each day, I've only been reinforced that the Pub is here to stay. All that is really to say thanks for letting me keep on. I want to grow this community more, I want to help this community, and I hope you see that your help helps us all. When the Pub can be up and running again, I will dedicate at least one day a month for non-profit fundraising at the Pub. I want to give back as much as I can, as a thank you to all that have helped in any fashion.

Special thanks to all the Patreon donors, all the GoFundMe donors (and their heartwarming comments), and the huge thanks to the businesses that have reached out to offer support:

Casey's Cookies

Talon & Claw

Saboteur Woodworking Studio Urban Plant Shop FROG Soap

Kitsap Food Co-Op

Stay tuned for more information on FB/IG for the Pub Yard Sale that will also be a fundraiser to keep us going through the winter!

Lastly, here are some whiteboard doodles and a meme? I made many years ago.

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