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Life & Work with Alexandra Schatz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandra Schatz.  

Hi Alexandra, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
Honolulu Harry’s vision came from our love of tropical cocktails and Key West. Dustin and I fell in love with Key West, Florida, and got married there. The laid-back island life was one we wanted to bring to Orlando, Florida (without the crazy price tag). I came from the liquor side of the business and really wanted to create an atmosphere where everyone felt welcome. I envisioned business meetings, moms night out, promotion celebrations, receptions and more happening at Honolulu Harrys. This led us to our tiki/modern island concept. There is no better way to celebrate than with a Mai Tai in hand.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
There have been tons of challenges, but it’s definitely part of the grind. As for personal challenges-during the whole process of building out Harrys I was pregnant and we kept joking about what would come first. The baby or the bar? Naturally, they came at the same time. I think with a newborn and opening a new restaurant I resembled a zombie at most times. When we did open the doors, and not even five minutes later, our A/C went out, the men’s bathroom toilet started leaking from the floor, our dishwasher leaked into the business next door, and all of our cooks did not show up. Finding staff, especially kitchen staff, has been very difficult. We want to make sure we are hiring individuals who fit our island vibe. We learned a lot regarding permitting and had no idea how much time and how many steps this takes to complete. No matter what product you put out there as a business owner, there will be someone who does not like it. I have learned or should I say learning to not take peoples feedback so close to heart. I truly have seen a shift in peoples behavior since COVID. I think this is why there is such a shortage in the hospitality field right now. It has become difficult to keep pricing at a good profit while putting out a great product and making your client happy. If we could give advice to anyone who wants to start a business, we would say prepare to spend double what your original investment vision is. This business is difficult and make sure you surround yourself with people who support you. Everyone may not see your dream but the ones who do are GOLD.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
My role as owner and creator of Honolulu Harrys College Park has been to make sure that those walking into our space come thirsty/Hungry and leave happy. We offer some Hawaiian delicacies like spam but wanted to also have items that the general public would enjoy. The menu we have created features island types of food like bowls, tacos and sliders. Our drink menu is killer and we are super proud of it. The drinks are strong and well balanced. We make all of our juices fresh and use the highest quality of liquors. One of the most important things about this project for me was making sure it had some female focused parts like our instagram wall. In an industry that is mostly run by males it is important to shine as a female owner.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
We poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this family-owned business. We hope that everyone enjoys coming to Honolulu Harrys as much as we enjoyed building this concept. You deserve to be celebrated, and we want to make sure you are. We look forward to getting into the event space, and making event dreams come true. If you are in the neighborhood please come check us out and enjoy a “vacation” cocktail.

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