Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Minotti.
Jamie, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My background and education is actually in teaching. I come from a family of educators so that was the logical track. Throughout college, I was a part of several bands and put on shows and events. While I was not a very good musician, admittedly, upon graduating from West Virginia University (Go Mountaineers!) I decided that prior to entering teaching I wanted to gain some life and professional experiences. I enrolled in a program called, “Americorps VISTA”, a year long volunteer program similar to the Peace Corps, and found myself in CA. I continued to follow my passion in entertainment on the side and eventually started an artist management company. The Madero Group (loosely named after my grandfather’s favorite word “moderation” in Italian) managed a variety of national and international bands and DJ’s. In 2005 I met Mark McLarry, my partner in My Yard Live, surrounding a music festival on a Carnival Cruise Ship, called Xingolati, that we ultimately produced. It was a music festival at sea blending a variety of music genres and worlds that featured everyone from The Flaming Lips and G Love to Slightly Stoopid and Bassnectar. This was before festivals blended genres so it was a bit before its time. From that event, we dove into event production and ultimately started Alternative Power Productions (APP), which specialized in solar powered staging, sound, lighting and event production services. We worked with everyone from ESPN and Disney to Vans Warped Tour. As the larger event production industry transitioned, we realized we need to make a pivot for our personal and professional lives to a project that encompassed all of the things we love and care about most: family, community, live entertainment, food and of course, beer.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think as a small business owner, entrepreneur or whatever you want to call yourself, when you talk to people about your projects and business it is sometimes perceived that because something is your passion, it’s easier to achieve. I’d just say that although I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work on things that are my interests throughout my career, its not necessarily the “easier” path. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “f*** it I want a ‘regular’ job,” but ultimately that drive to do something special pulls you back. Honestly, its a blessing and a curse. You have to be, or become, comfortable with rejection and failure and learn how to pick yourself back up. A support system is so crucial. My wife, Esther, and Mark’s wife, Stacey, have been our biggest champions and supporters through all of it. Developing My Yard Live has been the hardest thing I have done by far in my career. Mark and I literally sat down with a vision board at his house, and about three years later we opened our doors. Throughout that time, we heard more often than not why My Yard Live would not work, whether by concept, financially, permitting or real estate. At first I remember us getting annoyed when people would tell us that there was no way to make My Yard Live happen and then we began to take the responses in stride because we were rejected so often and believed so much in the concept. I think we were fortunate in many ways because people also told us the solar powered staging, sound and lighting was impossible. I think the more we heard people tell us why it couldn’t happen, the more we realized we were doing something really special.
My Yard Live – What should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My Yard Live brings together all the cool elements of a community center, dream backyard, park, brewery and beer garden, eatery, and live entertainment and event venue. We set out to create a family friendly concept where folks could come for an experience and create memories. We wanted to provide an option for folks that were looking for a different type of restaurant and brewery experience. I’m most proud of My Yard Live when we see the community really engaged in the concept via the games, live entertainment, activities or beyond. One of the coolest things we see is generations of families meeting here and partying together. It’s great to see Pops kicking his grandson’s butt in old school shuffle board or Nana blowing the roof off the place during karaoke.
What were you like growing up?
My mom called me the gypsy of the family. While I played sports through high school and college, I definitely did my own thing always taking on different projects and ideas as early as I can remember. One of my early memories was handwriting a letter to “Rad Rob’s Skateboard Shop” telling him why he should sponsor a skateboard team I was trying to put together. I think his old school typewriter letter in reply was one of the things that really stoked the entrepreneurial fire in me. As a youngin’, I also tried to start bands, ran a paper route and even owned an ice cream truck for a summer. I was always into something.
- Address: 288 Rancheros Drive
San Marcos, CA
- Website: www.myyardlive.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: myyardlive
- Facebook: myyardlive