March 14, 2022
They call themselves “Jane’s Boys” and they are – in a business sense and by blood.
The three sons of Mike Slattery and the late Jane Slattery formed a new family business and became the next owners of South Dakota’s flagship establishments, Whimp’s Place in Burbank and Toby’s Lounge in Meckling.
Tom, Nick and Jim Slattery
Nick, Tom and Jim Slattery had their mother in mind every step of the way after losing her to cancer last summer at age 72.
“She passed away leaving us with a legacy of camaraderie, service, determination and ingenuity, which guided us through our years as business owners, husbands and fathers,” said Tom Slattery.
Vermillion’s Nick Slattery, along with his business partner, Randy Sibson, have built a successful construction business known as AMS Building Systems which now employs over 30 people in the Vermillion area and includes home building, construction Commercial and The Lumberyard LLC.
Nick and his wife, Cindy, along with their two children, Rayanna, 15, and Shane, 10, have built their lives in the community and are involved in many activities.
Tom Slattery of Sioux Falls, along with his wife, Jean, owns JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars, The Boozy Bakery and JJ’s Axes & Ales. Over the past 20 years, JJ’s has become an industry leader in the region, ranked #1 in 2021 on the Sioux Falls Local Best for Adult Beverage Retailers and named Beverage dynamics 15th Retailer of the Year in a national survey of adult beverage professionals.
Tom and Jean have two children. Aaron, 24, is a chemical engineer at Direct Cos. in Sioux Falls, and James, who goes by the name Jace, 22, is the fourth generation in his family to attend USD and works at JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars with his parents.
Jim Slattery of Meckling, via Gilbert, Arizona, and his wife, Carmen, will soon be permanent residents of Meckling, the family said. Jim was a software engineer and business manager for Analytic Owl, serving as chief technology officer for about 10 years, and was involved in software engineering with other entities for almost 20 years. Jim and Carmen have four children: Hannah, 20, who will be Coyote in second grade next year; Lucas, 17; Jacob, 7 years old; and Ethan, 4 years old. Carmen will stay in Arizona for a year while Lucas graduates from high school before bringing everyone together under one roof again.
“Jane’s Boys was the name we came up with (for the family business),” Nick said. “When we decided to buy Whimp’s Place, we knew doing it as a family would be the only way to work, and it’s a credit to mum, so it’s Jane’s Boys.
Three paths, one goal
Jane’s fingerprints are all over the place as her sons began their latest venture, Tom said.
“Mom taught us a lot. She taught us how to fix things. She taught us how to create and how to use our imagination. She taught us how to understand things before calling for help,” he said. he said, “Mom wasn’t one to let someone tell her she couldn’t do something.”
For the last 40 years of her life, Jane struggled with chronic pain known as CRPS.
“Mom was still in pain. I can’t remember a time when you could have known that,” Tom said, even as the cancer started to complicate things even more about four years ago.
“The one thing mom and dad taught us that was a common thread between the three of us was that relationships…building, growing and nurturing were going to be the foundation of success, in everything we do.” , Jim said.
That’s a big part of why the Slatterys say they bought these two businesses: to nurture the relationships they’ve collectively developed over the past 30 years, and to build new relationships in and around the community by ensuring the longevity, growth and legacy of Whimp’s. Toby’s place and living room.
Whimp’s Place was opened by “Whimp” Girard in 1967 in Burbank. Built in a former train station, it is located along the train tracks and highway that connect Elk Point and Vermillion.
Many people remember the sign directing people to Whimp’s Place along Interstate 50, just as you exit Interstate 29, heading west towards Vermillion.
Known primarily for classic American cuisine, steaks and roast chicken – a theme of this acquisition – Whimp’s was known to most students who attend SHU as the place to go on Thursday nights for spaghetti and meatballs. meat at will, the brothers mentioned.
“We will definitely keep this tradition going,” Jim said. “We’re going to keep a lot of things the way people have known them for over 50 years. But what we do is provide new energy to the operational components of the business and some new elements and experiences that we feel are necessary to keep the business growing.
The family is linked to Whimp’s “throwback,” Nick added.
The Radigan family of Vermillion had owned and operated Whimp’s in some capacity since 1980, and the Radigans and Slatterys were very close growing up in the Vermillion area. So when it came time for the newest Radigan to retire, his first call was to a Slattery.
Dan and Missy Radigan, along with their children, have owned and operated Whimp’s since the death of Dan’s brother, Jeff, over a decade ago.
“When mum passed away last summer, we spent time at Whimp’s as family members gathered to celebrate her life. Conversations took place, and the ball started rolling, and now here we are,” Nick continued.
Toby’s Lounge was started in 1971 by Toby and Dolly Larson, along with Toby’s brother, Verlyn, and “almost the whole town of Meckling”, Tom said, including the Slattery family. Mike Slattery still lives there.
“Growing up, we were always there,” Tom said.
Jane’s family farm is 1 mile south and 1 mile east of Meckling, known as the hay capital of the universe.
“That blue building was the first thing we saw when we approached from any direction to visit Grandma and Grandpa and was always an indication that our time on the road was coming to an end and that many great adventures awaited us,” said Tom.
The history with the Larson family predates Toby’s opening, so there has always been a connection with the families.
“Toby and our grandparents went to Meckling High School together,” Jim said. “Fast forward, this is where I met my wife, Carmen, and where Tom poured his first drink as a bartender over 30 years ago. There’s a crack in the mirror above the Our Uncle Mike broke that mirror before Toby’s even opened as he was piling beer into the cooler and hit the wall a little too hard.
This mirror has never been repaired, leaving a constant reminder of the connection between these two families and this company.
“It made sense for them to buy it,” said Deb Larson, Toby’s daughter. “We, my brother Clark and I, were ready to move on and wanted to make sure the business would survive. Selling to Jane’s Boys was a no-brainer.
Toby’s Lounge is famous for chicken, especially roast chicken. The menu is simple, which Toby has always insisted on, the family said. Nothing fancy, just chicken. Over the years it has added breaded shrimp dinners and a few other dishes, but the menu is really chicken-centric.
“We are not changing anything that has been served here for over 50 years,” said Jim, who will be responsible for managing both Toby’s and Whimp’s. “Our grandfather and our mother taught us well. If it is not broke, do not fix it.
That being said, it needs updating to attract new clientele, the brothers added.
“We plan to add a few different things to improve the experience when you visit, but we’ll keep everything that people have known for years intact,” Jim said.
Toby’s, Whimp’s and JJ’s wines, spirits and cigars
Toby’s and Whimp’s serve roast chicken. So who does it better? Collectively, the three brothers indicated that Toby’s was the winner there.
“We’re going to change Whimp’s recipe to match Toby’s, because Toby’s chicken is as good as it gets, and we want people to have the same quality when it comes to roast chicken in both places. operated by Jane’s Boys,” Jim said. .
Apart from that, the two companies are very different but have a similar customer base. This is where Tom comes in.
“We have developed a business at JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars in Sioux Falls that is based on the fundamental principle that improving the customer experience is the primary goal of everything we do,” he said. he declares.
“Whether it’s buying adult drinks to take home, hanging out with food and drink at JJ’s Bar or throwing axes and socializing at JJ’s Axes & Ales, it’s all in the experience. And we want to bring some of that to Whimp’s and Toby’s.
The plan is to expand off-sale adult beverage sales to both locations, he said.
“Think ‘Powered by JJ’s’,” Tom said. “We have operational components to work out before we get down to it, but it’s something we have in sight.”
Jane’s Boys also offers craft cocktails, premium wine and locally made craft beer to both businesses, “because we want to start attracting new business to both locations, and that’s stuff, along with good food. , which people look for when they travel for a meal,” he said.
The excitement he hears from some of his most loyal customers to visit these two places is palpable, he continued.
“We have a very captive audience here at JJ’s, and when news broke of our acquisition of these two iconic venues, stories started coming in about personal experiences at both locations. And they’re all eager to see what we can do with them.
Jim will be responsible for managing both businesses. Tom has been providing advice for more than 30 years in the industry, and Nick provides much of the financial support for both companies and serves as a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to getting things done, the brothers said. .
That said, they need more help.
“We’re hiring right now,” Jim said.
“We need cooks and servers in both locations, and as the business grows the need for assistant managers and other key roles will also be needed. We want to bring in people who want to grow with us. We are building a culture with Jane’s Boys that will provide sustainable career positions with the best pay and benefits over time.
For more information on job opportunities, email [email protected].