“When she knew God wanted to offer a bit more to life”: Owner of 5ive Spot Baltimore
This June will make 4 years that Stephanie Hannah has owned "The 5ive Spot" located in Randallstown, MD; 15 minutes outside of Baltimore City.
Sitting across from Hannah she reminisced on her days working in corporate America putting in hard work and long hours only to leave every day knowing that there had to be more. For years she spent her evenings as a patron in the same establishment she owns today. Drawn to an atmosphere where people of all races and classes could come after work; leaving relaxed, well fed, and with great conversation. When the opportunity was presented for Stephanie to continue the tradition of the establishment being black owned she knew this was her chance to take a step out on faith and ambition. She spent her life working hard for others. Stephanie put pride and honor into being a great employee at businesses where she was in high leadership positions dealing with the stress of creating dreams for others. Lead by something stronger in her spirit to provide the exact atmosphere most desire...one of community, that has now become a pastime in a generation of technology.
Her next step was the part that is hardest for most entrepreneurs in any field, and that was to build a team aligned with the same fabric of work ethic. Walked in one of her first current manager Sherene Rene. Sherene brought with her a background in marketing, sales, and banking experience. Not to mention she served in the US Army bringing leadership skills that you can easily see with her calm demeanor no matter the atmosphere.
Initially, the establishment was a neighborhood bar. Stephanie decided to transform it as well into a restaurant which was no easy task but well worth it if we do say so ourselves. Urban Freedom Magazine held a "Young, Gifted & Black Brunch" at The 5ive Spot this March with every patron remarking how amazing the food was. From Cajun Shrimp and Grits to Classic Southern Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles with a live Jazz Band as a special treat. It was truly our pleasure to see an owner be so hands on during the process. Like any process of elevation or anything new, there can be bumps in the road but Stephanie and Shelese handle themselves with a stature of strength as if you were a guest in their own home.
These two began working on The 5ive Spot at its most vulnerable state...the bottom. From learning how to work register systems for the first time, and advertising to letting people know they were open and ready. The 5ive Spot was far from walk in ready when Stephanie Hannah took over. In fact, Manger Shelese recalled walking into her interview seeing Stephanie with a construction face mask hard at work to get the venue prepared to be all she envisioned it to be. They had a look of joy just taking a moment to truly remember where they began. Often most entrepreneurs work so hard to the future it is rare we take the time to truly sit down and just thank God for where we are. Going down memory lane seemed to make both of their souls shine when asked how they see the future, simply because things have turned out better than they have both expected starting day one.
This lead to our next focus of how does one handle an establishment that can cater to a classic brunch to weekend nightlife. Maintaining a restaurant is a scale of its own to manage day to day along with adding dubbing as a late night venue. Especially in a city where many nightlife establishments have had to deal with violence a time or two. With a record of no violent crimes in her 4 years of ownership, I wondered what type of rules would have to be implemented. Stephanie stated she takes an amount of steps that most owners do not simply because her establishment means more to her than shallow thrill. First only hiring those who have been certified at bartending schools who have been trained to know when a person should receive a limit of alcohol as well as security personnel who does not allow in patrons who appear to already be under the influence. Friday & Saturday nights is when The 5ive Spot comes alive as a late-night venue. Unlike most Stephanie has a mandatory age of 25 & older for entry to add an extra step of crowd maturity.
Anytime it appears aggression is escalating Stephanie has a policy of stopping things in its tracks. She doesn't wish to be an owner wishing what she could have done if something happens but one that eliminates and prevents before anything negative does. Stephanie truly feels a business owner of any venue has to treat the space as if it is their home. You would not allow certain levels of disrespect to your home or guests and the same has to go for those who enter The 5ive Spot. Patrons must respect where they are as well as those around them. An old-school concept that seems to have relaxed in most places, much to the disadvantage of our community.
With that amount of focus, we asked Stephanie how she handles stress; in true leadership form Stephanie explained that The 5ive Spot is her dream, her baby, and life. She returns every day no matter what happens the day before ready simply because following her dream is a completely different form of therapy. If ever something doesn't go as planned she is determined to return and make sure she gets it on track for next time. Giving up or running is no form of stress relief for her; determination is how she sleeps peacefully at night.
Stephanie Hannah was a down to earth pleasure to be around. She exemplifies strength, accountability, and sense of ownership for not only her establishment but the community of Baltimore. Just recently she geared up with Cashland a local fashion store in Baltimore to provide track uniforms for Randallstown High school. During our interview, Stephanie also invited us to her back to school event she has been planning for this August. We will be sure to attend and update our readers on the journey of The 5ive Spot on our website, as well as information for our next Brunch!
What advice would you give up and coming entrepreneurs?
Owner Stephanie Hannah:
"Make sure you really want it. Make sure your experiences transitions into the dream you have. Always have a spirit of service aligning your work ethic and dreams. Learn from someone who is doing it. Ask questions and if people don't provide the feedback make sure you find your own information. Don't be cookie cutter. Start from scratch. Do not go into it for money alone because that will always fluctuate."
General Manager Shelene:
"Don't give up. Stick your feet in the ground and try harder when things get tough. Don't give up on your own dreams. Make peace with who you are because it can be lonely at the top. Understand that your family and friends may love you but you can't rely on them to always understand and support from your level of perspective because it is not them or their dream but yours. You can't be afraid of dark days."
The 5ive Spot
9820 Liberty Rd
Randallstown, MD 2113
Open: 6pm- 2am Everyday of the Week