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Watering Hole History

Photos and excerpts from Company Magazine / November, 2009

The history of The Watering Hole spans about forty years, when in 1969 Tim Brunette and his wife, Kathy, started a country bar on Velp Ave. The idea began with ten bar stools, a pool table, and a jukebox, with a customer base that grew quickly. The venue's business grew so fast, in fact, that several remodeling jobs were needed in order to keep up with the influx of interested people. Originally unsure of the success that would follow, Tim and his brother (Tom) worked full-time in the construction trades outside of the bar. As his brother's job became increasingly more demanding, Tim soon took over full duties with his wife. However, without a regular paycheck from another source, the decision to take control of the business fulltime was not an easy one with four hungry children to consider.

Once things got settled, further expansion was necessary and thus enacted. Tim and his wife decided that their love of athletics, particularly volleyball, should be incorporated somehow. The venue began experimenting with volleyball leagues. Starting with three outdoor courts, which quickly generated interest, many other leagues sprang up shortly after. The leagues that followed have become a classic staple of the venue. Well aware of the sport's ability to draw in all walks of life, from the highly skilled and competitive to those simply looking for some exercise and a good time, it lends itself well to the establishment. This otherwise small element of the bar caught on well, and in more recent years The Watering Hole has expanded further, adding a connection to the Howard Park & Recreation Area (for year-round sporting events), five indoor courts, three banquet areas, and even outdoor horseshoe courts. On occasion, there has also been involvement with local rugby teams in which things get more creative

What has created a formidable presence for The Watering Hole in the recent past has been the success of its banqueting business. According to Brunette, the banquet business "caught on nicely," and based on weddings and reunions alone, a sizeable market has been created over the last decade or so.

Over the last couple of years, the Watering Hole has been using its success to help others in heartfelt ways. In 2007, a connection was made with the Wisconsin-Green Bay Chapter of the Special Olympics, as well as the Brown County Tavern League. As a collaborative effort, all three hosted the Polar Plunge of Green Bay together, with the tagline "Freezin' for a Reason." Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, participants, and sponsors, the event has raised over $280,000 for the Special Olympics in the course of three short years. This simple act of philanthropy has become an event of increasing attention---and rightfully so. In a candid moment, Tim asserts that the quality of his staff as the most important reason people have come to know and love his business. In the current downtrodden economy, such integrity is rare to find, but many have continued to find it at The Watering Hole.

Written by Graham M. Marlowe


The Watering Hole
2107 Velp Avenue
Green Bay, WI
(920) 434-0805
Open daily 11am-close

WateringHoleGB.com


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