The other night Mike and Suzanne Ramos, owners of the Club Prodigy, an under 21 club, sat in the middle of the city council chambers. The owners came before the council to speak about their failed business. They were angry, frustrated, bitter, and sad. And the whole time they seemed to be venting that the city council didn’t do enough to support their business and in effect had let it die.
The blame seems misplaced. The spectacle that took place in the council chambers makes it seem that the closing of Prodigy is somehow the fault of the city, but really why did Prodigy fail?
If you don’t know where Club Prodigy was, it was right in the same building as Ocean State Job Lot in the space closest to
Prodigy’s owners seemed to insinuate that the negative press from the Herald News played a part in the clubs troubles, citing the stories in the paper and the “blogs” on the Herald website. Well I’ve read the stories I personally don’t think they were that negative or alarming, nor were there that many (2). As for the “blogs” as many seemed to support the club as didn’t. Oh, and they’re not blogs, they’re comments. THIS is a blog. Yes I know I’ve ranted about this before but for those of us who take the time to write original material for our blogs, it is an important difference.
This is the most puzzling of all. What exactly did the council do to cause the club to fail? What exactly was the council supposed to do to support it? Maybe somebody will be kind enough to write a few COMMENTS here and let me know because I am at a loss to understand this one.
Now we’re getting somewhere! How much did it cost to open Club Prodigy? What were its monthly expenses? How much did they need to make a week to cover it all? The club charged $10 for entry. Where were kids getting this money from? For this age group I can imagine the majority of the money comes from mom and dad. Let’s see 18% unemployment, foreclosures on the rise, is it possible that enough kids weren’t coming to the club? And what was their marketing strategy? They talked about walking kids home and that makes me think they were pulling from just their immediate area. That’s not going to work. You can’t expect the same kids to go day after day or week after week. You’ve got to pull from the entire city and the surrounding communities. Were they doing that or trying to? If so I’m not sure their strategy was successful.
Starting a business is a risk, one that often fails. I would think before you go and protest at a council meeting maybe you’d take a good hard look at what YOU did wrong and what you didn’t properly plan for or foresee. You always hear that most new businesses fail and a quick Google search brings me to a statistic that says more than ½ will fail in the first 4 years. It’s a statistic that Prodigy’s owners should have been aware of. And why do so many fail? I can only assume it’s do to some flaw with the concept or the management. I am certainly assuming that is the case here.
What were they trying to do? It all gets played up as this fantastic service to provide a safe and fun place for teens to hang out, but really weren’t they trying to make money? They saw something they thought the city lacked and they opened up Prodigy with the expectations of it being a successful money maker. If that wasn’t the plan it should have been otherwise you’re opening up a business without knowing if it can sustain itself.
Why did Club Prodigy fail?
Without knowing the whole story, without seeing it all for ourselves, it is tough to know why Prodigy failed. I’m only making some observations and drawing conclusions from them, but I think they’re fair conclusions to make. How long was the club losing money? Did I hear right was it 7 or several months? I thought they said 7 at the council chambers which basically means almost from the start. That’s tough to blame anyone but yourselves for. If it was only ‘several’ and the losses came after the Herald’s story maybe they could make a case that the paper, the neighbors, and whatever else played a part. But I would argue that it could also just have been a downturn in business and their inability to weather it probably means that Prodigy was always fated to be one of those businesses that was never going to be around 4 years later.