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The Business View – September 2017 / Small Business of the Month
Visit Mobile’s slogan, “Born to Celebrate,” inspired a business opportunity for Summer Phillips. With 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, focusing primarily on corporate and social events, she knew how to capitalize on the city’s love of parties.
Phillips founded Bottles Up Mobile, a mobile bartending service, in 2015. The company provides bartending service at corporate events and social gatherings like the American Cancer Society Chili Cookoff, Senior Bowl functions, the Mobile Area Chamber’s Pork and Politics mixer and numerous grand openings, allowing her clients to enjoy the party instead of worrying about pouring drinks.
“We have provided anywhere from a single bartender to up to 16 for one event,” she said. “No matter what, we’re there with a friendly face and professional service.”
In addition to bartending, Bottles Up provides bar setup services and can apply for event permits through the city and state for cash bars. “We take the worry out of serving so you and your guests can enjoy the event,” Phillips said.
Bottles Up Mobile is the Mobile Area Chamber’s Small Business of the Month.
After starting with just one employee, the company now has three full-time staff and 10 employees on call. Employing the right people, Phillips said, is what sets her business apart.
“We are a true start-up, the first of its kind in Mobile, and we take pride in the way we treat our bartenders and clients,” she said. “Finding the right people to serve our clients is the most important piece. I can train anyone to bartend, but Southern hospitality comes from the heart.”
The company’s friendly service extends to more than just paying gigs. Bottles Up Mobile donates bartenders to civic groups like Project Azalea, Women’s Business Alliance, Fuse Project and Young Professionals of Mobile. Phillips is also a member of Junior League of Mobile, sits on the fundraising committee for the University of South Alabama’s Hospitality and Tourism program, and participates in events like Startup Weekend and Alabama Future Leaders of America.
“My husband and I believe in giving back to the community and the people we serve,” she said.
The company has been a Chamber member since its inaugural year, which Phillips says has been integral to its growth. “Not only has the Chamber allowed us to participate in numerous events, but we have been able to provide our signature service to businessmen and women throughout Mobile,” she said. “We have made connections at each and every event and we are excited for what the future holds.”
In addition to more bartenders to handle more events, that future may include an exciting new venture, but Phillips isn’t ready to dish the details just yet.
“With a few new bartenders on the roster, we are now able to take on events throughout the week as well as multiple events at one time over the weekends,” she said. “We are also taking steps to offer a service in Mobile that hasn’t been here in the past and we are working closely with ABC in Montgomery to allow more flexibility in our industry in order to achieve our goal. We will keep you in suspense with that teaser!”
Click here to read The Business View – September 2017