DES MOINES, Iowa — A "sucker" for old spaces, Nick Tillinghast said he and his business partners had been staring at 110 SW 5th Street for more than five years before they finally bought it and turned it into the Secret Admirer.
And how couldn't they stop thinking about the place? There's a patio and a bar, a great spot for bar patrons in the Des Moines metro.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
"Life was really weird last year," Tillinghast told Local 5's Samantha Mesa. "Now, we're able to stay afloat with outside bar space."
With winter right around the corner, the business is now preparing to keep patients healthy from COVID by providing heat lamps and space for social distancing.
Another priority— building up the Des Moines culture.
Tillinghast is also a partner at DMDT Hospitality, an organization focused on bringing something different to Des Moines's nightlife. He's also a Des Moines native who believes the city is a hidden gem.
"What frustrates me the most is someone who will dog on Des Moines because they don't think it has anything fun to do or anything," he said. "We wanted to create this for the adult world where you can sit and have a nice cocktail and you can relax."
So, what's the secret ingredient for success? Sticking with it through the hard times.
"The love of it. If we continue to do the right things and give it our all, we'll be able to make it through and see the other side," Tillinghast said. "If something catastrophic happens, it's not gonna be the end of what we do."
Another piece of advice is to have a nest egg in case of financial trouble.