This fortnight, Matt Scrafton interviews Steve Vallas – one of the first hospitality vendors to embrace and actively use social media (especially in the wee hours of the morning!) and reach out to the local community.
It started with Honey Smacks
What a day to conduct my first ever interview for The Fetch! On a cold, wet, miserable Tuesday afternoon I find myself not in the best of spirits as I venture across town to meet Steve Vallas, owner of the Honey Bar.
Who is Steve Vallas?
Steve is the first to admit that he’s a little different. By his own admission he is an outsider. He is the face of Honey Bar. An inviting and warm bar in South Melbourne that’s done what few other bars have managed to do – beat the GFC.
A first generation Greek Australian, Steve’s positivity and outlook are infectious. His journey through life itself is a remarkable parallel to how the Honey Bar took shape. His school report read larrikin yet Steve graduated from Monash University with a double degree in Economics and Law. With a successful career in Commercial Litigation and Insolvency underway, Steve became tired at picking at the carcasses. A family tragedy as the catalyst, he quit, seeking more – a desire to build something.
Taking life’s breaks when then came, Steve was quick to roll up his sleeves to wash dishes by day, build his bar management experience by night and in between, drive taxis to keep the money rolling in. Slowly but surely his vision began to take shape.
Honey Bar came to life just as the GFC struck. It’s managed to outlast its competitors through Steve’s interest in people. Working in hospitality one would take that as a given but Steve is more than interested: he thrives on connecting people. Not only through social media (you will often find Steve on Twitter, morning, noon and night) but also in person. His personal resilience and the importance he attaches to reciprocity are evident. Supporting startups, charities and non-profit making causes, the Honey Bars venue space is booked out every Friday and Saturday of the year.
We are all guilty of marching through life with blinkers on. Yet Steve has, and continues to use the pauses that life offers to reflect. You will often find him walking on a beach in atrocious weather or stepping outside to see and hear life in South Melbourne.
A long-suffering Tigers Fan, Steve places immense importance on family and friends. Surrounding yourself with positive people is key for Steve. Tight lipped on his next on-line venture, one can’t help but be inspired by his overwhelming sense of authenticity.
I hear you asking; where did the inspiration behind the name ‘Honey Bar’ come from? Honey Smacks at a kid’s birthday party.
The Honey Bar is a bar that, despite living in the neighbourhood for almost five months now, I have to confess I’ve yet to frequent. I will definitely be back.
Here’s to Honey Smacks and the everyman.