SOLAR PANELS TO COCKTAILS
Written on the 12 September 2014 by Karen Rickert
SERIAL entrepreneur John Simpson has added another string to his bow, with the opening of his nightclub Secrets on Ann.
Simpson is well versed in the business world, having established Elite Garage Door Centre, Solar Panel Options and KMS Group Services with his family.
The contemporary nightspot replaced a strip club in Fortitude Valley and caters to the over-25 set.
Brisbane’s booming club scene is a far cry from his existing enterprises and Simpson says he was excited for the challenge.
“It was more about a lifestyle choice for me,” Simpson says.
“I’d never been in the hospitality industry and really wanted to challenge myself and learn new things.
“The city has a real buzz about it at the moment and it’s a really exciting time to be launching a new nightclub venue in Brisbane.”
His mother and sister, also his biggest supporters and business partners, thought Simpson had lost the plot when he initally told them the plan.
“When the idea first came to me to establish a bar and nightclub, to be honest they thought I was mad.
“We had already established very successful business models with the other businesses and a bar seemed very far-fetched.
“But once we sat down and did the numbers and looked at our forecasts, they were behind me 100 per cent and have been all the way.”
Enlisting the help of Denis Mullins Architects the property was overhauled, with the main bar the only vestige remaining from the previous occupant.
Secrets on Ann is equipped with two main entertainment areas, carefully selected furnishings and a Madrix lighting system that synchronises with music – the jewel in its crown.
Simpson says the start-up costs involved with the venture exceeded the budget, but “you have to speculate to accumulate.”
“We have positioned ourselves to attract a high-end crowd and to do that you need to provide a high-end venue, and that is what we have done.
“We did end up investing more during the build of Secrets on Ann than originally planned, but the results are well worth it.
“The quality of this venue, along with the finishes, innovative lighting and technology solutions are something I am really proud of.
“Ultimately it gives us an edge over other boutique venues in the area.”
Combining the contemporary design with the right employees, was another priority for Simpson.
“We could spend all this money on the look of the place and get the best DJs and lighting shows, but if the staff aren’t right, the business won’t succeed.
“The team provides the most real expression of your business philosophy, and they are the ones who are face to face with your customers, so you just have to that right.”
Secrets on Ann has garnered a positive response from the locals and Simpson says it’s down to the club’s intimate setting.
“Saturday is our most popular night, but Sexy Sundays are becoming very popular and we’ve also just launched Student Night on Wednesdays.
“Secrets offers the same things the bigger clubs have to offer, but without the exuberant cover charges and the feeling of just being another member.
“I try to get around and meet all our patrons and let them know how much we appreciate them coming in,” he says.
Located on 693 Ann Street, the club is open from 7pm until 5am.