True Legends in Liberty Lake is out of the water already

Posted: August 12, 2010 in Opening Business in Spokane Valley
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Starting a new hospitality business is like what I remember trying to get up on water skis when I was a kid. Getting up seemed so hard, waiting in the cold green water, clutching the foam-padded handle of the long striped nylon rope and  finally yelling “hit it” when I guessed I might be ready and  then watching the  rear of that big boat at the far end drop down and churn up the lake taking off just seconds before the  power transferred down to my scrawny arms.  It is tough for a novice to get the skis lined up just right, and have their body balanced every which way in order to spring up  as the boat speeds ahead without mercy. Beyond my own firsthand experience, I watched a hundred kids try from the back of my dad’s boat.

Almost all of us struggled mightily and only got it down after several brief but intense attempts. Every once in a while some kid would come along who was a natural that would make us all look like spastics. They had balance and timing and strength and water skiing was just another sport that they were confident they could master.

Perry Vinson must have been one of those kids. Through the years and several times in the last few months, I have watched new operators jump in the water, get themselves all situated just right and yell “hit it”. Most wobbled and strained as they attempted to get their operation on top and out onto smooth waters. Some never made it up. Others made it up but could barely keep their balance and don’t look like they will  make it out of the boat’s wake and really cut loose . Perry popped up like a cork, dropped a ski and it looks like he will be able to touch an elbow  soon as he cuts deeply back and forth across the water.

Getting up out of the water takes muscle. You have got to have the money to make the right changes when you are going into a place that has experienced failure. Perry is doing that in style. He tastefully closed off the bar with glass partitions, making the restaurant area more family friendly.The walls are coming alive with portraits, posters and paraphernalia of popular people from sports and entertainment He dropped 50k and added a beautiful  outdoor patio, complete with first-class furniture and rock fire pit. He told us the other day that he “just pulled the trigger” on an $8,000 high-definition projection T.V. for the huge screen behind the bar.

It also takes good timing to break out on top. The birth of True Legends appears to be one of those deals where Perry met a few people at a crossroad in their lives and they all left in different directions better off than before. The former business owner needed out and Perry picked up a turnkey, on-going operation at a bargain. The building owners were ready to move on and gave him a deal that made sense. Then he found a couple of key restaurant people looking for a change to help him run the place. Every one that had been working there before kept their jobs and are now making better tips than before. That’s a lot of good timing.

Getting his place up out of the water so quickly took balance and agility more than anything. While going to high school and college, Perry worked six and a half years in two successful Valley restaurants, though owning a place is lot different from working at one. That takes a lot of business acumen which he picked up starting with a degree in business and then managing at different levels in the convenience store trade for several years. He eventually owned and operated two convenience  stores for eleven years. Then he went into the beverage field as a rep and then a manager and finally acquiring and successfully operating Alert Distributing, which handles all the Red Bull in the Spokane region.

That is why Perry looked at the situation and figured it was something he could do. But before he jumped in the water he looked at it from every angle, crunched the numbers and came up with a business plan. When he yelled “hit it”out at Liberty Lake, he was going for it full tilt with everything he had and he made it look easy. Now he is on top and putting on a great show. The patio is packed on weekend nights and every seat in the bar is full. But the place is huge and there is a lot of room for him to continue show us how it is done. You rarely see it, but it is sure fun to watch when a local novice jumps in and takes off like a bat out of hell in the highly competitive hospitality trade.

True Legends is located just north of the freeway on Harvard Road.
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  1. […] Valley Scoop feature story on Perry                         Blog post on True […]

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