(Note: This story appears in the January 2022 issue of ED Magazine)
What started as a bar-backing gig 17 years ago has evolved into a managerial career where Tim Ford is on call 24/7 — and he relishes it.
Tim Ford must have made quite the impression.
Ford was working at Platinum Plus in Columbia, South Carolina, when Scott Discianno with the Bucks Cabaret chain asked to get Ford’s number. At the time, Ford was living in Greenville, South Carolina and commuting an hour and a half, one way, to Columbia for work.
“Scott called me up, we spoke and ended up meeting in person, talked it out, got the money right and then I started for Bucks in Greenville,” recalls Ford.
That proved to be a pivotal move in a 17-and-counting-year career that has seen Ford elevated to manager.
ED Magazine spoke with Ford about the degree of autonomy afforded him within Bucks, the difference between some of the clubs within the chain and “hitting” social media.
ED: How long have you been in the industry and where did you work before Bucks?
FORD: In 2004, I started off at Platinum Plus in Columbia (South Carolina) bar-backing.
ED: What was your journey to manager from there? How long did it take you to get to manager and what did you do in the meantime?
FORD: I bar-backed for about a year and a half and then I started working the floor, selling bottles, doing VIP — did that for about two years and then made it into management.
ED: What other Platinum Plus clubs did you work at after that?
FORD: We had a Platinum Plus in Miami, one in Greenville and a Platinum West in West Columbia, South Carolina.
ED: Were you working at Trophy Club or Platinum Plus Greenville when Bucks bought them?
FORD: I was working at Platinum Plus in Columbia when Bucks bought the Platinum in Greenville.
ED: Tell me about Bucks Racks and Ribs and the Trophy Club — similarities and differences between your two clubs.
FORD: Going back to clientele, Bucks Racks and Ribs in Greenville is definitely more of a party club — bottles everywhere, money thrown everywhere. Trophy Club is a little bit more laid back, a little bit more of a gentlemen’s club type, quieter.
ED: Tell us about how you’ve taken Trophy Club to the next level?
FORD: It’s all about the Bucks way: whoever’s got the most girls wins. We definitely bring in a lot more entertainers at Trophy Club, more staff. We remodeled — I can’t explain in words how great this club looks now. We brought the Bucks way to it and the sales are reflecting that.
ED: How does how does working for Bucks differ from the Platinum Plus owners?
FORD: When I first started with Bucks four years ago, they told me what they wanted, what they expected. Going from that, Scott, Rich (Kevin Richardson), Curtis (Wise) kind of let me do my thing. They know what I’m good at. With Platinum, they were more set in their ways than Bucks. I felt with Platinum, they targeted more upscale, high-end clientele. With Bucks, we cater to everyone — you’re going to get treated the same way going into a Bucks club.
ED: Tell me about what you guys did during COVID. I know the Texas clubs fed people, tell me about how you did it?
FORD: We kind of did some of the same things. We have a full kitchen at Bucks Racks and Ribs in Greenville, so we had a bunch of food that we didn’t want to go bad. We didn’t know how long we were going to be closed down. I think we ended up being closed down for 10 weeks here in Greenville. The unemployment was a little slow coming in at first, so we cooked some food we had and invited staff, entertainers, etc.
ED: Tell us about the difference in food at the two clubs?
FORD: We do plan on adding in a full kitchen at the Trophy Club. Right now, it’s more bar food: chicken fingers, fries, cheese sticks, stuff like that. Bucks Racks and Ribs has a full menu; Chef Simon works there. Bucks Greenville sells a lot of food so it’s not just coming in and looking at the girls getting drinks — which is all great, which is what we want everyone doing — but while you’re there, you can have you can actually have a really good meal, as well.
ED: When you started out as a barback 17 years ago, I’m sure you didn’t give a lot of thought to what the manager would do. Tell me what’s one aspect of your job, that’s an unexpected reality now — something you do all the time that you wouldn’t have fathomed before becoming a GM?
FORD: Just always being available is one of the big things for me now. It’s a seven-day-a-week job, it doesn’t stop. I’m not complaining about it. This is something I love doing. But being on call all the time, doing stuff for your clubs; making sure everything’s set up, day-to-day. These are definitely things I didn’t think about 17 years ago when I was bar-backing. The thought process of everything that goes into the club operating and just being a part of that, I love it.
“Do something for your club every day. Doesn’t matter what it is, just get up and do something for your club and things will come back to you. If you’re sitting around, really not doing much and just waiting to see what happens … well, we don’t do that.” — Tim Ford
ED: What’s your approach toward social media marketing?
FORD: I spend a lot of time on social media. That’s one of the great things I learned from Scott Discianno. I didn’t really even really believe in it as much at first, until I really started seeing results. We’re on social media six, seven, eight times a day, depending on what we’ve got going on. Whether it’s special events or those value nights, we’re hitting social media. I would say social media is a big part of us hiring new entertainers, hiring new staff, and also getting in new guests.
ED: You mentioned the fact you’re working seven days a week, 24/7. Can you talk about the relationship you have with the company and how you feel you get recognized for that?
FORD: It’s something I love to do. I love being involved in everything, I like speaking to my managers on a daily basis, trying to figure out what we’ve got going on and trying to figure out what we can do better, how we can get more people, how we can get more girls, how we can ensure everyone has a great time at either location and at the end of the day, just have them come back. We want people to leave happy and excited about the next time they’re coming in.
It’s great. When I worked for Platinum — the company I worked for before Bucks — I spoke to the owner maybe four or five times a year. I speak to the owners of Bucks more than that in a week. I have a great relationship with Curtis, Rich, and Scott. I couldn’t ask for better people to work for.
ED: If you had other club GMs in a room and you could share some wisdom with them, what would you like to tell them?
FORD: Do something for your club every day. Doesn’t matter what it is, just get up and do something for your club and things will come back to you. Good things will happen if you’re active. If you’re sitting around, really not doing much and just waiting to see what happens … well, we don’t do that. With Bucks, I get up every day and make sure we have girls coming in, people know the specials — I’m reaching out via text messages, emails, Facebook messages, whatever I need to do.
Larry Kaplan has for 20 years been the Legal Correspondent for ED Publications. In addition, Mr. Kaplan is a business broker in the sale and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult retail stores and the Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association. Contact Larry Kaplan at 313-815-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.