The former Campbell Street Station has long been a recognized venue in Sarnia’s South end. It has seen several changes in name and ownership over the years, most currently operating under the name of Rustic. With a massive facility ready to host concerts, a live DJ and dancing and a large number of people, one has to wonder if it has seen its brightest moment. Enter entrepreneur Stuart Manchee. Manchee, of Manchee Media, is young, bright, resourceful and busting at the seams with ambition and possibilities. He knows how to carry an idea from conception to fruition and he is set to do great things with the property.
Changes have already begun, and Manchee has been open every Friday and Saturday with a live DJ, hosted 8 successful concerts at the site since June, including Juno Winners: The Arkells and Lights and other live entertainment options such as Kenny vs. Spenny. With some impressive talent booked in the coming months, an overhaul of the interior and name coming in November, and an endless flow of solid ideas, curious onlookers have much to anticipate. On October 31st, Juno Award Winner Moka Only will attempt to break a Guinness World Record for most live performances in one day (formerly held by Jay-Z) and his first concert will be take place at Rustic starting at 6 am – free for all who wish to attend. Due to the early hour, the event will feature an omelette bar rather than a cocktail bar – more evidence of the bright mind of its new owner. November will see live shows from both Finger 11 and Matthew Good. Manchee doesn’t fixate on rock, country or hip hop – offering a rotating mix of all genres for his live shows. A DJ offers up music for dancing every Friday and Saturday – with a rotation of featured DJ’s on Friday nights and a resident DJ on Saturdays. If there’s one thing Sarnia’s nightlife is sadly missing, it’s a place to dance.
The positive changes taking place at the Campbell Street facility will distinguish it from its past incarnations which focused heavily on “country ambiance”. A new look, new name, and fresh new eyes at the controls. Manchee is committed to ensuring that customers are treated with respect and have a viable alternative to travelling to London or Toronto for a night of dancing, while challenging that “shady” perception of clubs and bars. He frequently welcomes guests from Port Huron and throughout the county and he has thought about them well in advance, offering hotel deals for out of towners and as always, offering a shuttle for local pick-ups and drop-offs to ensure that his guests arrive home safely. He encourages patrons to leave their vehicles in his lot rather than risk the drive after a few drinks, even offering incentive vouchers to those who do.
Stuart Manchee is a natural business owner. He knows the value of hard work and has no problem tackling a problem head on. Undertaking a business venture as grand as Rustic was a challenge, but certainly one he was willing to rise to. As specialists in small business financing, the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation saw the potential in Manchee and quickly got on board. When asked about the experience Manchee is brimming with positive reviews. “They were an absolute pleasure to work with. They helped to get me organized and build a plan. The rapport with staff was great and I have to say that even if you chose not to finance through them, I would recommend all new businesses go and see them as the process and the learning was very valuable. I would recommend new entrepreneurs go and speak to them 110%!”
Stuart Manchee also offers this advice to other aspiring business minds “Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t expect everything to fall in your lap- it takes blood, sweat and tears, but if you’re honest with yourself and others, you will succeed!”
To learn more about Rustic and Manchee Media you can check out their Facebook page, find them on Instagram or visit them at 505 Campbell Street. They can be reached by phone at (519) 383-0006.