By Steve Koehler
Paul Sundy credits Ozarks Technical Community College with sending him on his way to professional and personal success.
The owner/operator of a number of Springfield’s most popular restaurants and lounges including Big Whiskey’s, Parlor Eighty Eight and Fedora’s Social House, Sundy said OTC was “the stepping stone that gave me the ability to more forward in my life.”
An important step in his life came during his second semester at OTC. He met the woman who would become his wife, Crystal. They have two children, 4-year-old son Presley and 17-month-old daughter, Kinley.
“When I attended OTC that was when I really started to fall in love with the Springfield area,” said Sundy, a graduate of Marionville High School and who earned his Associate of Arts degree from OTC in 2001.
Sundy spent some time searching for a career before going into business for himself. He went to California to try acting and worked as a bartender at an upscale restaurant while living out West.
But Sundy came home to the Ozarks and opened his first business, Icon nightclub, in 2003. From then on, it was all business as Sundy opened Big Whiskey’s American Bar and Grill in 2005, Parlor Eighty-Eight Lounge in 2007 and Fedora Social House and a Big Whiskey’s in Little Rock in 2008.
And soon, a second Parlor Eighty-Eight will open along with the first Missouri licensing agreement of Arkansas’ famous Whole Hog Café, which serves world championship barbecue.
More businesses are on the way, Sundy said. His 10-year plan calls for opening between 15 and 30 more restaurants under the Parlor Eighty-Eight and Big Whiskey’s names.
A key player in the revitalization of downtown Springfield, Sundy said OTC was good for him since he admits he wasn’t the best student.
“OTC was the first thing I completed since high school. The small class sizes helped. You weren’t swallowed up by the bigger university and it was affordable,” he said.
It was during those formative years at OTC and after that Sundy developed his business philosophy and formula for success.
“My business philosophy is you have to be willing to take yourself out of your comfort zone and when people smarter than you talk, listen,” he said.
“You don’t have to be the best at what you do. You just have to be willing to work harder than the other guy. Do what someone else has done, only better.”
Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Publications
Phone: (417) 447-2666