Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trops Soulard Eyes Early May Opening

Like just about every Mizzou alumnus that returns to St. Louis, Billy Thompson longed for a local outpost of Tropical Liqueurs. More commonly known as "Trops", the establishment is famous in Columbia and Springfield, Missouri for its frozen cocktails that it has been serving since 1985.

Unlike some of the other dreamers out there, Billy Thompson made up in his mind one day driving through the streets of Soulard that he was going to bring Trops to St. Louis and it was going to be in Soulard, a neighborhood he loves. He started making calls to family members and working through the numbers.Thompson comes from a commercial real estate background. His family has been involved in that industry for most of his life.

While the industry experience and connections are certainly important in this endeavor, it's also important to note that Thompson possesses another quality that is essential; the guy bleeds Black and Gold. He graduated from the University of Missouri in the early 2000s with a degree in Political Science and minors in Philosophy and Spanish. While at Mizzou, he was the president of the Delta Upsilon chapter and served on both the Greek Week and Homecoming Steering Committees. Thompson now works for a local non-profit and lives in a loft downtown, but he is looking to buy a house and move to Soulard.

Brad Thompson, Billy's brother, will be assisting him on-site with the Tropical Liquers franchise. His sister Connie will he helping with the accounting aspect of the business and his mother will be assisting with the business in several different capacities.

Thompson has signed a lease with Red Brick for the building at 1800 South 10th that previously housed Gladstone's. Gladstone's closed in 2011 and extensive work has been done on the building since. Billy has worked closely with Alan Dodd for about a year on this Trops Soulard project. Dodd lives in Columbia and is the son of the Trops founders. The Soulard outpost will be the first franchise location for the company.

Construction work has already begun on the building and Thompson hopes for an opening in early May of this year. The business will utilize both stories of the building as well as the patio area out back. If you remember being in the building when barbecue was served and questionable acts were being committed by the staff, you're in for quite the change of scenery. The stairs and the bathrooms will both be moved during the build out, which is very pleasing to hear since we don't really want to know what happened in those bathrooms before.

He'll have 12-15 machines inside that will churn out the famous flavors like Brain Freeze, Toasted Almond , Silver Bullet and Tiger Paw. A full bar will also be available, but food will not. Patrons will be encouraged to bring their own food in from neighboring establishments or have food delivered, much like the International Tap House model. Thompson really wants to be a good neighbor and said he won't be having loud, obnoxious music on the patio into the night or have any outdoor decorations that don't fit into Soulard's historic charm.

The second floor of the building will be used for extra seating and possibly some of your typical bar games. Thompson brought up the idea of possibly having his sound system set so the second floor can be used for sporting events and such as well.

For now, you can follow Tropical Liqueurs St. Louis on Facebook while you wait for warmer weather and delicious frozen cocktails. You can also buy Trops merchandise and check out the other locations at 2trops.com