Any venue can put on an event, but if you want to create a sense of community and inspire growth in your city, it starts and ends with your organization and the people you employ.
Meet Ballpark Village, a relatively new dining and entertainment district, located right next to Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. With a wide variety of spaces including restaurants, bars, lounges, and entertainment venues, it was created to host everything from game-day parties, to private events ranging between 20-10,000 guests. However, these are just the surface features. Standing as a 50/50 partnership between the St. Louis Cardinals and The Cordish Companies, both organizations bring a unique set of underlying values to the table that demand their leadership invest in the community as much as they invest in their own success.
Having interviewed the Director of Cardinals Care a few years ago, I was aware that the idea of “If you have the ability to give back, you should” is a core value that governs everything from general management, to hospitality training, to hiring new team members. It was no surprise then to see why The Cordish Companies brought Tony Caradonna, aka the Beer Man, on board to help make Ballpark Village an epicenter for the St. Louis community.
Saying Tony has a knack for hospitality is probably an understatement at best. He understands that every impression is an opportunity to create a memorable experience for guests and goes out of his way to make sure they come back wanting more. Take where we had our meeting for example. Instead of sitting in some remote conference room, he walked me out to their main deck overlooking 3rd base, practically with the whole stadium as a backdrop to our conversation, where we talked beer, baseball, and Ballpark Village.
Believing that successful organizations are built on quality experiences, hospitality, integrity, and a constant effort to build and nurture long-term relationships, Tony also brings experience in leadership, business development, and strategic design to the table. His nickname as the “Beer Man” comes from his unofficial title as one of the founding fathers of the Missouri craft beer movement. As a tour guide at Anheuser-Busch back in the 80’s, he recognized a unique opportunity and started the first Missouri craft-beer distributorship in 1990. With a decade of incredible success, he sold the company to Major Brands, and then launched his next venture; the O’Fallon Brewing Company. After another decade of award winning achievement, he sold yet another profitable and successful business.
Having created a name for himself both in the St. Louis area and what is now a booming craft-beer industry, The Cordish Companies made the call and asked him to come on board as a key team member to fulfill Ballpark Village’s vision. He said yes, became the 6th team member to join on with Ballpark Village, and is now a key player in helping make Downtown St. Louis the destination it deserves to be.
Ballpark Village just announced plans for a $220M+ project, made up of a 550,000 square foot build-out of Clark Street, with a 29-story luxury high-res residential tower, additional retail, restaurant and entertainment space, structured parking, and the first new Class-A office building built in downtown St. Louis in nearly thirty years. This phase 2 of Ballpark Village will create 2,500 additional new jobs for the community.
Having achieved so much in the mere two and a half years since they opened their doors, Tony reiterated the importance of their views on social responsibility and that this expansion is only the beginning. There’s no checklist per say to what’s next, just a drive for progress and mindset centered on the idea that when you have the ability to give back, you should.
For more information about upcoming community events, you can click here to learn more.