Danny Reedy gets a surprise
(Crystal A. Proxmire)
Danny Reedy expected a quiet morning last Wednesday as he sat at the bar at Danny’s Irish Pub, eating some take out breakfast from The Fly Trap and contemplating his stock for the Dream Cruise weekend.
But then in walked Frank Flores, a frequent guest, though but not typically a morning drinker.
“Surprise,” he said as he handed Reedy a framed certificate, a gift from the Ferndale Historical Society recognizing him for 25 years of service to the community.
The guys drank orange juice and talked about the old days. Flores, the Vice President of the Society grew up in Ferndale and helped his father run a shoe business on W. Nine Mile. “I remember coming here back when this place was Nicks,” he said. Like many of the businesses along Woodward and Nine Mile, Danny’s had changed ownership – and design – as the city grew and changed. Nick’s was both a Coney Island and a bar, with a row of booths and a walk-up window in the front. “You could get a chili dog handed to you through the window, or you could come in and have a beer with your food.”
Reedy bought the bar in 1985, and turned it into an authentic Irish pub – complete with dark green walls, a ceiling lined with green holiday lights and a fine selection of Irish beer and spirits.
The clientele has also changed. “The influx of the gay community has done so much to improve the neighborhoods and my business,” Reedy said. “The police had a hard time at first, back in the old days. But there’s been a lot of diversity training and people are really getting along. It’s been a total transformation.”
In 1985 the move to Ferndale wasn’t a clear-winning bet as many consider it to be now. “People told me it was suicide opening up in Ferndale, in a stretch with three other bars. But it’s the same marketing principle the auto dealerships use – you open a few in one place and eventually people know – you want to buy a car this is where you go. You want to go to the bar – you go to Ferndale.”
Reedy said the first three years were the hardest. “People would come in, get rowdy and want to fight. After a couple months of problems I came up with the policy that if you start trouble you’re banned permanently. I threw a lot of people out and we got a reputation that trouble-makers should stay away. That hurt us for about three years. But now it’s a great place and I’m happy with the atmosphere.”
In addition to being a business owner, Reedy was politically active in the 80s to diversity-related issues and the stopping of a proposed mall in W. Nine Mile. “The malls are what killed our cities,” Flores said. “When they opened out in Somerset and Macomb and Oakland, Ferndale became a ghost town. They killed the little guys in business. I’m glad we didn’t get one, because now they’re closing up and people are coming back to the downtowns. We made a good choice.”
Sticking it out with Danny’s also proved to be a good choice for Reedy. Not only has the business given him success, it has brought him luck in love as well.
Reedy met his wife Sally shortly after opening. She started out as a customer at the pub, and now she is a business partner. And as Danny Reedy celebrates his 25 years in business, he and Sally celebrate 24 years of marriage.
Reedy, who grew up in Ferndale and graduated from St. James, was grateful for the certificate and for all the caring he has felt from the Ferndale community.
Check out our other sections of news: