November Behind the Business Feature
Jody Loos, Owner and Operator, Howl at the Moon
Q & A with Jody
Meet the owner and operator of Howl at the Moon, Jody Loos. Jody is an enterprising individual from southern Ontario who has called Thunder Bay home since 2009. With a career steeped in bartending and a history of working in some of Ontario’s busiest bars and nightclubs, Jody's personal journey has a unique twist: he’s a recovered alcoholic. His story, combined with the innovative concept of Howl at the Moon, speaks volumes about the transformative power of determination and the potential for change. Howl at the Moon, a groundbreaking project, was announced to the public on January 14, 2023, and on March 31, it opened its doors to the community. It stands as the city's first and only no-alcohol bar and late-night coffee shop. As an establishment dedicated to fostering a safe and sober atmosphere, it’s a hub for live entertainment, art, culture, and healing resources. Howl at the Moon warmly welcomes the public seven nights a week from 4 pm to midnight, offering a diverse array of activities from sober karaoke, live bands, comedy shows, art, and games nights to culturally enriching events like big drum socials and Ojibwe language socials with Elders and Language Speakers. In collaboration with project sponsors, they also provide vital resources such as Wellbriety meetings, healing circles, and day treatment programs. To learn more about Howl at the Moon check them out on Instagram or Facebook. What drew you to entrepreneurship? Frankly, I got tired of working for someone else. I’ve always been a workaholic. I’m particularly passionate about the Howl at the Moon project because I’ve been personally affected by addiction—my own, and the addictions of people I love and care about. I wanted to use my sobriety, my expertise in the hospitality industry, and my passion for this project to challenge myself and make positive change in our community. What inspired you to launch your business? This is a passion project for me. I’m a recovered alcoholic myself and I’ve lost too many people who I care about to addiction. Before Howl at the Moon opened, there was nowhere for people in recovery from their addictions to socialize, mingle, go out for a sober night on the town, take in a show, sing karaoke, or network and meet other people in recovery, or access resources at a community hub. The Howl at the Moon project changed all of that. This project filled a void in the marketplace being able to bring a brand new concept to Thunder Bay. Knowing what you know now, is there anything that you would’ve done differently? Not really. I feel pretty good about the choices we've made and where the project is at. What advice would you give someone who wants to become an entrepreneur? Be prepared to work—a lot. Many people think that being your own boss is all fun and games, but the truth is building a business from the ground up takes a lot of hard work, commitment, time, and passion. And it’s risky. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. I often work over 80 hours a week. The flipside to that is that being an entrepreneur, especially an entrepreneur who’s building his business from the ground up, can also be very rewarding in many ways. Watching a business grow, and knowing that your hard work, commitment, and dedication is a major factor in the growth of that business is very satisfying. What are you working on now? My primary goal right now is to continue to grow my small business. We’re also getting ready to release Thunder Bay’s first weekly addictions and recovery podcast called Addicted: Stories of Addiction and Recovery. The first episode is set to launch in mid-tolate November. Is there anyone specific you'd like to thank? There are so many people who have stepped up in so many different ways to help ensure this project succeeds—far too many to mention—but the truth is I couldn’t have done this without them. The Howl at The Moon project truly has been a community effort. which makes it even more special. To all those who’ve stepped up to help, thank you.