Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelly Dachroeden.
Hi Shelly, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
When I sat down to write this, I struggled. I don’t have an amazing story. I didn’t overcome any hardships. I didn’t beat any odds. And I wasn’t facing the obstacles that so many still face today.
Today, my husband and I own two successful pinball bars. The first – The Silver Ballroom – has now been around for over 11 years. I am also on a successful career path at a leading rental car company. Today I am the Director of Reporting and Analytics, and I have aspirations of becoming an AVP in the not too distant future.
People ask me all the time how I do it. How do I have time to run two bars and have a career? Honestly, I don’t feel that I’m doing anything that any woman with a career and a family isn’t doing. And realistically, that’s exactly what it is. My bars are my babies, figuratively and literally. It was scary when my husband and I conceived the first one. We had no idea what we were doing. We’d never owned a bar before. We put all of our love into creating something special, something unique. We worried about whether or not other people would like it, whether they would be nice to it, whether they would love it like we did. We were scared and nervous and excited.
My husband, Steve, and I started dreaming about having this child way back in 2004. Steve got me hooked on pinball when we met, something he had always loved. We started going to bars, looking for places with pinball machines. They were hard to find. When you did find one, they were rarely well kept. Things would be broken and it would be frustrating to try and play an actual game on them.
We started frequenting one place that had two machines – so usually, one was *mostly* playable. We would put $20 in the internet jukebox to play music we wanted to hear, we’d have a beer, and we’d play pinball. One day we turned to eachother and asked – how come the place we really want to go doesn’t exist? And what if it did? What if we created the thing we had been seeking for so long? Other people had to have similar interests, right?
That’s when the idea was born – a pinball bar. There wasn’t anything like it. We started working on business plans, looking into the SBA, making lists of ideas, dreaming. We had a working name of Flipperz (yes with a z) and then one night, while trying to fall asleep, I had an epiphany – The Silver Ballroom. I registered the name the next day.
It took a long time for things to fall into place. There were times we thought it would never happen. There were lots of tears and lots of disappointments. Finally, the company my husband worked for closed down. We took his 401K money – which, after working somewhere for a long time, was not near what it should have been (or enough to start a business) and decided to take the leap.
The first pinball-only bar in America – The Silver Ballroom – was born on March 25, 2010. I decided to keep my career and not become a stay-at-home Mom, so we had to start looking for babysitters. We had to find bartenders that would take care of our baby, that would make the right decisions for it when we weren’t around, that wouldn’t let people hurt it. I will say that we lucked out and found some of the greatest babysitters ever and so much of this wouldn’t have been possible without them. Sometimes the baby kept me up late. Sometimes the baby made me mad. Most of the time, though, the baby made me proud.
I continued to work my way up at my day job. Trying to focus on work while I was there. Hoping for no calls that I had a sick baby to tend to (like a busted water heater or freezer). I worked hard during the days. I worked late. I was also tired a lot. After work, I took care of the baby’s needs… Payroll, paperwork, taxes, scheduling. Some days I was away from my house for 18 hours at a time. As the baby got older, it became more self-sufficient and needed less and less from me. I was always still there, but I had become a parent with a routine and trusted the baby to play on its own more and more.
In 2018, we were approached by some friends of ours that owned a bar that we loved – The Waiting Room. This was the bar we stopped at to have drinks on our way home from The Ballroom – we didn’t want to drink too much around the baby, ya know. There was an offer that we couldn’t refuse, and after a lot of talking about whether we would be able to handle all of this or not, we decided to adopt this new baby. Same problems with a new baby, right? The worry, the babysitters, the pride, now with an added element – the older sibling. The older sibling was jealous of the new baby – the new baby got all the good stuff, we spent more time with the new baby, the new baby was our favorite and we didn’t pay any attention to the older sibling anymore… You know the drill. It was difficult to navigate. And I can’t say that we’ve done everything right as we’ve gotten through it – but what parent can?
I still love my career. I love leading an amazing team of people. I love developing those people and helping them be successful at the things they are passionate about. And I still love spending time with my children at night (they’ve learned to get along much better now). I still feel inadequate all the time, like there are balls I’m letting drop, things I could (should) be doing better, things I’m not focusing enough on – at work, with the children, and with my home life. But I think maybe that’s how every woman with a career and a family feels. No heartwarming or miraculous story here. I’m just a woman with a career and a family.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about The Silver Ballroom and The Waiting Room?
The Silver Ballroom specializes in pinball and punk rock. We have the best jukebox around! The Waiting Room specializes in pinball and craft beer. Best craft beer selection in the county! Both bars serve homemade Australian Meat Pies that we bake fresh daily in house and house-made beef jerky.
In 2020 The Silver Ballroom and The Waiting Room tied for Best Bar in St. Louis in the RFT’s Best Of Edition.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
The Silver Ballroom was the first pinball-only bar in America. We had pinball leagues as early as 2011 with as many as 60 players some seasons.
- All pinball machines are only $0.50.
- Email: Thesilverballroom@gmail.com. email@example.com
- Website: www.thesilverballroom.com and www.waitingroombar.com