Diane Spitzig did not exactly know what she was getting into when she bought the Century Bar at 10 S. Jefferson St.
“I really thought I wanted to own a restaurant, and a bar went along with it,” she said of the business that dates back to 1942 with a bar back built in 1862.
A year after taking ownership 20 years ago, the Beavercreek High School grad and long-time restaurant industry manager closed the Century's kitchen to focus on the more profitable bar side of the operation: the bar.
Times have changed and so has the Century.
“I think that today a woman owned business isn't near as uncommon as you might think,” Spitzig told Dayton.com. “Twenty years ago, people were a bit more narrow-minded than they are now. Many were often surprised to find out that a single woman ran a business and they would inquire about what my husband did for a living.”
The business transformed to a bourbon house about 4 years ago.
Spitzig credited Joe Head, her new business partner and former bartender, for the idea that sparked the change that has seen the business turn into one of the Dayton area’s most popular and nationally acclaimed bars.
You have to trust your people that if they are passionate about something, they can make it work,” she said. “Joe as we all know is passionate about bourbon."
Growth is on the horizon for the bar.
Construction is due to begin this week for Kette's Kandies Spirited Treats, the Century’s Prohibition-era speakeasy-themed cocktail bar. Spitzig expects to eventually hire more workers.
Like the Century, the new business is in the Fire Block District being developed by The Ellway Group.
Spitzig attributes part of her success to her people.
Century Bar owner Diane Spitzig is our Daytonian of the Week. Diane is pictured with her business partner Joe Head (L) and right-hand man Tim Fry.
“My dad always told me to surround yourself with good people, and good things will happen to you. I attribute my success to choosing just the right people. I hired Joseph Head at 23 years old to bartend and now at 41 he's my business partner,” Spitzig told Dayton.com. “I hired Tim Fry 10 years ago, and he's our right- hand man, and does a great job running day-to-day operations. We have Jerrod Claytor and Nick Moerman for several years, and have been blessed with our new hires Ryan Lewis, Matt Johnson, Mark Pittman, Bill Bogan and Kelli Nikanowicz.”
Spitzig’s 20th anniversary as owner of the Century Bar will be celebrated at the bar 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, April 14th.
“My one wish is that I would love to see all the staff I've had worked with over the years come to the party,” she said.