While we waited for Glenn to finish making some pizza dough, we started getting some info from Tanya. Where did you live before Bucerias?
I was born in Michigan but grew up in California, although I have been here since I was 13. I have no wish to go back to California, this is my home. My mother is Mexican and so am I. We lived in PV and I went to college in Guadalajara, studying design. We have been here, in Bucerias, for about ten years now. My mother is an interior designer and we have worked together on several hotels, and then I did some jobs independently. She lives in Bucerias just a block away and I see her every day. My American father lives in Michigan and visits here occasionally.
When did you meet Glenn?
That was eight years ago, 2007, at what is now The Drunken Duck – it used to be the Bucerias Gardens. Glenn was here on vacation and we started to chat. He returned a month later to see me. He went back to Canada to liquidate various assets and returned here at the beginning of May. He came with a ring! I knew he was moving here, but I didn’t know he was going to propose! (Glenn said: I couldn’t wait!) Anyway we were engaged for a year – to give him time to back out ! We got married on the beach on 01 March 2008 in front of Restaurant Mezzogiorno.
Lovely big smiles there you two ! Glenn, where were you born and what did you do before coming here?
I was born in St John, Eastern New Brunswick and brought up in Brentford, Ontario. I joined the army as an officer and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada. I served for ten years.
Did you go overseas?
Yes, We went to Bosnia and Croatia.
What was your rank and were there any injuries?
I was Captain. Our regiment suffered some fatalities.
That’s very sad. Then what happened?
I returned to Calgary where I started a street sweeping company with branches in Winnipeg and Burnaby, Vancouver.
What brought you down to Bucerias?
My youngest daughter came here. In fact my children had already been here a couple of times. But my parents had been hearing from me that I’m moving to Mexico, I knew I was going to do something here. And my mother came with me – she gets it. She has visited many times, she loves it. My father has just been the once – so far!
Had you visited elsewhere before Bucerias?
Yes, I went to the Yucatan, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Islas Mujeres, I was just looking for THE place. That was 1996. Then I visited here in 2007 and rented a studio apartment for a month specifically to look at this area. I met Tanya here… and I sold my Canadian business and came back.
Was Yo Yo Mo’s an existing bar that you just took over?
No – it was an old building which we renovated, and started the business from scratch in 2007. My youngest daughter Lisa and her husband Tony came down to join me in December 2007 – in time to open and run things hands on. They now have two children and have gone back to Canada which they think will be better for the children, but they will come and visit. They don’t regret having come here – they were here for 6 years.
And then the Bucerias Gardens opposite became available. What year was that?
We purchased it in 2011, made some physical and operational changes, and opened as “Joe Crows” in September 2011.
And encountered a slight problem?
Yes! The Jose Cuervo tequila company didn’t like that we were using their name (Jose Cuervo is Joe Crow in Spanish) and told us we had to change it.
So you did, obviously. Why the name “The Drunken Duck?”
I don’t really know, we were playing around with names and Tanya came up with it – and we both liked it.
Did you have any previous experience in the bar trade?
None whatsoever! Both my daughters had worked in bars in Calgary which I frequented and all I knew was I wanted to have something similar here, so that was – a sports bar with pizza.
Yo Yo’s has a good reputation for being exactly that …
And Canadian yes. But: we had a woman from Texas come in and she said: “I hear this is a Canadian bar and Americans are not welcome”. With the exception of one person, everyone in the bar was American! And to add to that – in came Ken Wall and you can’t get more Texan than him ! They ended up having a good chat.
Tanya: I understand you are the owner of both the bars?
Yes, as a Mexican citizen it makes it easier to keep up to date with all the regulatory compliance issues. It’s pretty amusing to hear that Yo Yo Mo’s is a Canadian Sports Bar as I have dual citizenship, American and Mexican – but not Canadian! And it’s not just Canadians come in – the nationalities of our customers vary according to what is on TV, and we generally have a mixture of American, Canadian, Mexican – even some Europeans!
Glenn: You must spend a lot of time here at Yo Yo’s
Not as much as you might think. I have excellent staff – Manager JP is the face of the place, he’s been with us for six year, and Kitchen Manager Nacho has been here for more than six years. I have 17 full time and two part time staff between the two bars. I probably only spend about an hour and a half in the morning, and again in the afternoon. And then 2 – 3 hours in the evening – plus Sunday football of course!
How hard has it been to set up in business?
Not much different to setting up an independent business in Canada! I really feel it is very much the same – you have to deal with all levels of bureaucracy and I found it relatively easy, although of course having a Mexican wife helped!
Have you found anything else difficult?
I am a city boy and it has been a big challenge living in a small town – bigger than moving to and living in a foreign country!
Tanya: where do you live – and do you own or rent?
We own at Flamingos. We designed it and built it ourselves, we didn’t use an architect. We designed it inside and out, together. It came in on budget and on time and is exactly what we wanted. We have thought about maybe getting a summer getaway, perhaps in Guanajuato, it’s beautiful and ideal weather for the summer.
Do you have any pets?
We have two rescue cats, a rescue dog, and a Chihuahua. I rescue a lot of kittens, people bring me the really small ones, I bottle feed them and then find homes for them.
Glenn: You’ve told me Yo Yo’s is open from 11 am to midnight, and the Drunken Duck is open 5pm to two or three in the morning and that’s where people can get up and dance on the bar – is that true?
Oh yes! In fact, to make it easier for them, we built a small staircase for the access! It’s not just the younger customers – often the older ladies – and men – get up there – they never had the opportunity to do something like this before! We think it’s something on their Bucket List! And yes, we have both danced on the bar!
Any pole dancing?
Well we do have poles but we discourage people from swinging around on them – they hold the roof up!
Tanya, you make a Day of the Dead altar every year?
Yes, it is to respect some of the patrons who have died over the years.
Tell us about Hallowe’en and New Year’s Eve
For Hallowe’en we have a big costume contest, people drifting between the two bars – some of the photos are really funny! And the best costume wins a 32” colour tv ! For New Year’s Eve we used to have fireworks fights between the two bars! But we had to stop that before someone got hurt.
You are both big supporters of local charities – thank you!
We give vouchers for food or drink, like so many other businesses, to the local charities for their raffles. But we decided to focus on one particular charity, and that is the John Ozzello Memorial Food Bank. We do also support the DIF orphanage in Valle de Banderas. Our bottles of tequila and 50-50 raffles are always popular. Our biggest fundraiser is the Whale Watching – the next one will be on 4 February, and though a bigger boat has been rented, all the tickets are sold out. There’s a new event this season for those who don’t like getting on boats and that will be over at the Duck on 12 March, from 4 – 7 – we have a Beatles tribute band coming!
You obviously have a lot of equipment, stock etc – have you had many robberies?
Only the once about six years ago when someone smashed into the side, but the guy upstairs ran them off. Since then we have a large guard dog, Rocky. He’s actually a mastiff but looks like a boxer – only bigger. We have a security guard on the premises at The Drunken Duck.
How safe is this area?
Very. We’ve got lots of lights, lots of people, and the police patrol throughout the evening several times either by truck or on quads. But even so we recommend our customers to take a taxi home, especially if they’ve had a long evening. The taxis come to the front door, so they don’t have to walk any distance at all.
Since you first came – Do you see any difference in Bucerias – Better or cleaner?
I think it’s a bit better now. It’s not worse.
What are your personal interests or hobbies?
Glenn: I like to play ball hockey three times a week with friends, and I do Kung Foo workouts.
Tanya: I’m pretty busy being a full time Mother to our daughter Kimberly, then there’s the fundraising, and I do a big grocery shopping every Tuesday and deliver to the DIF orphanage. Glenn: How good is your Spanish?
I’d say “functional”. Looking back, anything you wished you had known about or anything you would have changed?
Glenn: I have no regrets. We haven’t done things perfectly but… I am always looking for opportunities to do more, but Tanya is always reminding me to slow down and enjoy! We have all we need.
It’s been a pleasure talking with you both – thank you for your time.