On this week's podcast, Marcus sits down with Ginna Inge. Years ago, Ginna took part in restoring The Steeple from a worn down church in the heart of downtown to a popular venue for Mobile's best events. Listen now to hear her story.
Produced by Blue Fish in Mobile, Alabama
Ginna Inge: My name is Ginna Inge, and I'm the owner of the Steeple on St. Francis in Mobile.
Marcus Neto: Awesome. Well, Ginna it's really good to have you on the podcast. Thank you for coming out today.
Ginna Inge: Thank you, Marcus.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. So I have been to a number of events at the Steeple, and I'm always impressed when I walk in. So I know the Chamber Innovation Portal and the various groups just had the Startup Weekend there, and I'm a member of order reviews and we had an event there ...
Ginna Inge: Yeah, that was a great event.
Marcus Neto: ... Was it last fall? I guess it and ...
Ginna Inge: Yeah, the gala.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, it's just a lot of fun. You've got quite the property there. So I'm excited to hear some backstory on all of that. But the way that we normally get started is, we want to hear a little bit about the individual. So why don't you just tell us the story of Ginna, and where are you from. Where'd you go to high school? Where did you go to college? Obviously, I will get into you are married, so but why don't you kind of give us some of that backstory.
Ginna Inge: That's a great story because I am not from Mobile, although I carry a Mobile name. I'm not originally from here. I grew up ... was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey.
Marcus Neto: Oh wow. My neck of the woods.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, is that where you're from?
Marcus Neto: Yeah, originally from DC.
Ginna Inge: Oh, fantastic. I'm even more up there so my experience with Mobile was ... actually, both of my parents are from Mobile. My father worked in New York City, and so we were born and raised up there. But we would come to Mobile for Christmas, and for holidays to see my grandparents. And so when I met my husband, on our first date I said, "Well, you're really cute and everything. But I can tell you one thing. I would never live in Mobile, Alabama." And what I've learned in life is never say never, because it'll come back to bite you. And sure enough, we hit it off, got married, and here we are in Mobile, and I will say that my opinion with Mobile all over, although it took many years to really come to this, changed. And I love this city. I just love it. There's not ... I could not tell you anything bad other than it's been slow to grow. But to see the growth and be part of it is so exciting.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, I mean, we were talking beforehand about the statement that Mobile has always been dubbed the city of perpetual potential, right? And I can't believe I just remembered those that phrase because I always struggle to remember that term. But I mean, the thing that we were kind of getting into and I kind of stopped us because I wanted to get it on the podcast was that, the Inge family has been very instrumental in kind of making some of the changes that are going on, and that there are families that have been here for generations that care very much about the city, that are pouring their lives back into. It's almost like an incredible passion or almost with a fervor that you wouldn't expect. And so, I'm curious. Marrying into a family like that, where does that come from? Have you kind of identity any ...
Ginna Inge: I will tell you, and I'm married to Cliff. So there's a number you'll see Richard in, and you'll see people's names all over the city that are doing things. But when Cliff and I were dating, one of his favorite dates was to take me in his old stouter up into the Delta. We would take our dogs and go up in the delta, and I thought, "Wow. I'd never been in the Delta." It was so beautiful. I've never seen alligators like that. And he would say to me, "What do you think we'd get people to stop in Mobile? How do we get them?" We would see the Bay Way and the causeway. How do we get them to stop and enjoy our city? And he just said, "Oh ..." At that time, he was running one of the first chamber chases. And he's always had a passion for business and Mobile, for growing the city, for investing in downtown.
Ginna Inge: He's done a number of properties downtown where he has renovated them and turned them into office buildings and various things, and he's just is passionate about his city, which is to me, it made me passionate about it. This girl that grew up outside of New York that loves the heartbeat of a fast-moving city ...
Marcus Neto: Well, Mobile is definitely not a fast moving city especially compared to New York City or something. But it is kind of cool to see some of the changes that have taken place over the course of this, say, last five or six years even. I mean, there's a vibrancy that's coming in downtown. And I was having coffee with Clayton. He's the president of Eminem Bank. We were at Nova Espresso, and I know the owner of Nova Espresso, so I was introducing the two of them. And Tim was making the statement of ... because we'd had a number of conversations before he moved back. And in another mutual friend, Dave Harper who's been on the podcast before as well. And it was one of those things where he made a statement about, "There's something about Mobile. There's something that's going on right now," and he wanted to be part of that. He wanted to kind of embed himself into that flow or the changes that were happening. But it's really cool to see and it's through investment like what you all have done with the Steeple that that's able to happen. But why don't you go back and answer one question, did you go to college?
Ginna Inge: I did. I went to Hartwick College in Upstate New York.
Marcus Neto: Okay. And what did you study while you're ...
Ginna Inge: English literature.
Marcus Neto: That's what my degree was in ...
Ginna Inge: Is it, really?
Marcus Neto: Yeah. So tell us about the project. I mean, the Steeple, I used to walk by it all the time because our office was a little bit further down on Dolphin Street. And it's a wonderful facility now, but it wasn't that way when you guys got it. So what was that project like?
Ginna Inge: Wow. So you walked by before it became the Steeple?
Marcus Neto: Yeah.
Ginna Inge: It was a little overwhelming at first, as you can imagine. That street, if you remember 15 Place was there housed in half of the Steeple. And so, that street had become kind of a hub for ...
Marcus Neto: Almost homeless traffic.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, for homeless traffic, which I am also passionate about homelessness. I've done some fundraisers for the Waterfront Rescue Mission, and feel a real need to take care of our homeless. It's never been something that I said I just send them somewhere else. We have to take care of ... they're our neighbor as well. And we need to take care of them here as well.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, absolutely.
Ginna Inge: And so when I first came down there, I knew that that's where 15 Place was, and my husband said, "I want you to see this project." It had just gone up for sale, and there was an ad on TV about it being for sale. And I'd just completed a fundraiser for the rescue mission. And I said, "Well, can't do anything, I can't see anything until afterwards." And he said, "Well, come on down and take a look." So I pulled up my car at the location he told me to pull up, and he called me on the phone said, "What do you think about that building?" And I said ...
Marcus Neto: You're out of your mind.
Ginna Inge: I thought he was talking about the building across the street, which I thought, "Well, that might not be the best-looking building," but he said, "Wait. Which one are you looking at?" I said, "It's a brick building, it's kind of square." He said, "No. Look on the other side of the street." And I said, "Well, that's a church." And He said, "He said, I know." And I said, "No." But he buys a church. And he says, "Well, it's for sale." So anyway, we spent the afternoon, he had the key, and we went inside and took a look, and it was a lot of disrepair. The downstairs was a mess. But when we walked up into that room, which at that point was the sanctuary, we now call it the main hall, it is a hidden gem in Mobile.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, it really is.
Ginna Inge: But nobody knew about. I didn't know about coming down here, and I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that said, "Boy, I've never been in that building. I've lived here all my life, I've never seen it."
Marcus Neto: It's funny because I have a friend who used to be the production ... He was the ... Shoot the pastor that was overall production and overall creative at City Hope Church. Luke. And he and I were just kind of walking around downtown one day on our way to lunch, and the door was open. And I remember just walking out I don't think it wasn't you. I think it was somebody that was actually managing the facility at the time, where we were just like, "Can you just give us a tour? I know we just walked in off the street, but could you just give us a tour?" And I remember just being so blown away because the main hall is just so beautiful. It's got all the original hardwood floors, and you've got the balcony kind of overlooking the space, and of course the stage and all the sound equipment and everything like that, that you guys have put in. But after attending the order of Hughes event there, and seeing the different rooms with the different kind of style or the different kind of feel to each of those rooms down downstairs, I mean, you really can tell that you put a lot of care into making it into a facility that organizations can come into, and it's top notch. It's got a very classy feel to it.
Ginna Inge: Thank you.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, it wasn't just something ... you can tell that it wasn't just something that you kind of like, "Yeah, we'll just kind of clean it up, and it'll do," as so many projects are done, so.
Ginna Inge: And we wanted to maintain the integrity of what the building was built for. That was very important to me. But we also wanted it to be welcoming to all people, and not just be a faith-based building. So if you're downstairs, you could hardly tell if it was a church or ...
Marcus Neto: Well, there's a bar downstairs, so yeah. I don't know. Maybe some progressive churches are into that.
Ginna Inge: But interesting enough, one of the things that I did absolutely say is, the bar needs to be nondescript. And so when you walk in, it can be eliminated bar, or a coffee bar, or whatever kind of bar. It doesn't have to be ... If alcohol offends somebody, you can have it all put away and not have alcohol on the premises.
Marcus Neto: So what's the vision for ... I mean, I think I have an idea, but I mean, what is the vision for the Steeple? Is there ...
Ginna Inge: So it goes back to something that I read shortly after we bought it, and it's in the book of Jeremiah, and it says but seek the welfare of the city where I've sent you in exile, because in its welfare you will find your welfare. And so what our vision has always been the welfare for this city. And that means in so many different aspects, business welfare, and welfare, society welfare, weddings, receptions, it is a place for all people. It is a church on Sunday. And we wanted to maintain ... this is why this building was built, and it should be a church on Sunday.
Marcus Neto: That's cool.
Ginna Inge: And so we have always, from the beginning said that concerts for all people to come listen to music and all kinds of concerts. Theater, what gets the community to come down and support the community?
Marcus Neto: Yeah, I think one of our clients just had a theater Eastern Shore Repertory Theater, one of their plays there.
Ginna Inge: They did, it was fabulous. And so we did a Charette. When we had a Charette, when we opened the doors, and we just had a big piece of paper that we laid out, and we had people come in, if you had walked in that day, and we had the piece of paper out. We would ask you the question, what should this be? And so I have this piece of paper that has all these ideas of what it should be. And everything that it is, was on that piece of paper. It should be a wedding space, it should be a music space, it should be this, it should be that, and so what we really found out is, it needs to be about our community and what is our community love, and what do they cherish.
Marcus Neto: That's perfect. Yeah, I mean, churches are meant to be a place where you're building community, right?
Ginna Inge: Yeah.
Marcus Neto: And so it's still fulfilling that mission whether it's holding a concert or whether it's having church on Sunday or whether it's the order infused event that I keep mentioning. I mean, that is all about building communities. So yeah, that's awesome.
Ginna Inge: And then the nonprofit world uses it safely, and so we've had a lot of really amazing events that fuse event sticks in my mind because they came up with such a creative way to use this space by coming in that side door, and coming through the bride room, and I loved all that.
Marcus Neto: For those of you that are listening, we had ... I mean, it was red carpet outside, you went inside, and we all have name badges because it's a large group, and you can't possibly know everybody that's in there, so it's just helpful for morons like me that can't really remember people's names. And so, you get your name tag and go in, and you can drop your jacket off, and it's the room with the big gray couch or the big leather ...
Ginna Inge: And we call that the Vanderbilt right.
Marcus Neto: Okay yeah. And so I mean, it was just a very nice event. You go into the bar, have a drink, go upstairs, and there was a band out of New Orleans that we've had do one other event, and they're just phenomenal in the sound and the place was just incredible. But he sounds every bit like Louis Armstrong or any of the trumpet greats. So there's a lot of fun. So getting into a little bit more about you. So what was your first job? And were there any lessons that you still remember from that. And I don't mean the job that you had after college. I'm talking like, did you flip burgers or lifeguard or do anything along those lines?
Ginna Inge: Wow. That's a fine question. The first place that came to mind when you said flip burgers was there was this little sandwich shack on the Jersey Shore. And I remember my parents were like, "You got to have a job." I think I was 15 or 16. And so I just would grab a sandwich at this sandwich shack before we went and put baby oil and lemon juice ...
Marcus Neto: That, as we did, yes, back in the day.
Ginna Inge: Layout in the Jersey Shore. And so I just happened to stop by there, and say, "Hey, do you need anybody to help you out?" And they were like, "Yes, right now." And literally they hired me on the spot, and I was like, Well, wait a minute. I'm going to beach." And they're like ...
Marcus Neto: No, you're not. You can have the job.
Ginna Inge: ... "Yeah, well, perfect. You want a job, here it is." And it was this tiny little shack, and it was just this ... And we just had to make sandwiches, and then they come up to the window and we would ...
Marcus Neto: Your plans were thwarted.
Ginna Inge: I know. I couldn't get a suntan that day.
Marcus Neto: That's great. You keep mentioning Jersey Shore. I have to ask, did you ever have the hair?
Ginna Inge: We call them one can or two cans?
Marcus Neto: That's great. One can or two cans. Oh my gosh.
Ginna Inge: And for those of you that don't know what that means, it's one can of hairspray or two cans. So I was not a hairspray girl, I was kind of ...
Marcus Neto: Okay. Gally. How did you miss that trend?
Ginna Inge: I guess I was just Southern at heart.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, there you go.
Ginna Inge: Northern bread but Southern at heart.
Marcus Neto: That is too funny. Well, do you remember? I mean, you talked a little bit about it, and having ... there is something very different about walking in and thinking, "Oh, we could renovate those." Versus walking in and saying, "Yeah, we could renovate this, and this could be something, right. This could be a meeting space, or a place that builds community." And do you remember maybe the first event that you had in there where you were like, "Okay, yeah. We did this. This was the right decision"?
Ginna Inge: So what comes to mind immediately is, we had a mystery concert. Do you remember that?
Marcus Neto: Yeah.
Ginna Inge: So ...
Marcus Neto: Oh, I do remember. I do remember that.
Ginna Inge: We partnered with KSJ, and they ...
Marcus Neto: Yeah, and wouldn't say who it was, but they ...
Ginna Inge: They didn't say who it was, and it was this mystery band. Well, the mystery band was somebody different than who we ultimately had. And so, the whole time we had kind of this country music. It was good, but I can't even recall who it was. But I wasn't familiar with his music. Well, they called us about three weeks before the band. They said, "We've got to switch gears on you." And I was like, "Oh man." We've already marketed this, and everything they said, "No, it's not a big deal. You're going to be really excited if a different band, if it's a different artist. That artist has to go do something else." I was like. "Okay, great." And I said, "Well, who's our artist?" And they said, "Well, you might have heard of them. They're called the Band Perry. And they were from Mobil, and they had lived here in Mobil for a while." And anyway, they say they build this whole mystery concert.
Ginna Inge: And no one knew who was playing. And even when people were standing in line to come in, they were talking about, "Do you think it's this? Do you think it's this? Who do you think it is?" And there's a ... Have you been up in the balcony?
Marcus Neto: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ginna Inge: So there's a space up in the balcony, it reminds me of the Great Gatsby. And in the book, Gatsby stands and looks over the party. And this, it's this window that looks down over the whole scene. And it's kind of been my spot where I've gone to look at what's going on, and say the very first song The Band Perry came out and they were playing that Grave Digger song. They come out from the back of the stage. They open the doors and it's all dark. The lights are not on yet. And the two brothers are on the dru- There's two sets of drums in there. And then she comes out, and the lights go up, and they start banging those drums. And it was the most electric moment I think I've ever felt, because you've gone through this whole restructuring of this space. And then all of a sudden, you've got 600 people, and they're all excited about who is this mystery band. And all of a sudden, you see all the phones go up, and everybody starts filming, and it's just ...
Marcus Neto: That I had to be a very cool moment.
Ginna Inge: It was probably the one that I will remember forever.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, no, it's really cool. I was very curious about all of that just from an advertising perspective because how do you get people to show up or pay for an event when they don't know who it is that is actually ... But they did it's such a phenomenal job of drumming up excitement for that. But I just remember, because I mean of course, on social media you see little snippets of pictures or video or whatever. And I just remember that night well, but I can't imagine what that felt like, because I mean, how long did the renovation take for the building?
Ginna Inge: About two years.
Marcus Neto: Okay. And I'm sure it wasn't ... I'm having done renovations before. A renovation of that size is not so easy. So yeah.
Ginna Inge: It's not really fun because you find the problems are not necessarily the things that you can see. So the stained glass was in pretty good shape and needed some work. But it was more things that you couldn't see.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, it's all the hidden stuff.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, so that's the frustrating part of the whole thing. But we had some wonderful things that happened to like we've pulled up, there was old asbestos tile all over. It looked like something you had in your high school, that green asbestos tile.
Marcus Neto: We had it here actually.
Ginna Inge: Did you?
Marcus Neto: Eight-inch tiles. Yeah, they were in here as well.
Ginna Inge: Being in any high school in America. They pulled up a few pieces we wanted to put hardwood downstairs and they pulled up a few pieces and there was hardwood.
Marcus Neto: Already underneath it?
Ginna Inge: Yes. And probably first generation cut Alabama pine. And so those were exciting things that happened that we just celebrated. There is lots of times that we were ...
Marcus Neto: Yeah, those small wins make them almost make up for all the hidden expenses that started appearing when you're like we didn't account for this. This wasn't something that we thought was going to happen.
Ginna Inge: Putting in a fire escape that was kind of hard to fathom blowing a hole in this old structure and is it all going to fall down when you do that.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. Scary stuff. Well, if you were talking to someone that wanted to get started in running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?
Ginna Inge: Just take it every day as it comes. The business world changes, it just fluctuates and I didn't realize that. My husband doesn't come home with the different problems of the day, thankfully. And so I didn't realize the fluctuations that you'd have to ... Kind of one day is great. And the next day is challenging.
Marcus Neto: I'm starting to get nervous as you're describing it.
Ginna Inge: But to know if your vision is such that it lines up with what's going on in your community, what's going in ... Really what you are called to do. Vision lines up for that, then you will be successful and your success may not be huge financial success but if your passion stays there and you can handle the bad days, the days where you have to go home and drink a gin and tonic or whatever. If you can just get through those days and focus. My vision is still to provide this and still to do the best job that I can do for my community. You will be successful.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, I mean, you're fulfilling the mission right of what it was that you felt like the building should be for. So I mean, you've succeeded just in doing that. So that's not something to be taken lightly. Is there anything that you all are currently working on that you can talk about or that you want to announce or anything along those lines.
Ginna Inge: We're always working on something.
Marcus Neto: Sure.
Ginna Inge: So rock the block is something that we've done over the years and we do that on the Art Walk Friday and we've done about twice a year. And so we're working on that. That's coming soon on the next first Art Walk and we've got all kinds of things going on with that and a lot for the kids this time. So that'll be fun. We've got some art classes and face painters and just to get the families downtown get them into the Steeple and get them into that corner. Have you seen our ... You've seen our statue down there?
Marcus Neto: Yes, very much so.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, heavenly medal, so that's kind of a fine fun new piece that we did.
Marcus Neto: The Lawson? The ...
Ginna Inge: Bill Lawson, yeah.
Marcus Neto: It's a treasure. I'm trying to get somebody. "Hey if you're out there and you know Bill Lawson, if you think you can get us together with him and have one of these podcasts recorded, put us in contact with him because I mean even he just keeps coming up in conversation. I mean, it's just he's a phenomenal asset to this community.
Ginna Inge: I'll see if I can get you in touch.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. There you go, yeah. I should have known that maybe you might know him, so. Now, if you were looking to the business world is there someone that motivates you that you look at and say, "Man that person was really kind of done some neat things," It can be from Mobile but I'm thinking more on a grander scale.
Ginna Inge: More globally that is somebody that motivates me. I'm always motivated by women in the business world. And although, just hearing their stories. I think it's harder ... It's not harder. It's challenging to step your foot into the business world as a female.
Marcus Neto: Absolutely.
Ginna Inge: And so I just love to hear their stories. A woman from Spanx comes out that ...
Marcus Neto: Her story is incredible.
Ginna Inge: It's incredible. These are the people that I would love if I ever did a speaker series. I would love to have some of these female business owners come down and just share because there are a lot of women that are starting businesses and Mobile that's exciting to me.
Marcus Neto: Actually, they are. I mean, we've had a number of them on the podcast to talk about their businesses and stuff like that. So it's interesting because at the times we've gotten some flack because if you look at the website sometimes the way that it's divided there will be a lot of guys and a lot of white guys. But I mean, the business population has a lot of middle-aged white guys you know. But there's also a lot of people of color that we've interviewed like probably 20% of our interviews have been people of color and probably 20% of them have also been females. And so we're trying to keep that representation there because I know it's something that's extremely important to get out there, diversity is very important.
Ginna Inge: And then I'd love to see couples work together. So I'd love to see the businesses where the husband and wife are working as a team and that's a challenge in and of itself. But it's fun to talk to them about how it's working for them and what challenges they have and how they overcome the challenges. I know my husband and I one thing that we do quite often is when we go out to dinner a lot of people will say, "Let's not talk about our children. Let's talk about other things," we have to say. "We're not talking about the children or these people."
Marcus Neto: We'll talk about work.
Ginna Inge: We can't have those conversations. Let's just talk about fun things.
Marcus Neto: It's easy to fall into those patterns.
Ginna Inge: Yeah.
Marcus Neto: Are there any books podcasts people or organizations that been helpful in moving you forward in the business world?
Ginna Inge: That was one question you asked earlier and ...
Marcus Neto: Because I mean, you said you were an English major like I can relate. I was an English major and so I'm talking so you have time to think about ...
Marcus Neto: I'm being nice with some. But I know that as an English major, I like to read and I like to consume content and stuff like that and I can very clearly look to certain books that were transformative like Sell Or Be Sold by Grant Cardone or Work Yourself Solid.
Marcus Neto: I can't remember the author's name but you know I mean there were books that were very much kind of like I read them and it changed my way of thinking and allowed me to kind of move forward in my business.
Ginna Inge: So one of the things that ... Although I was an English major, I also love history. And so when you first said that, I remembered a moment shortly after we had acquired the Steeple that I was interested in the history and my family although I say we're not from Mobile is actually entrenched in Mobile and my great great grandfather was the state attorney in early nineteen hundreds, US State Attorneys. He had a lot of history here, and some hidden history that we were unaware of. And in looking for some old plans of the Steeple I went to the library and ended up over in the library that has ... I can't think of the ... achieve. It's the achieve ...
Marcus Neto: It's behind the Mobile chamber, yes, of commerce.
Ginna Inge: Yes. The archives and I was looking for something that would help me to understand the history of this building and at the time this woman was not very helpful but this other woman came out of the back and she said, "Oh, I know exactly what you're looking for." And she started pulling off the shelf this information about the St. Francis Street Methodist Church, which was the name of the Steeple prior. And reading the history of this place I discovered that my great grandfather who had gone to Washington to fight, there was a lynching that happened in downtown Mobile that he was very upset. They had taken a man out of the prison and lynched him and he called it vigilantism and he said if we didn't stop that that it would ruin society.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, it's above the law.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, people just taking it in their own hands. He sent that off to Washington and they said, "Well, sorry we can't do anything about it. That's the city decision on that and so you're going back." Well, that was disastrous. That Sunday a pastor had preached in a church against this lynching. Same thing vigilantism. He had received death threats through the postal service and he happened to hear that my great grandfather was upset about it. He took those letters, handwritten letters to my great grandfather and said we got to do something about this.
Marcus Neto: Wow.
Ginna Inge: And so through all of that he got the postmaster general to come down, which allowed them to open this up into the federal courts where they could change the laws and it could become a federal offense to take anybody's life without the proper ...
Marcus Neto: Due process.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, due process at law.
Marcus Neto: She's the foundation of our society. Like, "Hey, let's have some due process and all those stuff," but yeah.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, and I was just sitting in the history museum and his portrait is in that portrait gallery...
Marcus Neto: Very, cool.
Ginna Inge: His name was Will Armbrecht. And so when I think of things that motivate me, I didn't know that and that pastor was the pastor at St. Francis Street Methodist Church and so when I walked into that building I had no clue that that was ... I didn't even know the whole story. And so maybe what has motivated me is just this interesting history, personal history that I actually have in this space that I was unaware of until we actually acquired it.
Marcus Neto: That is almost a divine situation. I mean, really do not know that that was the case and then have that come out after the fact and be able to be a part of bringing that back to life. I just can't imagine.
Ginna Inge: I mean, history is ... You realize how important it is to understand your personal history and just to understand history.
Marcus Neto: Absolutely. What's the saying? I mean, if you don't know your history then you're doomed to repeat it.
Ginna Inge: Yes. And then one of the things that I love about this Steeple is there's two beautiful stained glass windows on either side, if you look at them and there's Jesus on the one side with his arms stretched out and he's going to heaven and then on the other side it's Jesus and it's, come to me all the little children and I had a friend, an African-American friend that came in there and he said, "You notice something about these two windows?" And I said, "I've never spent any time looking at him." I mean I looked at them but never studied them with somebody else's eye." And he said that Jesus is black and that Jesus is white.
Marcus Neto: I've been in there I've looked at those stained glass windows, yeah, I don't know that I recognize that. That's wild.
Ginna Inge: So the Jesus that's going to heaven he's very very much Middle Eastern, dark-skinned. And then the Jesus with the children is very much alternate kind of. Yeah, but they were done at the same time by presumably the same person.
Marcus Neto: Wow, that is really cool. Now, I got to go back and take a look at that. That is really cool.
Ginna Inge: Come any time.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. What's the most important thing that you've learned about running a business?
Ginna Inge: Staying current. Is one thing that really strikes me. I mean, I'm 52. Having young people around me that understand the social media world. And what young people want but also appealing to my age group and older. How do you generate all of that interest? And if you think about the marketing world, I mean, really we have to market to everybody. So that means that you have to be on social media. You have to be in print even if you don't want to. Because guess what? I have so many of my age group and older that say, "How do I know what's going on at the Steeple? You never do anything in print." So I find that they're reading the newspaper. They're the ones that are still getting the newspaper.
Marcus Neto: I didn't know that that still exists.
Ginna Inge: It's incredible. And you just really have to get out. Anyway everybody receives information differently and so you have to cover all ...
Marcus Neto: All the different bases.
Ginna Inge: All the different bases. In your world, that's a lot of work but it's really necessary. If I want to get a 60 or 70-year-old into the Steeple, I've got a ...
Marcus Neto: It's totally different than the 18-year-old or 20-years-old that's coming for a country concert or something along those lines.
Ginna Inge: Yes. We do emails so that's really important that we have a newsletter that says what's going on. That's been challenging.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, well, as a business owner I have learned my lesson that I have to word this question correctly, it's very purposeful and how do you like to unwind? It's the hardest question anybody ever asks a business owner. What do you mean unwind?
Ginna Inge: Yeah, the one thing that really settles me down, two things really.
Marcus Neto: Well, you already mentioned a gin and tonic.
Ginna Inge: Yeah, a gin and tonic in the evening but really I faithfully have a quiet time in the morning. I just have to have 30 minutes at least just really talk to God, to spend time understanding what the day holds and just kind of to submitting my day. And then the second thing that's real important is a run. I need to get for a run or a bike ride or something. I have a lot of energy that needs to get out some way and that seems to work the best.
Marcus Neto: Absolutely, I've found ... I'm a meathead so I like to go to the gym and lift heavy things up and put them down again. But it's funny because I can tell when I don't do that for a couple of days. I haven't been for a couple of days and I'm like starting to kind of get itchy and scratches. I need to get to the gym and get some of that energy out because it doesn't come out enough physically in my daily dealings and it starts to kind of really kind of mess with my brain if don't get that energy out.
Ginna Inge: I think we were made to do ...
Marcus Neto: Yeah. We weren't made to sit at the desk for sure.
Ginna Inge: We weren't made to ride around in cars.
Marcus Neto: No, for sure.
Ginna Inge: We were walking great distances back in the day. I think it is important to just get out. And I like to be outside. I'm different that I need to be in nature.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, I feel the cool breeze or the warm breeze and enjoy the fresh air. Well, tell people where they can find out more information about the Steeple.
Ginna Inge: So our Web site is the Steeplemobile.com. And that is the best resource you can apply to our newsletter and you can definitely receive any information of what's coming up if we have a theater that's working in there or music or anything, that's the best resource. We are on Instagram, on Facebook the Steeple Mobile. And you'll see us in different print at times and land yap or those kinds of things.
Marcus Neto: Of course.
Ginna Inge: And you can find out what's going on that way as well.
Marcus Neto: Lagniappe does a great job of keeping everybody kind of plugged into what's going on.
Ginna Inge: I love Lagniappe.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. So, well, I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast to wrap up any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share.
Ginna Inge: No, just thank you, Marcus, for what you're doing and it's really been a pleasure to kind of sit here and share. I forgot a lot of this ... When you get stuck in the day to day you forget to go back and look at what you had done.
Marcus Neto: Absolutely.
Ginna Inge: So thank you for recharging me.
Marcus Neto: It's interesting because you don't remember and then when you go back you're like, "Wow," because you are stuck in the day to day. You don't realize just how far you've come and how many strides you've made moving the organization forward, whether it's an advertising agency or event venue or whatever the case may be, so. But no, I think what you all are doing is wonderful. And so I'm very appreciative as well because I think there's something that's happening downtown and I think people and families like yours that are investing, whether it's a building or investing their time and energy and care into Mobile, I think, that's the only way that the city becomes what it is that I think we all see that it can be. And so thank you for your investment. So yeah. Well, Jen, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and entrepreneur. It's been great talking to you.
Ginna Inge: Thank you.