Biz 417: When you purchased the future site of Loose Goose, it was previously zoned for a three- to four-story, mixed-use building with retail below and apartments above. You successfully got the area rezoned for a one-story mixed-use entertainment destination concept. What do you think contributed to the success of getting the area rezoned?
Andrew Doolittle: We had an outpouring of support for the project from many organizations and neighbors. One of the first things we did after getting an initial design for the project was take it directly to the Fassnight and West Central Neighborhoods to show them the project and ask for feedback. We also took the project to the Ozarks Pickleball Club for feedback. After this process, we re-designed portions of the site to account for the feedback we received and ended up with a project that we’re all very proud of. Our project transparency also [played a role]. We decided to rezone the property as a planned development because this type of zoning forces us to build what we designed and what we were showing the neighborhoods and community. I think it was important that all parties knew and understood what we were showing them will be exactly what is built. Lastly, our Partners Josh Widner and Michelle Billionis. Springfield is so lucky to have Josh and Michelle, and they have made huge contributions to the food and beverage space in Springfield through their many successful concepts. Having their knowledge and experience behind the Loose Goose project gave the brand the life and energy it deserved.
Biz 417: Did the plans for the Grant Ave Parkway’s pedestrian and bicycle pathway play a role in your decision to develop in this location?
A.D.: Yes—Our company, Everett Homes, has been restoring historic homes in the Fassnight and West Central Neighborhoods for the last seven years. We’ve learned a lot about these great neighborhoods through that process, and when the Grant Avenue Parkway was announced we instantly thought, “How can we give these neighborhoods and the future parkway users something new, fun and unique to do?” Loose Goose ended up being our answer.
Biz 417: City Council recently voted you down from serving on the Planning & Zoning Commission. What were you hoping to accomplish by serving on the commission?
A.D.: I was hoping to provide a fresh outlook on development in Springfield based on my personal experiences with the planning and zoning processes. I’ve lived in Springfield for my entire life, and I love this city. I believe that we need to make impactful efforts to recruit and retain young professionals and entrepreneurs to move the city forward and to build on what we already have. Planning & Zoning decisions have a large impact on the future of the Springfield community, and I wanted to add my voice and experience to that conversation.
Biz 417: Is there meaning behind the name “Loose Goose”?
A.D.: We took inspiration from the geese at Fassnight. The mascot is Buzz the goose who can either be buzzed on coffee or buzzed on cocktails. Mostly we just wanted something fun and memorable, and the team came up with Loose Goose.