Keeping it in the family
A business of one kind or another has been running on the corner of Main and Spring streets in Somerset since the old Somerset Hotel and Saloon was in business back in 1909. Since 1976, the Rendezvous — which has been around since the end of Prohibition — has been owned by Faye and George Ring.
"Owning the Rendezvous was a really social thing for us. Your customers become your family," Faye said. "We are really proud of the place. We have done so many things to make it what it is and it has been a good business. It was also really good to have all of our children involved in the business. They all worked here at one point. It was fun."
Following George's death last year, Faye felt it was time to pass the business on to her son, Pat. The sale of the business took place on July 1 this year.
"My husband died a year ago and, since I'm 82, I thought it was time to retire," Faye said. "Pat met his wife, Sue, when she was working her way through college and was working here. He had talked about it for quite awhile and when George died it felt like the right time to make a move. Pat worked at Andersen's for 30 years."
All seven Ring children worked at the Rendezvous at one point or another in their lives. Pat has been working in the bar since he was 9.
"Before we threw away bottles, we had a bottle chute, so Pat's job was to empty the bottle chute. So he literally started from the bottom up, the basement up," Faye said. "It was an easy transition for me since I was able to stay here and help guide them through the early stages of it. Pat has quite a few ideas for how to make improvements, but most of it was turn key and he could just pick up where we left off."
Faye's family history of owning a business in Somerset goes back even farther, with her father owning Ben's in Somerset following the Prohibition. Ben's, Archie's and the Rendezvous were the first bars to open in Somerset following the Prohibition.
"George and I decided that we were going to strike out on our own and buy the Rendezvous, which was just kind of a hole in the wall at the time, and we added on to that," Faye said. "George and I used to always say that we wanted to make sure people had fun and a good time. I think it was a fun business, especially when the money was coming in. We had a good run. We didn't live here at the time, but we eventually sold our house and moved upstairs."
When the Rings purchased the Rendezvous, it was a peanut bar. Since then, the family has added on to the building three times, including the kitchen, the dance floor, the game room, the patio and the offices.
"The kitchen has been a big change for us. Everybody eats now, around 90 percent of people eat something. Practically every bar now has food because that is the way it is in today's world," Ring said. "We used to do Teen Nights, which was quite the hit. We had hundreds of kids in here for Teen Night. We had dance contests, too. There were times the dance floor was so crowded you could barely see the floor, let alone do much dancing."
Through the years, the Rendezvous has stayed as current and modern as possible.
"One of the things that has been nice, as far as changes go, is the new technology, like our POS system. Those kinds of things have made things like putting in orders to the kitchen so much easier," Ring said. "I've also been here when the 18-year-old law was in effect as well. The river, the paths, the tubing and the campers have changed as well over the years. At one time, I think there were seven places to rent inner tubes."
As Faye continues to cut back how much time she spends in the Rendezvous, she will spend more time watching her grandchildren take part in their different activities.
"I'm enjoying going to my grandchildren's sporting events. All of my grandkids are in the area and they all have something going on," Ring said. "That has been really fun to get to see them play."