TOP 50 STL Business Idea of the Week: ManPlex

The ManPlex is the full version of a concept I launched earlier this year called DIY garage. Basically, it’s all the fun places and businesses I’ve wanted to build for quite some time all smashed together in one incredible complex. It all starts with the basement, which is an underground parking garage. The primary purpose of the garage is for car storage, for people who may have more cars than they have space or possibly a project car that they just haven’t had time to get to; this is the place to store that vehicle. The other benefit of having your vehicle at the ManPlex is the DIY garage. The back half of the commercial complex will be set up with leasable auto bays fully stocked with tools in order for people to work on their own vehicles. The auto body will have the ability to service vehicles on behalf of customers, but that won’t necessarily be the specialty. The specialty will be teaching people how to do the basics like changing fluids, lights and fix simple things on their own cars. It’s just an alternative option to relying on a mechanic that you either do or do not trust. The other bays at the auto body will be designated for a leasable paint booth, a restoration business and used car sales that will focus on masculine and rugged vehicles like old Jeeps, Land Rovers and muscle cars.

But, the auto body is just one small piece of the overall vision. The core of the ManPlex is anchored by a restaurant concept I’ve been dreaming up for awhile. It starts at the center with a square-shaped bar similar to the bar featured in the sitcom, Cheers. The design elements are very masculine with a lot of wood and leather. The best way to think of it is an upper-scale pub. The current operating name is British + Southern because it encapsulates designs from Britain as well as the Southern states in the US. The menu will include a lot of hearty meals like fried chicken, deep-dish pizza and a whole lot of soul food. On top of this, I want to bring in a butcher service that allows people to drop off deer and birds to either have them prepared and taken away or prepared as a meal inside the restaurant. There will also be a lot of wild game on the menu.

Surrounding the restaurant on the main floor inside the complex are attached businesses that are all connected with sliding glass doors and windows so that when everything is open, they work as an open-concept. On one side will be a nice barbershop. On the other side there is an apparel and sporting goods store that features stylish name brands as well as higher-end hunting and fishing equipment. These businesses are attached to the back half of the complex where the D.I.Y. auto body is located. The idea is that all the businesses can feed off of one another in a complementary fashion. There will be other complementary businesses like a shoe shiner, a tailor, a dry cleaner drop-off as well as a mobile auto detailer. Try to imagine being seated at a barber chair getting a haircut, while someone is shining your shoes and you order a beer from the bartender all while a friend is working on your car.

The upstairs will house the business offices of all the businesses that operate on the main floor. There will also be several other businesses housed within the complex mainly for the amenities and camaraderie that come from being in such a special place. The entire complex is tied together with leases and business arrangements, but mostly it’s a positive vibe that brings people together and that is really the most important part.

I want a place where I can sit with both my father and my son and talk about masculine things in a gentlemanly way. I envision a place that will host “how-to” courses on changing your oil or cleaning a fish, maybe even hunter safety and the best ways to cast a fishing line. I want to reach out to auto clubs and providers of hunting and fishing expeditions to have a great place to organize members. I’d also like to host events like car shows, networking groups and masterminds.

This project is a big one, but it is currently in process. I am working with local architects to get the project into blue prints. I am talking to real estate agents to find the ideal location. I am in talks with a barbershop, apparel store and car dealer to occupy the property if we can get it built, but I need a lot of collaboration and eventually investors.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in this project, please contact me at top50stl@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading – Brian Lunt

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