When Pat and Meghann Deighan had their third child earlier this month, they knew they’d have to make a tough call for one of their businesses.
“Something’s gotta give here,” Pat said.
The couple opened The Trailside Music Café and Inn in Mount Stewart in 2011. They live in Charlottetown, where they also operate Back Alley Music.
The Trailside started as their dream project, having taken over the business shortly after getting married. Over the years they’ve been hosting evening musical acts in the cozy, 1937-built house.
But about two years ago, they noticed they were starting to hit their professional ceiling. It was sometimes challenging to get musicians out to Mount Stewart, they were only operating seasonally, and their venue had limited seating, Deighan said.
“We were turning away lots of people. That’s never a good thing for a small business.”
They were already considering opening a Charlottetown music venue when they were approached with a proposition - the Art Hotel on Kent Street, which is currently under construction in the building that used to house Myron’s, offered them space they could use year-round.
So, while they originally planned to run two Trailside venues, they reconsidered when Angus was born on Dec. 1. Now, the Trailside in Mount Stewart will be closing, and their new spot that’s closer to home, Trailside Music Hall, expects to be open in Spring 2020.
“Having a baby did, maybe, put our focus on what was important.”
Migrating from the countryside to the city was also a business decision. Pat loves the scheduling side of his work but didn’t want to compete against himself by booking acts for two separate venues, especially when it’s easier to book musicians in Charlottetown, he said.
“I think both places would have suffered a little. As opposed to thriving.”
He’s always wanted for people to simply walk in off the street and see who's playing. There’s much less foot traffic in Mount Stewart, and he’s been doing his homework on the downtown Charlottetown scene for the past while, he said.
Trailside Music Hall will be able to seat about 150 to 170 people. The couple is working to create a new vibe in the space - possibly inspired by 50s jazz clubs – but it may still pay homage to their old space.
“To keep the same magic of the Trailside.”
There aren’t many limitations on what genre of music could be played there, and the move may help them get bigger musicians through their doors.
“(But) I like young, up-and-coming acts, too,” he said. “Helping them get on the stage.”
Moving out of Mount Stewart will be bittersweet, but the decision lifted a weight of his family’s shoulders, Pat said.
“The community’s been nothing but amazing,” he said. “They understand that we want to grow.”
They hope to sell the old building, ideally to an entrepreneur with their own dream for a business in that community, he said.