For Bob Lenhart, the roots of rock ’n’ roll weave their way through Xavier’s executive M.B.A. program, specifically Sherrie Human’s entrepreneurial class.
The Cincinnati businessman and 1999 graduate took the business plan he and a group of fellow students created for their class and turned it into a reality this summer.
“We came up with the idea of a nightclub that would be an incubator for up-and-coming bands,” he says. “It was just an idea, a faux business.”
The faux business is now The Cavern, named in honor of the famed Liverpool nightspot that helped give birth to The Beatles. Located in Cincinnati’s trendy Main Street entertainment district, Lenhart brought in an experienced manager and gave the club’s two-floor interior a radical facelift that he hopes will hit home with an upscale, young adult demographic.
“It’s a nice-looking place,” he says. “It’s not a grungy, your-feet-stick-to-the-floor place at all.”
Of course, The Cavern could easily have gone the way of many class projects once Lenhart graduated. But it’s not like Lenhart to forget a good idea. A longtime entrepreneur, he founded Cincinnati Temporary Labor at age 19 and then dropped out of college to run it. As his business interests expanded over the years, he accumulated numerous downtown properties—including the building that now houses The Cavern. Initial plans call for the nightclub to be open Thursday through Saturday, and available for private parties at other times.
“It’s primarily an investment for me,” he says, “but I’m having a ball with it.”