Casandra Atchison, of Rothbury, is the manager of Jimmy’s Pub in downtown Montague. She has been the main decision-maker of this bar and restaurant for about three years, taking over for her father, James Atchison, who owns Jimmy’s Pub.
“Though the bar is still his, I am in charge of all major responsibilities, ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible. We discuss all major decisions together; it’s truly been the biggest learning experience of my life,” said Casandra.
She has been working in the restaurant industry her whole life, waiting tables at Big Boy at the age of 16.
Casandra was born and raised in Montague, but when her parents separated when she was 11, she felt the urge to move with her mother to Flint, moving there in her freshman year of high school. Living across the state for 10 years, she experienced a different kind of life.
“I witnessed things I would not have here in our small town. The experience helped me gain a new perspective, a respect for all cultures and demographics.” she said, “I gained a stronger appreciation for what we have here in our small town.”
During a low point in her life, Casandra’s father drove across state to bring her into his business.
“I have a job for you,” he told her.
James started Casandra out working nights learning how to be a bartender and eventually moved her to days working as his manager. For three years, she said, she worked under her father as a manager, learning everything he knows about running a business.
“Before moving across state, my dad had me working part time in the kitchen at age 13. He taught me how to ride a moped and had me get my moped license so [that] I could legally drive myself to work…” Casandra said,
“It was then that I started to learn costumer service, responsibility the value of a dollar and how to save up for what I really wanted.”
Working as the main decision-maker at Jimmy’s Pub has tested her patience, as any job can do, but it something that she is passionate about.
“Running Jimmy’s is everything to me. All the good and bad days combined; I wouldn’t trade them for anything. My role at Jimmy’s has taught me to be the woman I am today, all while having the biggest support system cheering me on.” She said.
Jimmy’s Pub takes part in local events each year, such as the Holiday Walk and Cruisin’.
“My favorite work memory would have to be the Summer of 2018 when we hosted the first ‘Street Party’ the day after Cruisin’.”
Since gaining responsibility of Jimmy’s Pub, Casandra has been encouraging a constant remodel.
“I sometimes worry that I overwhelm my dad with all the ideas and projects that I envision, but, he manages to see the vision too, and together we make it happen!” Casandra said.
The remodeling that Casandra started began with fresh coats of paint and chalk board signs that are decorated with the weekly specials in bright, fun colors. She also implemented new wall décor and new flooring since she took charge.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she also rallied friends and coworkers to create new outdoor seating to accommodate restrictions. Currently, Casandra is leading the team to extend their kitchen facilities.
“This past year we have completely changed our menu. We now make all of our meats in house. It has been a goal of ours to eliminate as much processed food as we can, and we take pride in what we serve to our community.”
When she’s not working at Jimmy’s Pub, Casandra is exploring her other passions in life. One of those passions is raising chickens, which she started in 2015.
“My mental health was going downhill with the temporary closing of Jimmy’s, the uncertainty of our future had my anxiety at an all time high, I found comfort in raising the chicks. They truly helped me get through the first quarantine. Now they are my favorite hobby, and I am not sure what I’d do without them!” Casandra said.
Casandra also enjoys visiting her favorite places in the White Lake area, including the nature springs and the beach, where you can find her walking her dog. She also enjoys visiting Weesies Brothers in the spring for “the best flowers and veggies around!”
Her favorite restaurant in the area to get lunch from has always been Pekadill’s. “My sisters worked there growing up as well as my mom. The quality of their food has stood strong even since childhood, they put love into their food!”
Casandra has a love for her community that is appreciated in a role that is directly linked to the public.
“I can truly say that what we have here in White Lake is unlike anywhere else. This is a community that stands together and supports one another in the hardest of times.”
Casandra wants to keep working for Jimmy’s Pub and serve the community, but she is also interested in starting her own catering business in the future. She already has a few weddings under her belt. “I hope to one day start an additional business doing just this!” said Casandra.