"That's why we're having the grand re-opening, because we're doing a lot of things," says the 33-year-old Guercio. "We call it the new face of 307. We're going to 307 as a moniker, because we're trying to get people used to the idea of seeing and doing more than listening to live music here."
Grand re-opening plans include diversifying the club's entertainment offerings. 307 will be pushing its Tuesday comedy night and adding more headliners to the lineup, pairing up with Zeus CafÃ© to offer an international music night on Thursdays to complement its popular Latin night on Saturday, and holding an all-star musicians jam once a month to benefit Healthcare for Musicians. (The comedy aspect is unique, because Lafayette has no other stand-up comedy venue. Maximillian's in the Hilton recently discontinued its comedy nights.)
At the time of 307's opening, The Sound Factory and Root Hogs were the only businesses open at night in the 300 block of Jefferson Street. 307 now shares its nightlife with Guamas, Rain, New Orleans Daiquiris and Froggy's.
Buildings on either side of the club, at 305 and 309 Jefferson St., were also available for lease, so not long after leasing 307, the owners leased the other two buildings, with expansion plans in place before the business even opened.
Guercio and Delcambre, 31, met at UL Lafayette as industrial design students and started a design business together after graduation. When Delcambre noticed 307's building up for lease, he approached Guercio about opening a club together, and the two were drawn to the building. They were then introduced to Dr. Darrell Henderson, a partner in The Surgery Center and Plastic Surgery Associates; Henderson became a financial backer and co-owner and allowed Guercio and Delcambre to design the space and oversee construction. (The three partners declined to give figures on their expansion costs, but have already invested more than $200,000 in the property.)
"I love new projects," says Henderson. "There hadn't been a jazz and blues club in Lafayette." The club booked local and New Orleans jazz bands nightly in its early days, and Lafayette blues legend Carol Fran was a regular act during the club's first year, as was Harry Hypolite and Henry Gray.
New Orleans jazz band Astral Project has played the club both before and after its expansion. "It's a beautiful place," says drummer Johnny Vidacovich. "It's got a great sound, and there isn't a bad seat in the house. It's a collective atmosphere for musicians and people." Even though Astral Project has been playing Lafayette since the 1970s, Vidacovich says the club gave the band a new venue with some newer, younger faces in the crowd.
Henderson, a former musician, played a big part in the acoustics of the club. His son William plays keyboard and saxophone in Spontaneous Comphunksion and several other local bands, and Henderson wanted a place where his son could hear great music, learn to do sound and play occasionally.
In the beginning, Delcambre and Guercio booked music blindly, with mixed results. "We've come to the conclusion that we don't have to have live music every single day," says Guercio. "We had no idea it was so difficult. We thought that if you book great music, people will come. People can get live music in a lot of places in Lafayette, so we've gone to focusing on bigger shows, bigger acts, instead of more acts." Cajun and zydeco music were incorporated into the repertoire last year, and the club branched out to offer theater, cabaret performances, poetry readings and comedy.
The 309 expansion will give the club additional space for private parties and nonprofit events. "In the back of the building, there's just a slab, but we want to add a banquet hall facility on the outside with a raised roof and exposed beam ceiling that would also serve as an expansion to the lounge, so we could do bigger shows," says Guercio. He would also like more room in the bar so the club could offer a lunch menu. "We're going to be serving snacks and appetizers eventually," he says, "but we can't do lunch with three tables."
The adjacent 309 expansion is dependent upon the bar moratorium currently in effect for downtown. Formerly Smokin' Joe's and Goodfellas, 309 was opened as a restaurant, so a bar can't open in its space. Guercio says they are waiting for the review of the ordinance in June and hopes to be granted permission to open 309 as a bar. "We feel like our place is good for downtown, something that Lafayette can be proud of, and we're hoping to be able to utilize that space," he says.
"307's always been very supportive of downtown, and we're excited about the expansion and support,' says David D'Aquin, newly hired marketing director for Downtown Development Authority. "They helped revitalize their block, and their faÃ§ade improvements really helped improve the look of that block."
Guercio, Delcambre and Henderson signed a 20-year lease on all three of the buildings, so the entrepreneurs plan on being around for a long time.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.