Q&A: Mike Folker and Sheryl Graham of BossyGrrl's Pin Up Joint

Abernathy Miller, Columbus Alive

Bossy Grrl's Pin Up Joint has garnered a cult following by offering a weekly lineup of entertainment and a campy atmosphere rivaled only by John Waters movies. Original owners Sandy Rollins and Amber Myers have expanded to Wall Street Night Club, leaving their beloved Bossy Grrl's concept to Secret Song Records owner Mike Folker and business partner Sheryl Graham. Though Folker and Graham are keeping the kitsch, they plan on making additions to the entertainment schedule and adding to the energy of the Old North neighborhood.

Owning a bar was the next logical step for me. As a promoter, there isn't enough work to make a real living without owning a bar. Sandy [Rollins] and Amber [Myers] had talked about selling the bar, and I was all in. Sheryl and I have a very good working relationship so I approached her with the opportunity. Burlesque has been the centerpiece of Secret Song's booking for years, so it felt like a natural fit. Though this is my first bar-owning experience, I've done enough booking to have an idea of what I was getting myself into. In the business world cream rises to the top, but turds rise to about the middle. You gotta bust through the turd ceiling for somebody else, or start your own business. I decided I'd be my own boss since I'm sick of getting fired. -MF

Bossy Grrl's Pin Up Joint has become an institution. The bar was set pretty high for this place, and you don't want to let a customer down. Sandy and Amber left some big shoes to fill; it's a challenge to take over something as beloved as Bossy Grrls. But luckily, the crowd has given us a shot. MF

Our team has rallied behind us. I've owned businesses before but never a bar. It's like consulting for yourself at high speed. But our team has supported us. Mike and I wouldn't ask anything of our staff that we wouldn't do ourselves. When you ask something of any one of our team they want to do better, not just for us but to please the guests. It's really a good feeling. -SG

We bought Bossy Grrl's to preserve it. Basically the name would only have come to us. That offer wasn't on the table for anyone else as far as I understand. "Bossy Grrl" is Sandy's stage name, so it's clear this was her baby. It's not that we aren't going to make upgrades. We are adjusting the drink menu, and changing some design behind the bar. We are going to focus on bringing in more local musical acts on a regular basis. I think this place is the perfect mix of classy and trashy. [Rollins and Myers] developed a concept that drew in a special crowd, and we feel pretty lucky that most of the crowd has stayed with the switch. People who didn't know who bought the bar said "Oh! It stayed in the family!" that made my heart skip a beat. -MF

We are excited to be part of the new energy in the Old North. It's exciting to be in this neighborhood right now. Two years ago nobody was coming down here, but now there is a new energy. Having Spacebar next door is a huge asset; they are a great venue, and people are rediscovering what a fantastic place Cafe Bella is. You can come down here and have a great meal, and see a show. We are starting to get the bar-hopping crowd on this block in a way there wasn't before. We couldn't have fallen ass-backwards into a better situation. -MF

Photo by Meghan Ralston

Sheryl Graham

Age: 38

Hometown: Marlton, NJ/Philadelphia

Current neighborhood: Old Worthington

Day job: Office Manager for a Securities and Equities Firm

Currently listening to: Banks, Old George Carlin

Playing favorites:

Favorite movie: "What Dreams May Come" with Robin Williams

Favorite TV show: "House of Cards" with Kevin Spacey

Favorite restaurant: "Marcella's Polaris, always sit at the bar with Sean and Audrey."

Favorite beverage: The Fitzgerald

Best way to spend $10: "A nice long drive and ice cream at a little mom and pop country store with the kids.

Mike Folker


Hometown: Mancelona, MI

Current neighborhood: SoHud

Day job: Owner Bossy Grrls/Secret Song Records

Currently listening to: Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque

Playing favorites

Favorite movie: "A Clockwork Orange"

Favorite TV show: "Mclaughlin Group"

Favorite restaurant: The Top

Favorite beverage: Barley's Scottish Ale

Best way to spend $10: Go see two local band shows, and if there is no cover buy merch... that's an entertainment value.