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Q+A: JESS HORAN:

App developer makes all day happy hour in Las Vegas

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Miranda Alam / Special to the Weekly

Jess Horan, founder of the Original Cocktail Club, enjoys a cocktail Feb. 22, 2019, at EDO Gastro Tapas & Wine in Las Vegas.

Mon, Mar 25, 2019 (2 a.m.)

Jess Horan is a Boston University alumna with seven years of corporate experience in sales, account management, media planning and ad operations — and a self-confessed “martini gal,” extra dirty, vodka, no vermouth and a blue cheese olive. Those interests and influences guided her to leave her job and launch Original Cocktail Club in Las Vegas. The app-based startup works with area restaurants to provide consumers with half-off drinks at any time of day.

What is the Original Cocktail Club and how was the concept conceived?

As a frequent Vegas diner myself, I noticed an opportunity to help restaurants fill empty tables at off-peak times, while helping diners save money.

I wanted an app that was easy to use, so I made sure that every generation can figure it out. The app shows all of our restaurants and when they are available. When you arrive at the restaurant, you show your server your check-in on the app and receive half-off drinks with the purchase of an entrée all night. The best part about OCC is that it’s happy hour all the time.

Who are your partners and how many members are in the club?

Our restaurants include 7th & Carson, Americana, Andiron, Bandito, Bella Notte, Brio Town Square, Buddy V’s, EDO Gastro Tapas & Wine, Elia, Ferraro’s, Firefly, Flour & Barley, Honey Salt, I.C. China Bistro, La Bella, Maggiano’s Downtown Summerlin, Mamma Olivia’s, My Mother’s House, Ohlala French Bistro, Pasta Shop, Pier 215, Piero’s, Rodizio Grill, Tacos & Beer, Taj Palace, the Barrymore and Tommy Bahama. We have about 50 members just from the past two weeks and are excited to have that number continue to grow.

How much is a monthly and/or yearly membership?

Memberships start as low as $16.95 per month for an annual account, and go up to $24.95 per month for a monthly subscription. You can use it as often as you would like. For people who go out once or twice a month, it pays for itself. Additionally, you can get bottles of wine for half-off if everyone at the table is a member. Some of our beta testers saved over $100 on one bill alone.

Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit?

Starting my own business is always something that I’ve dreamed of doing. I’ve been watching my stepdad run many successful businesses and always wanted to follow suit. I’m also obsessed with “Shark Tank.” I love watching new and innovative products and services and learning from the Sharks.

What is your business philosophy?

One of the most important things in business is to be able to pivot and change your focus when things aren’t working. My philosophy is to be open-minded, try everything and see what sticks. Even if you think something is a sure bet and it’s not, don’t give up hope. Be creative and open to new ideas.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

My stepdad always tells me not to overthink things, but to take action. One of my favorite Sharks, Robert Herjavec, has said “thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis.” They are both right. I am an overthinker by nature, but have learned to make things happen, take action and learn from whatever happens.

If you could change one thing about Southern Nevada, what would it be?

I would change the perception of the city. Everyone sees Las Vegas as a party city where tourists come to make bad decisions, but there is a lot more than that. There is a fantastic community here with great people, lots of amazing local events and businesses, and of course, a killer hockey team.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I lived in London for a semester of college and would love to go back and live there again. The city is amazing. I also love traveling in general, and London’s proximity to other countries makes it even better.

Whom do you admire?

I really look up to women entrepreneurs, specifically Barbara Corcoran. She’s self-made and incredibly hard-working. When her boyfriend at the time told her she would never succeed without him, it only made her stronger and queen of an empire.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is when people can’t admit when they are wrong and apologize. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, puts too much on their plate, overcommits, etc. It’s OK. Your reaction and how you handle it shows a lot about who you are and your character.

What is something that people might not know about you?

One of my biggest passions in life is fitness. I’m an avid fitness freak and work out almost every day. I also love playing poker.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I’d love to offer all of your readers a complimentary trial membership to try us out! Readers can sign up on originalcocktailclub.com and enter code “LVWeekly” to redeem their free month.

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.

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