By Jasmine Shaw
Olivia Barnes is a traveler and will say Southern hospitality is real and so are the amenities the Magic City has to offer.
“Birmingham has the best food, we have the best hearts, and most importantly we care about the good of other people in our community,” she said.
All of those elements were on display during a recent launch party for Barnestending, a bartending catering service, that drew more than 100 attendees.
“It really gave us an opportunity to network and show everyone what Barnestending is all about,” said Marcus Barnes, who co-owns the business with wife Olivia. “We have done weddings, birthday parties, reunions, surprise parties, and retirement parties. We want to elevate and grow by possibly adding more bartenders that share our same goals and values.”
Working with his wife has been a beneficial experience, said Marcus.
“We have done a lot to build this company in just a few months but having faith in God made it possible,” he said.
Barnestening is a full bar catering service that prides itself on helping customers “shake things up” by creating tailor-made drinks and offering swift service.
The idea for the business came from Olivia bartending at her mother’s café.
“I dragged Marcus into working with us one night many years ago and he enjoyed it,” she said. “So we trained him and it was just a couple of years later that we decided to do our own thing.”
The couple dated for three and a half years before marrying in December of 2018 and launching Barnestending in January of 2019.
The two met on the University of Alabama campus in 2008. When Marcus set foot on campus he had no idea that in addition to his major in business administration he’d also learn a lesson about love.
Olivia Barnes, her major was management with a minor in Spanish. The pair caught glimpses of one another around campus but it wasn’t until Marcus messaged Olivia on Twitter that things really began to flourish.
“We had our first date at Steamers on the strip in Tuscaloosa,” said Marcus, “and we have been building with each other ever since.”
While Olivia learned business lessons at her mother’s café Marcus developed a managerial mindset while working in customer service throughout high school and college. He was able to learn from well-rounded leaders and gain wisdom.
“I worked at Jack’s Family Restaurant in Bessemer until 12th grade then I started working at Footlocker in the Galleria Mall,” he said. “Working these jobs taught me how to deal with the public, which can be hard at times, and to be patient with customers. Teamwork and communication were two things we always talked about at both jobs that Olivia and I use to be successful today.”
Marcus, 29, who grew up in the Dolomite community, attended A.G Gaston K-8 and Ramsay High School. Olivia, 25, who grew up in Birmingham, in the Brook Highland neighborhood, learned leadership skills by keeping busy with a myriad of activities as a teenager. She was a shooting guard for Oak Mountain High School’s basketball team, a member of the Birmingham alumnae chapter of Delta Gems, and the business manager for the Imperial Club Debutantes.
“I am extremely social,” she said. “In college, I was a member of an organization called SANKOFA, which brought awareness to the black community at UA and also put on an amazing play. During my senior year, I became president of the Carl. A. Elliott Honor Society. I excelled at increasing membership and also served as the treasurer.”
During the summer Olivia enjoyed taking trips to visit her grandmother, Mildred, in Montevallo. She spent the rest of her time in Birmingham, admitting that the city life brought many friends, making it the perfect place to call home.
Olivia said the couple enjoys being around great people and “learning from them to make ourselves better at what we do.”
Marcus thanks his parents, Jimmie and Annette, for being their biggest support system.
“They keep us motivated and always provide words of wisdom. Although we may not agree with what they tell us all the time, it’s always for our best interest,” he said.
The team also stays active visiting places like California and New York. Interacting with entrepreneurs in other cities allows them to bring fresh ideas to their brand.
“Networking is going to be our biggest plan to grow efficiently,” said Marcus. “We plan on staying in touch with our ever-changing society to make sure we are following the culture. Our goal is to stay competitive and hungry.”
Contact: Instagram: @barnestending, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 205-937-6006.
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.