During its 27 years in the Dupuis family, Schumacher night club J.J.’s Ranch has built a loyal customer base through stellar customer service and a reputation for giving back to the community.
“We have a lot to offer here - a friendly staff who likes to have fun, tons of fundraising opportunities, and an outdoor space unlike any other in town,” said Leslie-Anne Dupuis, who has managed the bar for the past nine years.
This summer was a prosperous one for J.J.’s, with a growing number of customers travelling from throughout Northern Ontario, Timmins and South Porcupine to enjoy all that Schumacher’s finest has to offer. Its already considerable appeal continues to grow year to year, especially in light of recent additions that have included a newly renovated and licensed patio that accommodates up to 170 patrons and features a campfire.
“We’re now open exclusively from Friday to Monday, so we’re really here for the weekend warriors,” said Dupuis.
In addition to these expansions, J.J.’s has earned a reputation as the top local destination for karaoke lovers, who flock to there every Friday and Saturday night. It’s in keeping with the musical spirit of the bar’s early days, when a live band was a regular fixture, though this transitioned to karaoke nights in 1991 due to costs.
Maintaining music as a core part of J.J.’s was critical, as it also serves as the backbone of the Dupuis family, which is famed for its musical talent: both Leslie-Anne and her grandmother, Elisabeth Johnson, have been inducted into the Great Northern Opry by the Northern Ontario Country Music Association.
“Music is in everything we do here, and I really don’t think we would be as successful with the karaoke without being a musical family.”
Dupuis’ passion for music and the karaoke scene has allowed both to flourish at J.J.’s, which has given local amateur musicians an opportunity to gain some stage experience.
“We work with a lot of singers here to help them improve their act, and many of them go on to bigger competitions,” said Dupuis.
This focus on above-and-beyond customer service extends into the bar’s musical tribute shows, which center on customer participation.
“We incorporate our customers into our tribute shows. We’ve done tributes to Johnny Cash, the Beatles, and Elvis Presley. We love getting the customers involved.”
This engagement with their patrons has clearly paid off, as the bar is already booking for Christmas staff parties, preparing for their annual two-day Hallowe’en blow-out in the fall.
“Christmas is an especially big deal for us,” said Dupuis. “We book three months in advance until about a month after Christmas. The bar is transformed into a winter wonderland with 30 fully decorated Christmas trees and the decorations stay up for all of our events throughout January, until the first week of February. It’s really something to see.”
Throughout all this growth, J.J.’s management has been mindful of the bar’s deep roots in the community, which has fostered its success; their tribute shows are used to raise funds across a range of causes. In the past, proceeds have gone to Canadian Cancer Society, local baseball teams, and individuals struggling with medical issues.
“Anybody in the community who needs help is welcome to call us. We’ll charge a cover, host a potluck or have a tribute show. We really pull together to help out the community.”
J.J.’s Ranch is open from 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. on Fridays, 8 p.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturdays, and 5 p.m. - 12 a.m. on Sundays and Mondays. To stay updated on all upcoming events and shows, be sure to check out their monthly newsletter through their Facebook page. J.J.’s Ranch is located at 30 Father Costello Drive in Schumacher, and you can reach them by phone at (705) 465-0683.
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