Name: Al Rucker
Company: Al Rucker Productions
Years Active: 10
As the owner of Midtown Bail Bonds, what inspired you to cross over into the entertainment industry?
Actually, I got into the bail bonds business because of the entertainment industry. In the beginning of my career, I managed a lot of hip-hop artists and those guys were always getting in trouble and going to jail. I decided to invest in one small bail bonds company and almost 10 years later I currently have four locations in and around Houston and surrounding areas. Now that the bail bonds companies can practically run themselves, I decided to open a bistro and lounge to nurture local talent and feature national performers.
Tell us more about your latest entrepreneurial venture?
Dolce Lounge and Bistro is my latest venture. I created Dolce as a way to offer a different experience tailored around the various nightlife in Houston. Wednesday is our comedy night, which caters to everyone. Thursday night is geared towards our large rodeo and zydeco scene. Friday is poetry night for our socially conscious neo-soul enthusiasts and Saturday is our celebrity deejay dance party and live band. Although each night has become popular, our comedy night has become the hottest nigh,t so far. The first week, I announced that we would be featuring J. Anthony Brown and we sold out four shows in two days. That’s when I knew we had something that was missing in the community. We opened the doors on December 11 and in less than a month our comedy night is being hailed the best in Houston.
Why have you been able to be so successful in an already over saturated entertainment market?
Lately, my fellow business owners have been inquiring the same question. I was recently asked how was I able to host all of these shows and sell out events when I’m only charging $10. The secret to my success is that I own the building. The comics that I’m bringing down are well known, established comedians who may not want to go perform at other clubs because they have a history of being short changed. The only competition that we have right now is The Improv Comedy Club but The Improv is a national chain focused on the crossover Black comic. The guys that I bring in don’t necessarily get asked to perform at Improv even though they are well known in the African American community. Dolce is no Improv, but my company and my brand is well-established in the industry and the talent is aware that when they come to Dolce, they will be promoted correctly.
What’s next for Rucker Productions?
I will be hosting a star-studded New Year’s Eve 2017 party at Dolce titled The All Black Affair. Following that, my non-profit organization, The Rucker Family Foundation, has started working on our first annual celebrity golf tournament set to be held around March or April of 2017. We are hoping to raise about $25K to help students with the second semester of college. We will also be focusing our efforts raising money for high school seniors looking to attend HBCUs. As a teenager in my junior year of high school, I encountered an incident with my mom and her boyfriend who were high on crack cocaine. The night ended with me having to fight her boyfriend out of the house. The next day, I came home from school and she was on the couch nursing his wounds. I packed everything that I could and I never looked back. I know what it’s like to be homeless and to fight for an education by any means. A lot of young people in our community have similar stories and I want to do whatever I can with the platform that I have attained to give back.
For more information visit www.AlRucker.com, www.dolcehouston.com, www.midtownbailbonds.com