Alex von Stein
By Jenna Deuble
What year did you graduate Arlington?
I'm a graduate of the class of 2017 at Arlington.
What university did you attend?
I attended Bowling Green State University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in technology with a minor in military science.
What was your journey to become a business owner?
The journey for becoming a business owner was an interesting one in my case. I look back on it now and it makes sense as to where I am today. From doing small DJ gigs on the side at age 14/15, to doing a handful of landscaping jobs every year on my own, throughout high school and college. I always had a drive to work for myself. I knew from a young age that’s where the money was and the freedom to maximize my potential and worth. I was working 30-40 hours a week throughout college to help with paying for my living expenses outside of school, and to establish some sort of savings for when I graduated. I would be lying if I said it was all calculated, but luck had some part to do with where I am today. Hard work ethic and drive helped out tremendously, but the risk I gambled with, I can’t help but give credit to luck.
I started off just as a Friday and Saturday night DJ at Ziggys. I took a lot of pride in my job, and came in on my off hours just to work and help with events for no pay, because I loved the place I worked at. When I was offered by the owner to purchase the place, I had no idea what went into running the company. I saw the potential the place had and knew I needed to capsize on it. I left my current job at the time, 6 weeks before I took ownership just to focus on the negotiations, the lawyers, the contracts and so much more. And within less than a year of working there, I was officially the owner of Ziggys in Bowling Green. Six months since I took ownership, Ziggys has earned close to half a million in sales, increased our social media and marketing presence by over 2000%, as well as become a staple in the nightlife scene of BGSU, and the surrounding area. Through my success I've been beyond grateful and blessed to donate to numerous philanthropies, as well as charities such as, the Foundation for Autism, Wounded Warriors, and Keeping Kids Safe foster services. Within less than a year I went from applying to over a hundred jobs, to having people apply to work for me. I'm currently the owner of Ziggys here in Bowling Green, as well as, the owner of Prestige Marketing, a small digital marketing company, VCM Vending, a vending company with multiple new locations coming within the next month, and a proud US Army Engineer Officer. I'm also currently in the negotiation process to buy my second nightlife business here in Bowling Green as well. The future is bright and I have no ambitions of slowing down.
My best advice and tips for those reading this, especially young students. Take the risk. Do your due diligence. And make sure when you walk into a room, everyone knows who you are. Confidence is the greatest key and attribute to have in anything you do in life. Whether it’s sports, work, or personal life. Do it with confidence, even when you’re unsure, and people will follow you as a natural born leader. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life exactly one year ago. Plans and opportunities change, so be willing to change with them. I always say, most people in life are looking to create the next best thing; like sliced bread. Take something that works like sliced bread, and find a way to make it Texas Toast. Everybody loves Texas Toast.
How has your experience been with the US Army Reserves?
I've been with the US Army for going on 6 years now and credit some of my success to the fundamentals it taught me. I'm currently an Engineer Officer with the US Army Reserve down in East Tennessee, and have a remaining 7 years left on my contract. The military has taught invaluable lessons over my young adult life that translates over into my everyday career and lifestyle. I joined because I had the passion to serve, the massive amount of benefits, the full ride scholarship for school, and being a part of the greatest team on Earth.
From getting up at 530, every weekday morning to running 6-7 miles, and working out, the confidence the Army instilled in me as an officer has allowed me to stand apart from my peers. I'm proud and love every second I spend in uniform serving my country. My experience has had its ups and downs, but that’s all part of the experience. I wouldn’t trade the values and attributes the military taught me for anything.
What do you miss most about Arlington?
The biggest thing I miss is the closeness of everything and everyone. I know hundreds of people and interact with what feels like a hundred on a daily basis. Looking back on it, I occasionally miss the small classes and knowing the 30-40 kids in your class. Arlington always will feel like home to me, and on the days I have time to come back it's nice to see not much has changed.
Who has been your greatest role model throughout high school and college?
My role model has changed over the years, due to being in different chapters of my life. From coaches, to Captains and NCOs who pushed me beyond what I thought was physically possible of my own self. But the driving force and constant push in my ear to always do better was my own father. He pushed me throughout school to see it through, even at times when I thought college was the wrong decision. He was completely against my decision and leap of faith to buy Ziggy’s, but after seeing its success and where it's led me in the last six months, he’s grown to be my biggest supporter. Oftentimes coming up to BG randomly just check in on the place and help with whatever I have going on. He’s always been hard on me with everything I do, but the people who are the toughest on you are always the one who wants you to succeed the most. My father has been my greatest constant role model over my young adult life. I owe my success to him through the fundamentals he stressed on me my entire life. He made me realize quitting is never an option and resentment can be the best motivation at times. He made it clear to me, going against the grain, doing your own thing, and being true to who you really are is what makes you a man.
As always #RushZiggys
- Alexander von Stein