Tides Tavern changes hands but stays in the family

Business: Peter Stanley transfers ownership of Dylan Enterprises to his son, Dylan

of the GatewayJanuary 29, 2014 

After 40 years as the owner of the Tides Tavern, Peter Stanley, right, is handing over the reins to his son, Dylan, who says he won’t change much about the iconic Gig Harbor business.

LEE GILES III/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Even when it changes, it’s still the Tides Tavern.

When Peter Stanley handed ownership over to his son, Dylan Stanley, that maxim guided his decision. He considers the Tides’ consistent character to be the measure of success.

Peter Stanley took over the tavern in 1973. Forty years later — on Dec. 30, 2013 — he signed ownership over to Dylan, his eldest son.

It’s not a big transition, but it’s emotional for Peter.

Things at the restaurant won’t change much, Dylan said. It will be a gradual transition. Peter will still be at the restaurant and involved in the community.

It’s a symbolic change, because the tavern will stay in the Stanley family.

Dylan Stanley is no stranger to business. He started as CEO of the Tides in February 2012. Before that, he was the owner of Old Town Bicycles, a company he started in his garage in 1993. He sold Old Town Bicycles in 2010.

In a way, Dylan has always been a big part of the tavern. When Peter Stanley purchased the restaurant in 1973, he set up a corporation for it — Dylan Enterprises, named after his son.

Dylan admits that seeing his name on the paychecks was a little odd when he came on board as CEO.

Like all the Stanley children, Dylan has childhood memories of the tavern. Too young to go inside, he would have food passed to him through the window. He watched bands play while he sat on his father’s shoulders. He would fish off the pier next to the restaurant.

“I definitely have a lot of memories about the place,” he said.

Dylan’s plan is to spend the next few years with the Tides Tavern, assessing what works and what doesn’t.

“I don’t believe in tinkering with something that isn’t broken,” he said.

One thing that is coming back is live music. In the heyday of the 1970s, bands frequently played at the tavern. Peter Stanley has a set list on the wall near the stage, where two tables now sit.

Dylan Stanley, a former musician who played in bands in both Tacoma and Santa Cruz, Calif., is looking for new ways to fold in live entertainment.

It’s Dylan’s business eye that Peter wanted in the restaurant. Make changes that make sense. Don’t change what makes the Tides unique, he said.

“I’ve known what I’ve wanted the Tides to be for 40 years,” Peter Stanley said. “If you look at the Tides, that’s me.”

The changing of hands is a retirement for Peter Stanley. He plans to have fun with the next part of his life, and he knows the Tides has been left in good hands.

For Dylan Stanley, it’s a been a good experience to run a family business.

“It’s been a great opportunity for us as father and son,” Dylan said. “It’s been very rewarding.”

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at karen.miller@gateline.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.

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