MBarGo's journey to fruition began in January 2020, when looking for something that would combine Grady’s passion for cars, Michelle’s love for all things bubbly (she is Italian after all) and her tendency to host spectacular soireés. After a few margaritas and many ideas, the spectacular idea of building a mobile tap truck was born.
They started researching the various options available, finding some pre-built options available in Europe and the United States but none of them seemed to fit the vision. So, they decided "if we couldn’t find it, we would build it". Grady began scouring the internet for a suitable chassis for the foundation of the build. About two weeks later, he came across a listing for a tiny Japanese delivery truck. As luck would have it, it was located only 20 minutes away from their house. Five days later, it was theirs!
They began fabrication shortly after as everything had to be designed and built from scratch. Construction included everything from metal fabrication, painting, plumbing and a custom keg system, woodworking, custom countertops and some mechanical enhancements to support the additional weight in the bed of the truck. Construction took longer than expected but it was a priority to make sure every detail was perfect. One year later in January of 2021, she was finally complete and ready for her debut!
Michelle is the “social media maven” of the operation. She also runs most of the day to day operations of MBarGo.
Outside of MBarGo, Michelle works for WestJet. Her cheery personality, and love of travel make this great fit for her. Prior to WestJet, Michelle's love of animals and the sea drove her career choices; At the age of 13, she decided she wanted to become an animal trainer and she never strayed away from that goal. In 2008, her dream was realized and it was everything she imagined it would be. She spent 10 years in the animal care and training industry, including positions at the Vancouver Aquarium and the Calgary Zoo.
Michelle is a beach girl at heart, and like Grady, never happier than when on, in, or near the ocean. Michelle loves to entertain, and with a keen eye for detail, she excels at crafting fun and unique events with (of course) fantastic food and delicious beverages. MBarGo is a great opportunity for Michelle to bring together her creative, and organizational skill sets. Her tireless energy will ensure clients of MBarGo will enjoy a unique and fun event planning experience.
Grady is the “mechanical” side of the operation. He has always had a passion for motor vehicles and loves to explore his creative side.
Outside of MBarGo, Grady works in the film industry. As a young boy, he was captivated by all things mechanical, especially cars. He has worked in the industry since 1990 but most recently found his niche in picture cars. Some of you are now wondering “What the heck are picture cars?”. Any vehicle you see on screen is considered a picture car and Grady would be responsible for them. That could mean renting, buying and sometimes even building the cars required for the production (for one production he actually built a replica of a Peterbilt 379 Class 8 truck).
Like Michelle, Grady has a love of the ocean. As a yacht captain (yes he actually is), the tall tales of pirates and smugglers throughout history have always been favourites of his. Grady’s love of the tales of rum smuggling and prohibition, as well as his love of cars, were big inspirations behind MBarGo.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
STAR OF OUR SHOW
With prohibition and the 1920’s being an inspiration behind our vision, we needed to learn as much as we could. While doing our research, we were fascinated to learn that women played a large role in smuggling alcohol. Surprisingly enough, they did it better. Women bootleggers put men to shame as they had some significant advantages. In the 1920’s, it was illegal to physically search a woman and they took full advantage of this by hiding the moonshine on their person. It also worked in their favor that juries were loath to convict a woman of the crime of bootlegging. They simply refused to believe that a woman would do such a thing.
Perhaps one of the best was Gertrude “Cleo” Lythgoe.
Lythgoe was born in Bowling Green, Ohio and was the youngest of ten children. Orphaned from an early age, she made up her mind to strike out on her own and went to New York. She became a stenographer, graduating into a junior accounts clerk for a British booze importer.
When Prohibition arrived, Lythgoe realised that the world was changing rapidly and that she needed to change with it. She managed to convince her employer that there was money to be made by importing liquor from the Bahamas. After relocating to Nassau, Lythgoe set up a wholesale liquor export shop in the infamous Lucerne Hotel.
Not long after her arrival, began commissioning her own boats to smuggle hooch, knowing that this was where the big money was. Cleo was a very independent woman who carried a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it. She became a formidable and fierce figure in the liquor supply business, coming to be known as “The Queen of the Bahamas”.
Lythgoe left behind a hell of a legacy, best summed up by long-time admirer Robert Wigley.
“She stands alone and fearless – a woman who would grace any London drawing room…she has commanded the respect and homage of this motley and dubious throng, and is known in the trade as The Queen of the Bahamas.”
We knew that our truck needed to be named after such a strong, independent woman!
BEST SUPPORTING ACT
Josephine Doody was a former dance-hall girl turned bootlegger. She lived in a remote cabin in Glacier National Park. The men of the Great Northern Railroad became her best customers. When the train passed through her area it would stop and toot the whistle the number of times to correspond to how many gallons of moonshine they wanted. She delivered it across the Flathead River is a small boat. Since those days, her legend has grown. Today, a headstone is erected in her honor that says “Josephine Doody, October 16, 1853-January 16, 1936. The Bootleg Lady of Glacier Park."