Daryl Reece: Built on hard work, community support, and faith

Daryl Reece, who has lived in Grand Rapids for more than 22 years, is no stranger to hard work. As a matter of fact, it has been instrumental in the success he has seen with several ventures, including his vodka line, Stock Da Bar. Reece will be the first to share how his professional success was not something that was planned.
Daryl Reece
A class of 1991 graduate of Benton Harbor High School, Reece wanted to be a baseball player. He played his favorite sport throughout high school and with traveling teams for some time after graduation.

Reece knew that his next step was pursuing a college education, because that is what everyone told him he should do next, so he enrolled in junior college at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, but his time there was brief.

Reece realized that college was not for him, so he began working different jobs until he ended up at a factory where his mom had been working for more than 30 years. 

“I don’t come from a business background — a money management background — I come from a hardworking background,” Reece says, adding that his parents instilled in him the value of hard work and saving money. 

Content for seven years in this work, Reece was approached by his father-in-law, who owned a barber shop, The House of Style, about getting into the field. By 2001, Reece moved to Grand Rapids to be with his wife, Debra, where he gave up his factory job and began barber school, also attending Grand Rapids Community College simultaneously. In the end, he obtained both cosmetology and general education degrees. For the past 22 years, Reece and his wife have been operating the shop.

Daryl Reece and his wife, Debra, at an event.
Throwing parties for a cause

They invited friends from his hometown of Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo to visit, celebrate his birthday with him, and "stock da bar."

The parties grew with people coming from North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia to attend. Once it reached the point of the Reece’s home not being able to contain the parties, the event was moved to an outside venue, and 350 people attended.

Eventually, after a friend’s suggestion, Reece turned the event into a business. In 2015, Reece put together a committee and used the funds collected from the event to donate to a friend’s endowment fund. As it continued to grow, donations also went to the Boys and Girls clubs in Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids.

“I’ve been blessed to be around good people who treat me well, and I treat them well,” says Reece. “I might have the vision, but it takes a collective of these friends and family to just do everything. I love what we are doing.”

Although the parties have been discontinued, Reece continues to give back with new initiatives that continue supporting the communities that he has touched. In 2019, Pieces of of Reece’s was established, and in 2022, people gathered at Rosa Parks Circle for the inaugural Stock Da Bar Foundation festival. With people from all over the country, Reece was able to donate $3,000 to the Boy and Girls clubs. The next festival is scheduled for Aug. 17.

Stock Da Bar vodka

By late 2018, Reece had started creating YouTube videos to introduce his friends around the country to various Michigan alcohols, which caught the attention of Lansing-based Michigrain Distillery. The company reached out to Reece and asked him about pursuing his own vodka line; Stock Da Bar was born.

“I learned how to sell, learned how to brand, and learned alcohol law,” says Reece, who, for 10 months in 2019, would start his day at 4:30 a.m., so he could educate himself, reading audio business books, meditating, and staying consistent in his discipline and faith.

This was Reece’s routine all before going into work at the barber shop. On Dec. 1, 2019, Reece was licensed with his own vodka brand in Michigan and ready for distribution. There were times the Reeces would visit six-plus cities in a day to get started. In the end, with the combination of faith and support from friends old and new, Reece says Stock Da Bar is in more than 100 locations, including Meijer stores, three Bonefish and Grill restaurants in the state, and all four Total Wine and More stores  in the state.
Stock Da Bar Vodka can be found at several Michigan grocery stores, including Spartan Nash stores, Meijer, and Total Wine & More stores.
Reece and Stock Da Bar have also partnered up with the Meijer LPGA Classic for an upcoming third year, GR Gold at Van Andel, and Studio Park. With these partnerships, Reece, through his nonprofit efforts, wants to empower youth by introducing them to trade skills, saying College isn’t for everyone, and giving out scholarships.

Furthermore, Reece stresses that research and putting God first is what has helped him along his professional path, especially considering he initially did not know what his passion was: “I’m on this earth to help people — my passion is people.”

One turning point for Reece and the stress that he carried about what made him successful was something that his wife of more than 22 years said to him. He says that she told him that if he never sold another bottle of vodka, he would still be successful in her eyes. Since she said those words to him, Reece says he has not carried that same worry since, because he knew she was okay with where they stood in business and would continue to be his biggest supporter.

Reece is heading into a new year with his faith remaining just as strong, even when things may be a little rough — something that Reece adds is a given.

“Believe that what you want to do is possible,” he says. “Believe in what you do and make sacrifices.”

For more information on Stock Da Bar, Pieces of Reece’s and upcoming 2024 events, visit Stockdabar.com.
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