A year of success at Kozy’s Bar

Eye on KELOLAND

YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) – In your hometown, you probably have a favorite place to hangout. For some people in Yankton, that place is Kozy’s Bar. Last summer KELOLAND News showed you the story of how this bar got back in the family after 18 years. Kristen Kozak’s bought back her grandpa’s bar. Now a year later Kristen says business is better than she could have ever imagined.

The laughs are loud and the energy is high this afternoon at Kozy’s.

“This is the 5:00 crew,” customer, Kris Hacecky said.

The group is what some might call the ‘regulars’ at Kozy’s, but for people like Kris Hacecky, coming here is more than just a place to pass time.

“This is one of my favorite places to hangout, it’s a fun place in the afternoon, and we have a lot of laughs, a lot of jokes, a lot of fun people show up,” Hacecky said.

Bar owner Kristen Kozak now has a year in the books for running her own business, and it’s better than she expected.

“It’s been way better than we’ve ever expected, we get a lot of support from the community, all the locals in the area have been really supportive, we see new faces, old faces from when I grew up here,” bar owner, Kristen Kozak said.

She believes there are a few unique things keeping people coming back again and again.

“We try to have bands often, we try to change things up a bit with the gold fish races awhile back, and we got a huge response from that, people like different things,” Kristen Kozak said.”One of our locals, she makes some really good fry bread, so we thought we would try it out at Kozy’s and we had a huge response from it and people love them.”

Another thing you can do at Kozy’s is stop by for a shake a day, all you need is a dollar and you roll the dice and hope for a five of a kind to win the pot.

Plus, instead of a happy hour, they do what they call ‘Bozak Hour.’

“We do Bozak hour instead of Happy Hour because a dear friend of mine, Spencer Bose, ended up with colon cancer when he was 40 years old and ended up dying from it, we were really good friends, we hung out all the time, on the lake, on the boat, so in his remembrance is why we do it,” Kristen’s dad, Gary Kozak said.

Kristen’s grandpa, who open the bar in 1972 and ran it for 28 years, is proud of what his granddaughter has accomplished.

“In the bar here, really good, really good, I can’t believe it, really something, Kristen she’s done ok,” Kristen’s grandpa, Lawrence Kozak said.

“Everybody just positive comments, just unbelievable, she’s got great help, great staff, been with her for a year now, and I just see it getting better in the future here,” Gary Kozak said.

And Gary says it’s fun to see new and old faces come into the bar.

“The people that come in and you’ve seen over the years, you haven’t seen, and then they come in again after 18 years of being absent and the new friends and faces that we’ve seen, people stopping in from all over,” Gary Kozak said.

A place Hacecky says will be a place she will continue to make memories.

“I think it’s the atmosphere and the friendliness of all the people, they make everyone feel welcome, and include them in the conversation, and nobody is ever left out at this bar,” Hacecky said.

Kozy’s bar plans to do some more expanding, for example putting in a sand volleyball course and building a beer garden patio.

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