Client Focus: 10 Forward

Ang Buxton and Alex Noonan are creating a scene

If you’re suddenly realizing that people are going out again, and are looking for a fun scene, you may want to check out 10 Forward. The queer-friendly bar/venue, which borrows its name from the lounge on the USS Enterprise in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” is tucked under Mesa Verde on Fiske Avenue in Greenfield.

In late 2022, 10 Forward employees and partners Ang Buxton and Alex Noonan bought the business from its previous owner, using financing from the Franklin County CDC. Originally from Springfield, the two now live in South Deerfield. A quick glance at their Instagram feed (@10.forward) reveals the wide variety of events—raves, karaoke nights, open mic nights, film festivals, queer-networking game nights, and DJ classes to name a few—on offer. They are even working toward live streaming events for those who prefer to, or must for their health, attend only online, giving everyone an on-ramp to that long-awaited fun scene.

We recently caught up with Alex, who was recovering from a plumbing emergency at the property.

Q: How has it been going from employee to business owner?

A: It’s been hectic. There’s a lot to do that was left undone by previous owners, and there are improvements we hope to make as well. But initially there’s been a lot to get our footing with, in addition to just handling day-to-day business operations.

Q: Are you having difficulty finding workers?

A: We’re really not! We have a great crew of folks that we love working with and they seem to feel the same way. It can be a bit challenging to come together and cover shifts when someone is out sick or suspects they might have been exposed to COVID, but we all don’t want sick people coming into work—for their health and everyone else’s—so we’ve always managed to figure it out!

Q: What’s rewarding about what you do?
A: It’s rewarding to hear patrons at the club talking about how much they love the space, the show, the drinks, and the people. There’s a lot of positivity that comes back to us from the community and that really makes our hectic schedules worth it!

Q: It seems like in-person events are getting more common. Are folks coming out to 10 Forward these days?

A: They are indeed, but we’re still working on getting set up to live stream certain shows and events online. We know that even though a lot of folks are feeling safe to come out these days, there are many people who do not or can not, and may never again be in a position to physically be in a crowd of other people. So we’re still heavily encouraging masks, hosting some mask-only events, and recently purchased a true HEPA filter air purifier for the space. We’re excited to be in person again and welcoming people to the space, but we don’t want to pretend that nothing has changed.

Q: Can you reflect on working with the Franklin County CDC?

A: We’re just super grateful that an organization like this exists! We love the story of two local organizations working together to bring the arts and community to Greenfield, and we’re honored that the FCCDC believed in us and our vision enough to offer us funding to make it a reality. It feels a lot more personal than just going to a bank.

Photo by Paul Franz for the Recorder. From left, Ang Buxton and Alex Noonan.