Connect
To Top

Meet Nina and Jay Cantu of Liberty Opry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nina and Jay Cantu.

Nina and Jay, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Although the Liberty Opry has been in existence since June, 1993, we purchased the business in April, 2010. Prior to our owning of the Opry, my husband, Jay Cantu, was a guest performer approximately 3-4 times per year. The opportunity arose one night, while Jay was performing. The owner at the time (Bruce Boehner) asked Jay … “Why don’t you buy this place?” We laughed and shrugged it off as a passing joke.

Unbeknownst to us, the owner was NOT joking and asked us again, the next time that Jay performed there. “Hey Jay, I’m serious, why don’t you buy this place?” Discussions began between us and the next thing we knew – we were the new owners of the Liberty Opry.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been a bumpy road, to say the least. Jay has been singing all of his life and was performing regularly in and around the Houston area for weddings, parties, fund raisers and at local bars. I was working as a detention officer at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Neither of us were making tons of money, but we were comfortable.

Prior to working at HCSO, I worked for an oil company in the communications field for over 29 years. I knew NOTHING about the music industry or business, but, Jay was ready to get away from the “bar scene” and I wanted a change too, so we decided to jump in and go for it. I took a 6 months leave of absence from HCSO and Jay started weening himself away from some of his regular ‘gigs’. Learning how to ‘produce’ a live opry show was a challenge in itself.

How do you get entertainers? Do you choose local talent or go for bigger names? How do you know they are ‘good’? How do you choose music that both the band and the entertainer will know? What does the audience want to hear? Who puts the show ‘together’ step by step? What have I gotten myself into? Those were just show questions – let alone learning all the ins and outs of running a business. We knew in the first month that we bit off a little more than we were prepared for!

Liberty Opry – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Liberty Opry is centrally located between Houston and Beaumont on Hwy 90. We have the greatest time, giving our audiences one of the best – if not THE BEST – live, musical entertainment in the state of Texas! Every Saturday (with a few exceptions of a holiday or personal closure), we put on FABULOUS, live, musical shows, along with a touch of comedy from “Booger Lee”! There’s no smoking, no drinking and no foul language – it’s just good, clean, fun, so we encourage everyone to bring the kids and grandparents – and if you are a grandparent, bring your grandchildren or friends!

We love our God and our country, so we always give thanks to the Lord above, for without Him, the Liberty Opry would not exist. Our Motto is: “Once you step through the doors of the Liberty Opry, you become a part of our family” and our family is growing and growing!

We offer a different genre of music every Saturday: Gospel, 50’s & 60’s or Classic Oldies, various Country Western themes and Specialty Shows. The entertainers range from local individuals and groups, to those that follow the Opry circuit, as well as guest stars that come in from northern Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee! We have been blessed with top-notch musicians and we are very proud of the music they share with us every Saturday.

Of course, we can’t forget about our home-grown comedian: Larry “Booger Lee” Etheridge. “Booger Lee” has been bringing laughter to our audiences for over 20 years. You never know what to expect!

We have a wonderful snack bar and concession area, which seats 80 to 100 people.

Generations Coffee & Sandwich Shop operate the café, 6 days a week. They have Hot Plates, Sandwiches, Desserts and a variety of drinks. Their food is made fresh daily and very delicious!

Because a large number of our audience members are seniors, we strive to keep our prices very reasonable. Prices do vary however, depending on the show type and/or entertainers.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
We do not measure our success on just financial gain, but more importantly by the satisfaction of the customers and their overall experience while at the Opry.

At each show, we measure the energy level of ourselves and the audience … we look for laughter or smiles on faces, clapping hands, we watch people’s feet tapping or eyes closed while listening to a song, bringing back memories from yesterday or long ago, to hear someone tell us that our show is “just as good or better than a Branson show” fills our hearts with joy. To hear people say “we WILL be back – this was so much fun” … then we feel we have had a successful show.

Pricing:

  • Regular show prices: Adults $15.00 each / Children (12 years and younger) $10.00 each / Group rates (20 or more) are available.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in