Space Cowboys find galactic success in Northern Kentucky

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They’re “Space Cowboys, bet you weren’t ready for that…” and the Independence-based restaurant group are lassoing galactic success throughout Northern Kentucky.

“Yeah, it’s unique,” Bill Aseere, Space Cowboys Restaurant Group co-founder, said of the name. “We took it from our high school and college intramural teams names. We had softball and basketball teams and yeah, that name was inspired by the lyrics of the Steve Miller Band song ‘The Joker.’”

In 2017, Aseere, 40, of Independence and his “best friend since kindergarten,” Mike Ash, started Space Cowboys and opened a Donatos Pizza in Independence. They brought on their friend Mark Halpin as a partner and fast forward to 2022, they now operate a Whit’s Frozen Custard in Independence and Guthrie’s Chicken Fingers in Fort Wright and Erlanger. They also operate a Donatos and Whit’s in Highland Heights. There are plans to continue to grow.

Bill Aseere, an owner of Space Cowboys Restaurant Group, stands in front of one of their Donatos Pizza and Whit’s Frozen Custard locations. Photo provided | Bill Aseere

“We just closed on a piece of property in Independence where we plan to develop a strip center and hope to start building in spring,” Aseere said. “We have other property we are going to close on soon, but I can’t give a lot of details yet. Let’s just say that 2023 is going to be a monumental year for Space Cowboys.”

The impact has already been monumental on the three friends and their families.

“It’s changed our lives a little bit,” Aseere said of the business’ success.

A huge benefit, Aseere said, is that the venture has strengthened the friends’ relationship.

“We always have each other’s backs and look out for each other’s best interest,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for better partners. We believe in each other. It’s so nice to grow and succeed with people you care about.”

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His partner Mike Ash agreed.

“It was a no brainer to go into business together,” Ash, 40, of Fort Wright said. “It’s been pretty easy. We all three get along well. We’re all on the same page and want to try to accomplish the same goal that’s to keep growing and care for our people and create the best work environment for them.”

Aseere said it’s also been great to give back to the community. Space Cowboys sponsors a variety of high school sports teams throughout Northern Kentucky, as well as high school bands.

Most importantly, Aseere said that Space Cowboys works hard to take care of their employees.

“It’s amazing to create opportunities for our 100 plus employees to help them provide for their families,” he said.

Aseere said that Space Cowboys models their employee care after Ash’s long-time family business TL Ashford & Associates. TL Ashford, based in Fort Mitchell, writes labeling software.

“My dad founded TL Ashford in 1983, and has always made sure that our employees are valued,” Ash said. “My dad takes time to care about those who work with us and creating a family environment. I grew up in that and continue to apply those practices here and at Space Cowboys. People come first; without them we don’t have a business.”

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