September 30th to be last day of operation
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After seven years in operation as a hub for socializing and fellowship, the Friendship Cafe in Clarkfield is closing its doors.
“It was a very hard to decision to make,” Trevor Suckow, co-owner of the Friendship Cafe said. “It’s looking like the 30th of September will be the last day.”
Suckow cited declining sales and the lack of patronage as factors to making the decision.
The council chambers room were filled with nearly 40 supporters who do not want to see Clarkfield lose the cafe, which many vocally deemed as an asset to the city.
“Obviously the best option is buying the restaurant at a price that can sustain their lifestyles going forward,” Council member Neil Linscheid said. “Maybe you know someone willing to buy and own a cafe. Now is the time to ask and get them connected with the owners.”
Supporters were hoping for an easier solution, brainstorming ideas like management training and even the city subsidizing and buying out the business.
“If it still loses money, do you want to pay higher taxes?” Council member Scott Wold asked.
Mayor Gene Kockleman mentioned that the restaurant in Boyd is municipally owned, but “not everyone is happy with it.”
While the future of the cafe is still uncertain, Berdette Schoep of the Clarkfield EDA urged concerned citizens to help find ways to save the business.
“We have been working hard with the restaurant,” Schoep said. “We’re trying to come up with options. We need suggestions. We can’t just take it over.”
In other news:
• Erin Crosby was appointed to the vacant council position that previously belonged to Dave Biermaier. Crosby also filed for the general election seat.
The council was assured that by being appointed, she can still be elected in the fall for the term starting in 2015 as well.
Crosby was briefly a council member before when it was realized that her work at the Care Center made her position illegal, and she had to step down. Now that Crosby no longer works at the Care Center, there is no conflict of interest.
• The council unanimously approved the contract with Bollig Inc., the construction firm based out of Willmar.
After the contract was tweaked by City Attorney Dave Gilbertson, including additional liability for Bollig and a clearer out clause, Gilbertson deemed it worthy and gave his recommendation to the council to approve it.
“It should be on record that we agreed to work with them and not hop around for each project,” Council member Bob Schlenner said.
• A market study for the Care Center was approved by the council at the cost of $6,200.
“We need to be thinking of our future – our growth and potential, even 10 years out,” Neil Linscheid said.