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“We’d be going under”: Vassar restaurant, others to remain closed when restrictions relax Monday

Published: Jan. 31, 2021 at 11:42 PM EST
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VASSAR, Mich. (WJRT) (1/31/2021)--Beginning Monday, restaurants statewide will reopen for dine-in service as the state relaxes restrictions, but, as ABC12 found, not everyone plans to get back into the swing of things just yet.

Many restaurants remain unconvinced the capacity caveat attached to the reopening will enable them to move the needle back toward profitability, including a crowd favorite in Vassar.

“It’ll take a long while to recuperate from it.”

Don Leiterman and his wife own Cork Pine Eatery & Saloon in downtown Vassar. When the state gives the go-ahead to reopen dine-in service Monday at 25-percent capacity, they won’t be among the restaurants opening their doors.

“At 25-percent, in a month we’d be going under and losing the place,” Leiterman said.

The math isn’t in their favor. Leiterman estimates it would take in the neighborhood of $12-thousand to get the ball rolling here, between the food, the liquor, staffing and utilities. It’s money they can’t recoup serving 21 at a time. The downtown eatery let its regulars in on the decision via Facebook.

“Well, you don’t like posting it,” he related. “We’d like to get everybody back to work and start making a profit ourselves.”

He and others are banking on the data to push them to half capacity and make it worth their while in the next month or so.

“Frankenmuth Credit Union helped us out a lot with SBA… that’ll help us out a lot,” Leiterman said. “So, at 50-percent, we’ll be able to go back into business again.”

But, as it stands, the restrictions that remain are open ended. Leiterman wanted to reassure regulars they aren’t going anywhere and have every intention of reopening when the time is right.

“We miss you too,” Leiterman addressed his customers. “We know most of our customers. We’ve got a lot of regulars and we miss seeing them.”

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