WENATCHEE — State cops, FBI guys and other law officers will be searching tomorrow for a new place to sip morning coffee after the Shari’s Restaurant here closes for good at 1 p.m. today.
“Those troopers and deputies have been loyal customers for more than 20 years,” said Lanna Jordan, a Shari’s supervisor and trainer. “We’re the place where they started their day, touched base with their buddies. It’s sort of sad to see that end.”
After more than two decades, the Shari’s Restaurant at 1516 N. Wenatchee Ave. will close after its lease expired in August. Company executives said the building would require expensive, expansive remodeling to bring it up to Shari’s new branding standards of brighter, fresher interiors.
The only other Shari’s in North Central Washington — at the Wenatchee Valley Mall in East Wenatchee — will remain open.
“It’s a matter of dollars and cents in a tough economy,” said Michael Kiriazis, vice president of marketing for the Beaverton, Ore., company. “Wenatchee is a small market being served by two restaurants. The lease is up, it’s expensive to remodel, so we had to make some tough decisions.”
Shari’s has no plans to shut any other of its more than 100 restaurants in 2013, said Kiriazis. Two restaurants with similar issues of expired lease and high-cost renovations were closed in 2012, he said.
Rumors began circulating a year ago that one of the Wenatchee area Shari’s might close at year’s end. The 30 employees at the Wenatchee restaurant were notified Thursday, they said, that it was definitely their facility that would be shut down. Signs went up soon after to notify customers of the closure.
Jordan, 26, a Wenatchee employee for more than 6 years, is one of the few employees who will be transferred to the East Wenatchee store. Other employees will be eligible for rehire as soon as positions become available, a company official said.
“A lot of employees have put in hard work — blood, sweat and tears — to make this a favorite restaurant for a lot of people,” said 40-year-old waitress Kelley Jackson, who’s worked at the restaurant for 6 years and won’t be transferred to the East Wenatchee operation.
“But for me, it’s a door closing and another door opening,” she said. She’ll fall back on her second waitressing job at the Country Inn in East Wenatchee and begin classes soon at The Beauty Academy to start a new career.
“We can understand the costs of renovating the building,” said Jordan. “But business here has been good — it seems like we’re always busy — and the customers loyal.”
She grabbed a handful of menus and turned to escort a family to a big booth. “Our regular customers have said they’ll miss us. We’ve been saying our goodbyes over the last few days — and that’s definitely a hard thing to do.”
Mike Irwin: 665-1179