The day my final occupancy permit was approved for the restaurant, I couldn’t have wanted to leave town any more than that day. Not only was the vision of what I wanted awash in weird interpersonal politics, people had wasted my time so much that by the time I turned on the open sign I owed two months of rent and had to figure out how to pay employees I had ensured had a job.
Little by little things came together. I drank, I worked, I drank some more, I worked. Good and bad came along with the adventure. Of all the bad things that came along with my place, I had some really good things. Casey was probably the best manager I could have asked for. Aside from some minor fundamental disagreements, I didn’t think I would ever have someone like her that I could totally trust with the business. Unfortunately, at the end of it all decisions were made that in a way, I wish I could change.
The decision to sell came after a plethora of battles within my own head. I had so many options, yet getting out of town won through.
I spoke with a realtor that I thought would have my best interests. Boy, was I wrong. What a crook. The initial offer was great. I could recoup the money I spent on the whole thing and walk away at a solid baseline of zero. Of course, the desperation I had to leave could not be masked. The asshole of a property manager that took over the complex made for an interesting negotiation. I had eight months left on my lease and I made if very clear that I would NOT be continuing. Even if it meant clearing all the equipment out on that final day and throwing it in the trash. Figuring I would try to do the prudent thing and sell it, I was railroaded and in a way I really don’t mind it now.
The buyers (so it was told by the idiot realtor) offered to sign a new five year lease if they could have three months free rent. A-fucking-mazing! I’ll take it. Wouldn’t ya know, the property manger, who didn’t like that I scored such a good deal on my initial lease declined to sign. He said I would have to pay for the free rent if they wanted that offer. You’re kidding me right?
Logistically the cards fell out of my favor. The buyers had the leverage of a crook of a realtor, the asinine nature of a property manager, and were a couple who had a sudden sense of entitlement and power because of the deal they were scoring.
Being a nice guy, who wanted nothing more than to be done with it all, I offered any help to the new buyers. Of course, the prick of a guy thought I was useless to him and he of course knew everything there was to know about this place. Him and his wife played the role of talking shit about me for quite some time after the deal was done. Contracts to be transferred over during the sale of the business never occurred and a peculiar consequence of their sheer ignorance caused their power, gas and telephone to be shut off because a few weeks after the sale I was informed it was all still in my name. I made the call and said ‘shut it down, right now.’ I think the electric stayed on but the gas man locked out the valve and the phone service was gone. Oh, and the phone number they thought they would get wasn’t transferred over because they didn’t buy the ‘business’ they bought the assets and the right to conduct business as I was.
So many issues I could discuss, but the primary thing I want to share is that I didn’t fail.
Quite a few people offered condolences to me after I was done with the place. I looked upon them in confusion because regardless of what the naysayers think, my business was successful. The support system I thought I had throughout is what failed me. I took my losses and moved on, regardless of what it did to my credibility. Even though the players at the end turned against me and made me out to look like the asshole, I was in fact the asshole that created it from damn near nothing. Oh, and the place is still standing as a testament to the foundation that I created. The current owners will never ever admit to even themselves that someone else actually gave birth to their business, but I did. They don’t know the agony of getting up at five in the morning to build a place while fighting with county inspectors, health departments, vendors, employee interviews, contractors that never fucking showed up… It’s cool though right?
I could write a blog spanning more words than this entire years worth of what I went through during the course of opening and running this business.
Some will conclude that it was all about the money. It wasn’t. Sure, I hoped for busier days to pay the bills a little farther ahead but I was never really worried about making any money for any given day. What I was worried about was a complete meltdown of the superficial support system that I had arbitrarily created. I beat it to the punch.
One of the best feelings in the world when I had my place was to send food out and look through the kitchen window to see someone take a first bite of one of my hamburgers. The reaction from countless people is something that is keeping the fire alive inside me to create something more… Later on of course… And to the older lady that started crying when I said I was selling, that was enough to make me realize that I have no business listening to anyone bad mouth who I am and what I can do.
Down the line I have paid the price of having to hear people belittle me under their breath. Now, I understand that people really don’t care about me and don’t spend every waking minute of their day discussing what they think of me, but each and every tidbit of shit talking that I hear adds up and reminds me that though I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, I need to trust my gut when I believe people don’t have the integrity I think they should.
Until the next crazy thing I do in my life, I’m going to live as if everything is just gettin’ by. I want to see who my real, no-shit friends are. I want to see who stands by me expecting nothing in return. It is then, that I will feel the desire to share more of who I really am, and what I can really do…