By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
Low profits and rising expenses are reducing dining options in Clovis by one. Golden Corral is closing its doors.
Franchise owner Jim Clark said he closed the restaurant Wednesday.
“It was kind of a bittersweet day,” said Clark who also celebrated his 50th birthday that day.
He said the decision to close the restaurant he operated for eight years was financial. The restaurant was not making enough profit to pay for a mandatory remodeling of the building and an anticipated a rent hike.
The restaurant employed 34 people, he said. He said several restaurants in town have hired 16 of his employees.
Clark said the franchise agreement he had with the company requires him to remodel the restaurant every seven years.
Estimated to cost more than $300,000, the remodel included a new kitchen, carpet and interior.
Clark said he planned to offset the cost of the project with revenues from his other restaurant, Dakota’s Steakhouse.
“That has not been the case,” he said.
Then there’s the matter of the rent jumping from $4,000 a month to more than $10,000 a month in July, Clark said.
He said the restaurant made $23,000 to $27,000 a week this year.
An effort to pass the franchise to new owners in November was thwarted when the corporation would not let up on the remodeling condition, Clark said.
“I know that it’s tough to come up with that kind of financing at today’s market,” he said.
Aileen Eastwood, president of the Clovis Evening Lion’s Club, said she is saddened by the restaurant’s closing. She said the restaurant has been her club’s meeting place for several years. Until the closing, the club met at the restaurant