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 every Thursday evening bringing between 12 to 20 members.
“We really enjoyed meeting there,” she said.
With the fate of the franchise uncertain, Clark said he plans to focus his efforts into Dakota’s Steakhouse, which has seen lean profits this year.
“I am so thankful for Clovis’ support for the last eight years,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for them and the graciousness of the town we wouldn’t have been able to do Dakota’s Steakhouse. We’re going to do everything we can to keep Dakota’s open.”
The Clovis location was one of nine in New Mexico and the only one in the region, according to a search on the company’s Web site. The closest other Golden Corral locations are in Roswell, Lubbock and Amarillo.