A Bittersweet Day

Well the time has come.Mr. Potatohead goes Downtown 001 If you remember, a year ago I published a blog about our 20th Anniversary and our plans for the future. Sitting around discussing business ideas and some exciting things to do for 2013, we all of a sudden realized that it was 20 years ago that we had started Union Street. In the first years we were full of “…our first anniversary”, “our 5th, our 10th…” and then we petered out. All of a sudden, holy cow, we were now ‘our bosses’ that we used to criticize when we were young… and we still had so many things we wanted to do! So, Union Street went up for sale.

And now it has sold!!! *&*^*^%&#@%^

It’s bittersweet – we’re super excited about what lays ahead, but to leave our home, our wonderful staff and so many customers/friends that we have met over the years, well, it’s all overwhelming and a little surreal. We were approached by a company back in April that had been watching us and what we were doing and wanted to buy Union Street – yup, out of the blue. They wanted to keep Union Street as Union Street; keep the staff, the menus, the food and recipes, keep all the systems and people in place which was fantastic. It was exactly what we wanted to happen. But they wanted to take possession in June! two months away! Too soon, we had too much to do. So we started the negotiation process, back and forth and finally came to an agreeable contract on June 10th – just had to sign and prepare.

So, Union Street will be under new ownership July 31st!

And here we are. By the time you read this, the transfer will be finalized, systems will be put into place to make the transition smooth, new managers in place and Danielle and I will slowly start bowing out… and we can’t say how that makes us feel… We hate goodbyes. Even though we will be here in the valley and hanging out downtown, we won’t be at Union Street. As I said, bittersweet!

Over the years we’ve had ups and downs, we’ve had some fantastic parties, groups, weddings, and yes, some that we couldn’t wait until they were over. We’ve been instrumental in organizing downtown events, survived 20 Market Days, (and all you downtown businesses know what I mean by that..). There was the time that we had a mad gunman waiving a gun around in the downtown core with our staff leaning out the front windows egging him on (the police didn’t think that was too funny). We’ve fed movie stars, hockey celebrities, and my favourite, Universal (now deceased, but just a sweet, gentle, giant of a schizophrenic homeless man). Shellfish Festival, Music Festival, Flavour, Car Free and Moonlight Madness/Magic… we’ve had a blast with all of them.

We’ve been involved with some phenomenal, inspirational and magical people and had the pleasure of supporting and working with the best artists/musicians we can imagine. I think it’s probably the only business where you can walk around downtown and have some random person come up and give you a hug and tell you that you made their anniversary or wedding the best day in their lives. We feel totally blessed to have been involved in this wonderful community and have made so many relationships. We’ve given the restaurant away to certain people so many times – I can understand why they didn’t take it, and I’m glad they didn’t. It’s been our life for 20 years. We’ve gotten legal, medical and counselling advice during the busiest times – thanks to all of you, we owe you (Hear that John??)… So from both Danielle and I, to all our staff, all our customers, and mainly our two kids Kyle and Jenna, (they have benefitted and bore the brunt of being restaurant kids!), we wish you all the best!

We will be taking the summer, with our granddaughter, to do some camping at our favourite west coast camping spot – Mussel Beach, fixing up our house that has been neglected over the past 20 years and do some kayaking. (We just purchased a double kayak so that we can take Jazzy with us on our adventures). We have no immediate plans, no grand scheme to open something else, food or otherwise. We’re looking forward to spending some time together, getting to know each other (and ourselves) without “Good morning this is Mark (or Danielle) at Union Street”.

So many of you have touched our hearts and we hope we have touched yours. Thank you for all you have done and given. Time for a new adventure…… stay tuned. Thanks for reading. Mark and Danielle