Is Fowler's closing?
So my wife ran into the chef, or one of the chefs, from Fowlers at a bar the other night and was told that it is shutting down. Anyone know if that is true?
Well, this article in the Herald-Sun claims they're really just renovating:
But I find it hard to believe that a gourmet food store would choose to do its renovations over Thanksgiving--wouldn't the owners lose a huge amount of holiday business that way?
Also, everything I've heard suggests that the employees had no idea the store was "renovating" until they showed up to a locked building, and that some of them were at Pop's asking for new jobs last week. Sounds very fishy to me.
Maybe someone will take that great space and do something with it. I was happy when it reopened, but it has been downhill since. EVERYTHING was overpriced and it seemed like the ownership was proud of it. I feel bad for the workers and I will miss the smoked chicken, but all in all not that big of deal for me.
They seem to do quite well for lunch and as a coffee shop. I think they could survive if they streamlined their businesses and stuck with what they did well. Right now it's a restaurant, bakery, cheese, coffee/tea, meat/seafood/smokehouse, wine and gourmet shop all in one. That is too diverse. They need to keep the coffee and restaurant business and get rid of the other stuff. Southern Season they are not.
I agree they are not a Southern Seasons. However, Zingerman's Bakery in Ann Arbor Michigan successfully brings all of these offering to their guests and thrives. In fact, they also do well with mail order. They actually have a training program for their employees and that is often rolled out to other business called, ZU, ZIngerman's University. Somehow, they get away with $10 plus sandwiches. So, I know it is possible. It would take a minimal philosophical transition for Fowlers to get there, but would be a great step and great use of the space.
They sent out an email to their list announcing that they were "closing for renovations" and would re-open Dec 1. However, my immediate thoughts were - a) who in their right mind closes at this time of year???, b) they've seemed even more flakey than usual lately, and I know LOTS of people not willing to put up with that which I found charmingly quirky, and I really wonder if they'll be able to stay afloat even if they do re-open. They'd reached heights that even I was considering bailing on them before this last brilliant move. (Both of the wine employees left, and Carolina Wine Co. pulled out of managing the wine dept. Plus, I'm in a group that had an event planned there, and Fowler's pulled out at like 1:00 the day of the event!)
So, regardless of the owners' intentions, I'll be surprised if they successfully re-open as planned.