When Casey and Michele Wanek noticed a “For Sale” sign on a favorite restaurant near their vacation cabin, the couple quit their jobs and moved to a new community to pursue a dream of small business ownership. In July 2013, after working with an SBDC consultant to complete a business plan, the Waneks got a loan and purchased Paris in Pembine, a restaurant and bar in Pembine, Wisconsin.
The couple’s business ownership adventure began in September 2012 when they saw the restaurant was for sale. “Thoughts of no more corporate world and our empty nest returned us to Paris in Pembine the next day for a tour,” says Casey.
Liking what they saw, Casey started a business plan. With no business ownership experience, and no prior knowledge of the restaurant industry, the Waneks contacted the local SCORE office for help. SCORE referred the couple to the Wisconsin SBDC at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
“SBDC consultant Chuck Brys provided answers to our questions and connected us to many helpful resources. He was a huge asset for helping us finish our business plan.”
The Waneks took the completed plan to a lender and secured an SBA loan that provided capital to purchase the restaurant and make improvements.
Paris in Pembine currently employs 12 people. “Most of the wonderful staff, including our fabulous chef, stayed on board with us when we purchased the restaurant,” says Michele.
Approximately 100 miles north of Green Bay, Paris in Pembine, offers a sports bar atmosphere with a cozy French dining room. The restaurant served record numbers of diners during the first few months of operation under new ownership. The Waneks plan to add an outdoor dining space in time for the 2014 warm weather season.
“We invested quite a bit of money into the business last year knowing we would be in a non-profitable situation,” says Casey. “We expect to turn a profit in 2014.”