The question is: Is it coming?
The answer is: Yes!
Salmon Arm businessman Gord Erickson says the question he is asked every day, usually often, is “Is Mr. Mikes coming?” and “When?”
The Mr. Mikes signs have been up on the building Erickson owns at Village West Plaza for a long time, with area residents beginning to think the restaurant would never open.
“The rumour is dispelled,” laughs Erickson. “After six months, the original franchisee backed out and it was back to the drawing board.
But on Nov. 30, Erickson was happy to report a new deal has been signed with Vancouver-based Stonewater Group, which operates 11 other Mr. Mikes in British Columbia and Alberta.
In 1995, Bill & Kelly Ranford teamed up with Darren and Lindsey Flintoff to acquire the parent company of the Mr Mikes chain. They re-positioned the historic brand into a full-service, casual dining concept and renamed the parent company Stonewater Group. They refurbished the franchises with open kitchens, implemented a quality menu, and gave the restaurant a unique ‘west coast’ personality and comfortable atmosphere complemented by a friendly, inviting bar they called “urbanLODGE.”
Gone are the salad bars, here to stay, at least for now, are warm, inviting interiors, with “real people serving real service,” says Darren.
“We describe ourselves as contemporary casual; we’re in small towns north of Salmon Arm where we’re well-received. It’s kind of this cool concept for small towns and people quite like what we’re putting out.”
It may be unpretentious and “comfortable causal,” but there are lots of reasons to hold celebrations there, agrees Darren.
While they have their own construction team, Darren says Stonewater also hires local tradespeople in the communities in which they build.
And he says being part of the community is very important.
“Whether it is a charity fundraising event for local programs or just helping out someone in need, the Stonewater team always aims to make a positive difference in the community,” he says. “In all the markets we operate in, we get great reviews for giving back, for doing our part.”
Because Stonewater has already built several Mr. Mikes using the current look with an emphasis on brick and wood, plans for the Salmon Arm franchise have yet to be drawn. And, while Stonewater is hoping to be opening the local Mr. Mikes in May, Darren acknowledges development doesn’t always go as planned.