After nearly 28 years of business in the Red Hill Shopping Center, has received an eviction notice and is slated to close by the end of the month.
A note to customers has been posted on the door and on the company’s website in which the owners, Avi Bikszer and Robert Mitchell, give a detailed history of their business and the events leading up to the closure.
They said that help from the center’s owner Gene Arntz allowed the popular café to continue operating over the years, even when the eatery had fallen behind on rent.
According to the note, after Gene Arntz passed away in 2002, the café was able to maintain a payment schedule on the back rents, until construction for the remodel of Red Hill Shopping Center began.
“About a month into the remodeling with the noise, dirt, obstructed business entrance and lack of parking, our business was choked off,” the two-page letter continues.
The café’s owners said that in later discussions with the shopping center management, additional conditions of remodeling and updating the existing restaurant were placed upon them by one of the new owners, Tom Arntz of Arntz Builders.
The new conditions prompted the café’s owners to consider taking out a personal loan to weather the economy and remodel but discussions with the management broke down. “My understanding was that he wanted us out,” it said in the letter.
The cafe, a favorite with locals, has its roots in Larkspur.
The café owners acknowledge that they broke the terms of the lease and were eligible for eviction, but they question the timing that allowed them to rent for the 10 months during the center’s remodel and a harsh economy.
The letter from business partners Bikszer and Mitchell closes with concern for the employees and with thanks to the customers.
"Again, thank you so much for all the years of patronage and sharing with me the joy of raising your kids and seeing your kids raising their kids. My heart is broken for my wonderful, great employees who have stuck by me for so many years."
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.