Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Competition forces restaurant to close

Casa de Pelones owner cites drawing power of The Legends in decision

March 14, 2007

Another small business in Basehor has lost the fight.

After fewer than five months in business, Casa de Pelones, a Veracruz-style Mexican restaurant, closed its doors for good Saturday.

Owner Ray Suttles, who opened the restaurant in late October 2006, said the downfall began during the winter months.

"January was a very tough month with restaurants as a whole," Suttles said. "That period of cold weather was very brutal, and people were just not coming out."

Another factor that contributed to the closing, Suttles said, was competition. He suspected locals were taking their business to one-stop destinations, such as The Legends in Kansas City, Kan.

"The Legends just has such a drawing power," Suttles said. "They've marketed themselves very well. It's very tough for small businesses to compete with that."

The restaurant's location, 15306 Briar Rd., has been home to three other restaurants that have folded since 2003.

While feedback from customers was 99 percent positive and word of mouth business was phenomenal, Suttles said, the location gave them little residual business. Fridays were the only consistently busy days, while the weekdays and Saturdays remained slow, he said.

"Up until last week I was telling people that we were here for the long haul and I thought we were," he said. "It was just a hole that kept getting deeper."

The Casa de Pelones staff met Friday evening to try to discuss options other than closing, Suttles said, but even after the best Saturday of the year, he said he knew he had to make the decision to close.

"I have to walk away from it knowing that I gave it all I had and more," Suttles said. "My team did that too, and, unfortunately, it just wasn't enough."

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