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German restaurant closed down
According to co-owner Tom Heintz, First Federal loan officers and a Sequim Police officer closed the business on Tuesday, Oct. 27, asking employees and customers to leave.
Neither he nor his brother and co-owner Daniel Heintz were there at the time.
After the 6-month-old restaurant was foreclosed, the owners filed for bankruptcy using Daniel’s Heintz Berry Farm as collateral for the restaurant.
Tom Heintz said their bank accounts have been frozen and all equipment now is classified with the business. He tried to sell some equipment to pay staff paychecks before the closure but was stopped before doing so.
The business was listed for sale Oct. 30 for $500,000 on craigslist but no longer is listed.
The Sauer Kraut was a German deli, bakery, catering and cooking school.
It was planned to open in December 2008 but setbacks delayed that to April 24, 2009.
The Heintzes began paying rent, more than $8,000 a month, in January, several months before it opened.
“That was what was getting us — it killed our cash flow,” Tom Heintz said.
He attributes the closure to a poor economic climate, among other factors.
Heintz said he tried negotiating a lower lease payment with Rock Plaza owner Joe McLaughlin but the proposed lower amount by McLaughlin wasn’t enough for the Sauer Kraut to survive as a business.
“The sad thing is that we were so close to breaking even,” Heintz said.
The two brothers and Tom’s wife, Laurel, were equal partners in the business.
Heintz said the only way the Sauer Kraut would carry on is if someone were to buy the business, but he doesn’t see that happening.
Gina Lowman, director of sales and marketing for First Federal, said there is nothing she could share about the business because of how banks are regulated.
First Federal cannot confirm or deny an account with a consumer.
“We need to protect consumers’ privacy, which we take very seriously,” she said.
Heintz cautions future new business owners to be careful when negotiating lease agreements and to be aware of what the bank can do if something goes wrong with the business.
Heintz says he is grateful to those who came to the restaurant.
“We really enjoyed having the place and doing things with the customers.”
However, the Heintzes are not sure if they will stay in the area.
“We are kind of up in the air right now,” he said.
“We just want to get through this next part.”
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.