Nearly 20 years ago, Dianne and Allen Drake bought Sunshine Café from Jay and Nita Montanye after seeing a sign in the window.
The business may change hands soon in a similar fashion, after the couple announced they’ve put the downtown Sequim staple up for sale.
“I thought it was an opportunity to do it on my own,” Dianne Drake, 56, said, of seeing the sale sign nearly two decades ago.
The Drakes posted their “For Sale” sign earlier this month as they seek a change. After 19 years, the Drakes say they want to travel, try new things and focus on their health.
“It’s time to do something different,” Dianne said. “I hope some new blood comes in and puts some new passion in it.”
The restaurant had been in Sequim for several decades before the Drakes took ownership; in 2000, they brought back the café’s older menu while adding a few things to round out its options such as chicken fried steak.
Dianne said they’re asking $100,000 for Sunshine Café at 135 W. Washington St., and ask those interested should call the Drakes at 360-457-5355.
They’ll wait 30 days before going to a realtor, with hopes of selling by September, Dianne said.
Family and friends
With more than two decades in business, the Drakes said they have met thousands of people and made countless friends. Generations of families continue to stop in and make the café part of their routine, they said.
“I have adults who come with their kids and say their grandparents brought them here when they were five,” Dianne said. “I don’t think that’s ever going to go away. It’s classic. It’s what we’re all about.”
Parents teach their children to eat in a restaurant setting at the restaurant too, she said.
“It’s not just about eating. There’s an experience that happens,” Dianne said.
One hiccup for the Drakes came in 2015 when the cafe’s grill hood and fire suppression system had to be replaced, which saw the restaurant close for three months during their peak summer months.
Dianne said a generous customer gave them some money and another loaned them money that they’ve paid back to pay personal expenses during the closure.
Brown M. Maloney, who owns Sunshine Café’s building, paid for the repairs and didn’t charge rent during the closure, she said.
“Thank you to the community for stepping up and helping us with that,” she said. “We wouldn’t have been able to hang on without the support.”
After the closure, the cafe owners also installed new bathrooms and tile throughout the business.
Dianne had been in the restaurant business her whole life prior to owning Sunshine Cafe. Allen, 57, worked in retail and owned his own cleaning/landscaping business.
Now, Dianne said she seeks to do things in a more relaxed manner.
“This is an intense business — any part of it is adrenaline pumping,” she said.
In July 2017, she suffered a heart attack that she called “life changing.” Last month, she had a second surgery to remove one-and-one-half feet of ruptured colon.
“I want to concentrate on my health,” she said. “I was lucky that I don’t have to have any additional surgeries.”
The couple anticipates they will continue to work after selling the business though.
Dianne said she might go back to school to focus more on healing pathways and energy healing, or Reiki.
She’s not ruling out joining a nursing assistant program either.
“I do want to help people at a deeper capacity,” she said. “(The café) has served me to serve others.”
She said she encourages future owners to balance their work life and self care.
Sequim Sunshine Café, 145 W. Washington St., opens 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Sundays and can be reached at 360-683-4282 and online at www.facebook.com/seqsunshinecafe.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.