Owner Will Close Chilly Willy’s Not Relocate When Library Moves In

Jody Wilson at Chilly Willy's in 2014.

A report is expected next month on a decision to move the east end library to the John Rhodes Centre from the Churchill Plaza and booting out Chilly Willy’s, a sports bar located at the sports and recreational complex.

Jody Wilson, who has operated the family restaurant at the John Rhodes Centre was beside himself when he was informed earlier this year that the City was not going to renew his contract at the east end recreational facility.

Wilson has operated Chilly Willy's for three years. The second food and beverage establishment since the space was built in 2000
Wilson has operated Chilly Willy’s for three years. The second food and beverage establishment since the space was built in 2000

“It makes no sense me” Wilson told SaultOnline.com Friday, “I have no problem relocating the library, but not here”

Wilson isn’t the only one. A social media campaign has started to keep the sports themed eating and drinking establishment at the John Rhodes Centre. “Support has been incredible”

That support however may be falling on deaf ears according to Wilson,”As far as I know the City is going ahead with its plan”

City staff will present its plan at the September 8th council meeting.

In a Sault Star report Sault Ste. Marie CAO Joe Fratesi is quoted as saying, “The city pays significant rent at Churchill (Plaza) and an option to relocate the library to the John Rhodes complex has been discussed”

The City pays approximately $90,000 a year at the current library location at the Churchill Plaza, it’s been at that same location for about 40 years.

Wilson believes the decision has already been made. “My jaw dropped when Nick Apostle called me in to tell me that they wouldn’t be renewing the contract”

Meanwhile, Wilson says he may not have any option but to move out of town if he is forced to close down.

“I don’t think the city needs another stand -alone restaurant , here I have a captive audience”

Wilson claims the weekend is the busiest times for Chilly Willy’s with birthday parties after a game or practice. Wilson claims the food and beverage outlet generates about $50,000 to $60,000 in revenue for the City including about $20,000 in taxes.

Wilson’s contract that expires this fall includes a rent of $400 plus 5 percent of sales to the City. Wilson doesn’t plan on relocating and operating the business elsewhere.