If Jody Wilson, owner of Chilly Willy’s Bar and Grill thought council would have his back Monday night, he thought wrong.
The local entrepreneur who operates a restaurant at the John Rhodes Centre will have to shut his doors May 1st, the end of the extension on a lease he had with the city. The original lease expired in September of 2014 but he was granted the time to the end of the current hockey season.
As part of an Request For Proposal (RFP) for the city, Wilson along with another local operator bid for the contract so did an established Sudbury firm – Two Pizzas and Wings who won the contract. The winning bid projected $58,000 in revenue to the city plus municipal taxes compared to second place and current operator (Wilson) bid, based on actual accounts of roughly $35,000 plus municipal taxes.
“I believe in the RFP process” said Susan Myers, “but a new operator can promise anything at this point and time, it concerns me that a new operator can come into this community and may in fact get no where near the same level of sales, for the fact they don’t have the relationship that Mr. Wilson has had with his clientele” Myers, councillor for ward two and ward mate Terry Sheehan voted against the staff recommendation. “I can’t in good conscience put a local business man out of business to a person like Mr. Wilson who has worked as hard as he has”
Ward 3 Matt Shoemaker disagreed saying “I think we have an obligation to the tax payers of Sault Ste. Marie that we’re getting the best deal for the municipality”
Ward 3’s Judy Hupponen asked why the Sudbury outlet would project higher revenues than Chilly Willy’s
Nick Apostle, Commissioner, Community Services recommended Two Pizzas and Wings to council, said the new operator is well established in other municipalities and has the experience, mostly however the decision was financial.
The rest of attending council including Mayor Provenzano voted in favour. Two Pizzas and Wings will also pay up to $100,000 in renovations to the space, split with the city.