March 1, 2007
"I thought she was crazy. I thought people would think this was a scam." That is what Sweet Peas Waitress, Vicki Dugan, first thought when her boss told her, her plan, to give her restaurant away to the best essayist instead of to the highest bidder.
Starting March 1st, for $199 and an essay, a budding restaurateur could inherit Sweet Peas restaurant in Lake Monticello with all its equipment, recipes, staff and hard work.
"We don't want someone on a hoot who says, ‘I want my own restaurant’. This is a lot of work and they should know that," said Owner Joanna Yoakam.
For the past two years Joanna has slaved away to make Sweet Peas a successful restaurant. But now, she is leaving behind her baby to be with her other baby who is going off to college.
She says she wants to leave her restaurant in good hands for herself and for her staff.
The contest gives her a way to do that, as well as, a way to pay off the restaurant's remaining debt.
"We are still in significant debt," Joanna explained. "We certainly want to pay that off as a part of this contest. So when people enter, they pay an entry fee of $199, and we use that money to pay off our business debt."
The winner then gets a business that is free and clear. And, if Joanna gets enough entries she could not only pay off her debt, she could make a profit.
The contest also gets rid of the anguish of waiting for the business to sell on the real estate market. This way, Joanna can move away when she wants to.
However, moving away does not mean moving on. "We want to stop back by in and see what they've done with it and make sure that our dream is still here, but they've made it there own," she predicted.
The contest lasts until May 31st.