By Mary O’KEEFE
Crescenta Valley residents are seeing the closure of another business – this time along Foothill Boulevard owned by a local family who was very generous to local teams and organizations.
Straw Hat Pizza at 3463 Foothill Blvd. closed its doors on Monday after opening a little over a year ago.
“We couldn’t maintain the rent,” said Chris McReynolds, owner of the business.
The McReynoldses have been members of Crescenta Valley for years. McReynolds’ family has been in Montrose for 90 years. They knew the community and offered several fundraising opportunities to local organizations and teams.
The family created a place for the community to go to eat and watch sporting events like the World Cup soccer games. They had plenty of large, flat screen televisions on every wall and offered open seating. There were end-of-season parties for local teams and birthday parties but in the end it wasn’t enough.
“I am tired of trying to work through this,” McReynolds said. “It is such a drain.”
The family sacrificed financially, selling their home in an effort to keep the restaurant afloat, but the struggle continued.
“Enough is enough,” he said.
That didn’t mean he didn’t try to negotiate with the landlord for more time. With the approach of the holidays there was hope of more business; however, negotiations broke down suddenly.
“We found out [from the landlord] on Friday that there would be no [further] negotiations,” he said.
The notice came as a surprise because they had been talking about working something out, but they were told to vacate and to do it as quickly as possible. That is why the sign in front of the business went from “Join us over Thanksgiving break” to “Closed” so quickly, shocking many in the community who took to social media to find out what was going on.
“We are so grateful for the number of folks that became regulars. They had good things to say about us and the [fact that we] took on this project and brought something like this back to the community,” McReynolds said. “We are grateful for their friendship and in a [way] we feel like we are letting them down.”
McReynolds added that looking back he feels they did all they could to keep the restaurant afloat.
“We can’t do any more than we have done,” he said.
The Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce had just named Straw Hat business of the year. During the acceptance speech at the annual banquet, McReynolds spoke of how difficult the restaurant business was.
For now, McReynolds is just trying to close down the business and salvage what he can. He does not hold any ill feelings toward the landlord and has taken a philosophical approach to the end of his business.
“We are thankful for the support we have received from [the community],” he said. “Now we are [dealing with this] one day at a time. I don’t know what is next for us.”