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Surly Girl Closing This Month

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Dining Surly Girl Closing This Month

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 160 total)
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  • #1075635
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    We are lucky in this town. We have great business people that celebrate and share their success but also do the best they can when times are tough. We have local companies that need our support, grace, and trust during the tough times. It is that simple. If you don’t like something, that is fair. However trying to connect a bunch of dots to make a sad closing a conspiracy or fit a certain pattern is not very nice. Shit happens! I miss a ton of places as much as I will miss Surly Girl. I’m just happy I had some great times there and look forward to great times at all of the amazing businesses growing up in our town.

    Well said.

    #1075639

    Mike88
    Participant

    This speculation is really odd. Liz and Harold are friends of mine and I love and respect them. I am grateful that I got to know Carmen and Tim as well as the rest of the CFL team. I’m a fan of these people and their families. They have worked hard to create cool places that they love. They have opened really fun restaurants in areas that needed them. I don’t think that anyone from CFL would take credit for any positive impact that the restaurants have had because they know that their risk, along with so many others, only works if the surrounding community responds well. In most cases the community did and we have all seen the growth of certain pockets around our city due to the efforts of people like Liz and her partners. There are dozens of entrepreneurs doing the same thing: from Old Town East, Italian Village, Franklinton, Discovery District, Weinland Park, Parsons Avenue, North Market, to food trucks, and pop ups.

    We are lucky in this town. We have great business people that celebrate and share their success but also do the best they can when times are tough. We have local companies that need our support, grace, and trust during the tough times. It is that simple. If you don’t like something, that is fair. However trying to connect a bunch of dots to make a sad closing a conspiracy or fit a certain pattern is not very nice. Shit happens! I miss a ton of places as much as I will miss Surly Girl. I’m just happy I had some great times there and look forward to great times at all of the amazing businesses growing up in our town.

    I agree with what you are saying, so don’t take this to be an attack by any stretch, but maybe instead of a conspiracy people are just wondering why 3 businesses with common ownership closed so quickly and are wondering if it has to do with mismanagement.

    That’s all that I have wondered about this. The personalities aside that would be a startling development no matter who was running these places. I hate to see them close, just wondering why they all shuttered their doors within such a short time.

    #1075647

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    My brand of political advocacy isn’t for everyone, I understand the schadenfreude. I have found my advocacy to be effective for my own purposes. I have since learned there’s more than one way to get to Abilene, but it took 15 years of publicly learned lessons to get there. And at the end of the day, I feel proud of the small, but important (to me), goals that I’ve been able to accomplish via my own advocacy here in Central Ohio.

    That aside, CFL is made up of some great people who aren’t deserving of any vitriol. We have a big staff of really talented and good people doing really good things. So throw rocks at me all you like but please keep my partners/associates out of this.

    I am not following the conspirators and whatever they’re suggesting but they’re welcomed to talk to me about it. Most folks know me as being accessible and responsive.

    All that aside, I wanted to clarify so we don’t spend 10 more pages speculating:

    1) CFL restaurants each have their own ownership structure and LLC. What happens at Surly Girl has no bearing on Tip Top. Ever. Period.
    2) Betty’s closed in 2014 because that business model was no longer profitable in the quickly gentrified Short North.
    3) Betty’s was unable to reopen on Gay Street because we weren’t able to meet the timelines set by the landlord. The landlord was eager to get a tenant up and going and found someone able to open sooner than I was able to commit to. Locations fall through for lots of very boring and innocuous reasons all the time, they don’t fall through to slight customers/haters, never seen that happen in my lifetime actually. I have since scouted other locations for Betty’s, even came close to leasing one on campus, but I haven’t found what I’m looking for as I’d like to reopen that concept to 24/7.
    4) Jury Room never met the goals I had for it. I decided to sell the business when the lease was up and a buyer came forward when he heard from a friend of a friend that I might be leaving. The timing was determined so that my staff could immediately start new jobs at Chintz Room without missing a single day of work. We closed Jury Room on Sunday, staff started jobs the very next day at Chintz Room. All of the Jury Room staff with the exception of one person started at Chintz Room the very next week.
    5) Carmen is focusing on Grass Skirt. She loves the tiki bar concept/theme and feels she’s never been able to devote the time/energy to it due to Surly Girl eating up so much of her time. The three Surly partners felt that we accomplished what we wanted to at Surly Girl and it was time to move on from there. No mystery there, the Surly Girls grew up and wanted other things a decade later.
    6) Jim Sweeney called me last month and said he is receiving a lot of pressure from the powers that be and he would like to go ahead with another operator for Franklinton. While I was disappointed because I’ve worked on that space for nearly a decade now, I know the neighborhood comes first and my main objective all along was to promote the neighborhood. If you know me, you know that’s what I care about.
    7) I am spending time on a couple of food production and food service projects related to social justice outside Ohio. Most folks know what I’m up to. My projects won’t do much to fuel any juicy gossip so I’ll leave them out of this list.

    There’s really no reason to comment on any financial items, they don’t carry any relevance to my restaurant group or the Columbus public. It’s my own personal and private business. I am not ashamed to talk about having tough financial times, especially if there are lessons to share with my peers, but if the goal is to dissect it for reasons of pure schadenfreude, there’s no reason I should engage. If you’ve ever taken a big risk in life, you’ll know it comes with it’s own set of lessons and challenges.

    I love the Lazarus family and one of their old slogans from their 1960’s ads, shared with me by historian Doug Motz is: “What’s good for Columbus is good for business.” This sentiment fuels many of my own business decisions and if you know me, you know that too.

    #1075655
    truthbetold
    truthbetold
    Participant

    So throw rocks at me all you like but please keep my partners/associates out of this.

    No one is attacking your partners Liz. If anything it seems from this thread that some of them are unhappy with you.

    #1075658

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Hi Truthbetold, since you took the time to create an account on CU just to post CFL rumors to this thread, and since you’re posting anonymously as a self-identified former CFL employee, I’m kind of in a weird position in responding to you from a former employer standpoint.

    Chances are, if you did work for us, then we know each other but since you’re posting anonymously (and that’s your right) AND claiming to have insider knowledge, I am having trouble addressing you specifically.

    However, if you have worked for me, you also know my personal email address and personal cell phone are available to every employee so hopefully you can write me (anonymously if you like) with whatever specific vague rumory concerns you have and I can help sort them out for you. As an employer, past or present, I may not be in a position to speak openly/publicly about whatever you are mysteriously alluding to but I’m happy to clear it up if I can and if it puts your mind at ease. Thanks for your understanding.

    PS: whatever the big mystery is, it sounds scary, so I would like to know. :)

    #1075659

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Molly: I don’t know who you are or when we worked together but thanks for your comments. I am listening and I appreciate your candor. I am also a work in progress. xo

    #1075660

    ohbr
    Participant

    Liz: Awhile ago you tweeted that Surly Girl was growing up and something about presenting to the convention authorities. Any updates or insight on that?

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    #1075662

    CbusBiz
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Elizabeth Lessner wrote:</div>
    So throw rocks at me all you like but please keep my partners/associates out of this.

    No one is attacking your partners Liz. If anything it seems from this thread that some of them are unhappy with you.

    Liz’s essay comes off as though none of the closures are the effect of poor leadership but rather outside forces like gentrification and evil landlords.  Sad.

    And has anyone confirmed the actual state of Grass Skirt? Liz claims all is well but others here are saying its for sale via Randy Sokol the business broker.

    #1075663
    truthbetold
    truthbetold
    Participant

    Hi Truthbetold, since you took the time to create an account on CU just to post CFL rumors to this thread, and since you’re posting anonymously as a self-identified former CFL employee, I’m kind of in a weird position in responding to you from a former employer standpoint.

    Chances are, if you did work for us, then we know each other but since you’re posting anonymously (and that’s your right) AND claiming to have insider knowledge, I am having trouble addressing you specifically.

    However, if you have worked for me, you also know my personal email address and personal cell phone are available to every employee so hopefully you can write me (anonymously if you like) with whatever specific vague rumory concerns you have and I can help sort them out for you. As an employer, past or present, I may not be in a position to speak openly/publicly about whatever you are mysteriously alluding to but I’m happy to clear it up if I can and if it puts your mind at ease. Thanks for your understanding.

    PS: whatever the big mystery is, it sounds scary, so I would like to know. :)

    There is really no need for me to be contacting you Liz. Unless it helps you feel better about things. Like everyone, I have a right to my own opinions. I’m sure someone as outspoken and opinionated as you can easily understand that. Best of luck in your future endeavors. #schadenfreude

    #1075667
    Coremodels
    Coremodels
    Participant

    Liz’s essay comes off as though none of the closures are the effect of poor leadership but rather outside forces like gentrification and evil landlords. Sad.

    And has anyone confirmed the actual state of Grass Skirt? Liz claims all is well but others here are saying its for sale via Randy Sokol the business broker.

    Actually, it comes off as more information than anyone other than investor would be entitled to…and since you’re not that, I’m dying to know why you are entitled to more?

    #1075697

    ohbr
    Participant

    Every CFL/Liz Lessner Story ever:

    “Oh no. I loved that place!” -or- “Awesome, I can’t wait!”
    “Meh, if you like mediocre food”
    “Something’s up. I wonder if there is bad business at play”
    “I hope this isn’t a sign of what’s to come”
    [insert financial/lawsuit information]
    “I’d say things are bad”
    [insert comments from employees]
    “How dare you, she’s a nice lady!”
    “She’s not a nice lady. Time for her to move on”
    “She is moving on. Look at her other business ventures not in Columbus”
    [insert comments about strong willed and opinionated business woman]
    “I wanna know what’s up”
    “What makes you think you deserve to know private business affairs?”
    [insert liz posts] “please contact me directly”
    “Why bother?”
    And repeat.

    It’s so predictable at this point it’s almost funny.

    #1075698

    Mike88
    Participant

    Edited for space, it was the first big long post

    Thanks for the post helping to clear things up about the other closures.

    Is it safe to assume the Surly Girl closure is due to the model losing profitability much like Bettys?
    My understanding was Surly Girl LLC owned the building as well as the restaurant. (of course that could be wrong)

    #1075699
    Snarf
    Snarf
    Participant

    “My brand of political advocacy isn’t for everyone.”

    Lmao, whew.

    #1075704

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Mike: Nope. We were proud to go out the same week Alive readers named us Best Short North Bar and we feel terrific about what we accomplished there.

    It’s naive to believe every restaurant must live forever, or open new locations, or open in new markets, etc. When we opened Surly, we saw a cool opportunity to build a bar during an exciting time in the Short North. We gave our blood, sweat, cash, and tears to the business and loved it every single day. At a certain point you realize your concept isn’t relevant anymore in its present context and isn’t accomplishing the original goals you had for it. At that point you make decisions about the business and the best decision to us was to move on and focus on other areas of interest and need.

    The reason I included the Lazarus quote is because we tend to focus on projects where we believe we can make the most meaningful impact and positive impression in our community. It’s why we open in places like the Hilltop or tough corners of downtown. We are committed to Columbus in a different way than other operators, and it’s not necessarily the bottom line that drives us.

    #1075705

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Liz: Awhile ago you tweeted that Surly Girl was growing up and something about presenting to the convention authorities. Any updates or insight on that?

    I did consulting work on RFP’s for 3 different major foodservice companies bidding on the venue. As the co-owner of the Surly Girl, I often refer to myself as The Surly Girl or a Surly Girl. Sorry to rain on whatever fictional narrative you’ve dreamt up from my 140 characters.

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 160 total)

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