Keeping that local feel

MARSHALL – Embarking on a new business venture is always a challenge. In the case of Ross Taveirne’s first few weeks as the new owner of Mike’s Cafe in Marshall, chance threw in a little more challenge than he expected. However, he said it’s good to be able to keep a longtime Marshall business going.

“With everyone I’ve talked to, the main thing is that it stayed in local hands,” Taveirne said. “It’s been nice, the conversations I’ve been having with everyone.”

Taveirne is a Marshall resident and has been the owner of Toni’s Depot in Marshall since 2010. While he’s still working there, these days he’s spending more of his time at Mike’s, getting a feel for running the business.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” Taveirne said. Former Mike’s owner Jim Schrupp had called him in May and said the business was for sale. “He said he wanted to keep it local.”

After giving it some consideration, Taveirne said he thought he could make it happen.

While Taveirne isn’t a stranger to restaurant management, and Mike’s Cafe and Toni’s Depot serve some similar menu items, Taveirne said they have different styles of operation.

“It keeps me on my toes,” Taveirne said. “I knew it was going to be different, but I can learn.”

There’s plenty to learn, but he said it’s been a big help that the staff at Mike’s have been with the business a long time and already know their jobs well.

That’s not to say the transition was without obstacles, however. Taveirne’s first official day as owner of Mike’s was Oct. 28, but only a week and a half later, he was forced to close down because of a sewer line break.

“We were originally just supposed to be closed Monday,” he said, but that one day turned into a week.

“It could’ve been a lot worse,” Taveirne said. It was fortunate that the broken pipe was able to be excavated and fixed quickly, and that the repairs didn’t require tearing up or remodeling the cafe’s bathrooms. Still, he said it was frustrating to have to turn customers away. It also took a lot of work by staff to get the cafe cleaned up and back in shape to re-open.

Taveirne said it was a relief to start serving Sunday breakfast again on Nov. 17. He hoped business would rebound after the shutdown.

“Maybe it’s sort of an initiation thing for me,” he joked about the situation.

Taveirne said he’s going to be splitting his work days between Mike’s Cafe and Toni’s Depot. With the work of getting started at Mike’s, he said he’s been spending most of his time there.

“Once I get familiar with everything, I plan on being at Mike’s in the morning and then going back to work for lunch at Toni’s,” he said.

Taveirne said he doesn’t plan on changing much at Mike’s.

“Right now, I just want to keep as much as I can the same,” he said. “It’s an ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ mentality.”

He felt it was also important to keep the local flavor of the business. Mike’s has been a part of Marshall for many years, he said, and people appreciate that.

Marshall may be growing, he said, but “this is still a pretty local town.”