CL received a brilliant and absurd gift basket today from St. Pete's Wild Shrimp Company (including 4 cans of Colt .45, a cigarette-smoking monkey figure, Trojan Magnums and more - see after the break for a list of the goodies), but with the swag came some terrible news: Wild Shrimp Company is closing up this Saturday. Just after making CL's list of Tampa Bay's Top 50 Restaurants.
According to manager and minor partner James Walton, the decision was made just two days ago. Wild Shrimp is largely owned by a local, family-owned equipment company, "and if things were going well over there we'd have no trouble," according to Walton.
"Its really bad, after Easter sales dropped in half for us and every other business I've talked to," he told me. The restaurant's losses are not excessive, and Wild Shrimp would have been able to survive the downturn if the original business plan was followed, but hasn't had the $100k operating capital it was supposed to.
Walton spun a classic restaurant failure tale:
because of reduced cashflow, Walton started taking short cuts a few months ago, like two-liter sodas instead of fountain and supplies bought from stores instead of suppliers. Necessary when money's just trickling in, but deadly to profit.
I asked Walton if he wants a white knight investor to come in and bail out the restaurant, but he didn't sound enthusiastic.
A person could probably flat out purchase this business for around $40k, or someone could rent the building and the equipment. It would probably take about $10-15k to keep it running for the next year, depending on the economy.
Walton mentioned that his sister offered to invest or purchase it, but he told her not to. "I've got a skewed view of things right now," he said.
From my point of view, I'm seeing the worst stuff I've seen in my life, as far as the economy goes, especially in Pinellas. Personally, I'm beat. It's 20 months of my life, Im upset about it, but chances are something good will come out of it.
Here's the sad and brilliant gift basket details:
4 cans Colt 45
1 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 box Trojan Magnum latex condums
1 toy pistol with audible "gun firing" sound effect
1 Darth Vader mask
1 monkey smoking cigarettes figurine
1 can Pringles grab and go pizza flavored chips
1 can of Spam
1 package Uncle Al's cokies fig bars
1 box Mike & Ikes original fruits candy
1 pouch Sathers Gummi Dinos (clearly marked 2/$1.00, which means they kept and possible ate the other package)
1 Happy Birthday Bitch Goddess party hat (no, really)
1 packet Kool-aid Invisible
1 Toilet Bowl Mop
1 Mugshots news paper
The card read:
Dear Creative Loafers,
Thanks for everything!
Please accept this gift basket as a token of our esteem.
Wild Shrimp Co.
PS. We love you guys. Please schedule an orgy with our two staffs.