Business & economy

Longtime Vale restaurant on the sale block

The Starlite Café in Vale is up for sale and owner Sharon Bannon said the deal could be finished by early July. (The Enterprise/Angelina Katsanis).

VALE – The longtime owner of the Starlite Café said last week she is in the final stage of the sale of the local restaurant.

Sharon Bannon said the sale to Falconview LLC, a Meridian investment firm, will most likely be complete by early July.

Bannon owned the café at 152 Clark St. N. for 15 years but said she decided it was time to devote more time to her family.

“I am not a young chickadee anymore,” said Bannon.

Bannon said she sold the restaurant for “around $300,000.”

“I will miss being around the employees. But I think I am ready to retire,” said Bannon.

Bannon retired once already and leased the café to the Diamond Back Grill in 2019. Just six weeks after the Diamond Back Grill took over, a broken drain pipe closed the business.

“They had to take everything out to replace the floors and the cabinetry and sheetrock got damaged,” said Bannon.

Bannon reopened the café after repairs were complete in February 2020 and continued to operate the business.

Bannon said the sale is still somewhat tentative.

“I don’t know how quick the turnover will be. It might be very quick. But they still have to do a walk through,” said Bannon.

Bannon said she employs nine people at the café.

“I think they plan on leasing it out,” said Bannon.

Bannon said the investment firm did ask for resumes from current employees.

“If you’re opening a new place, you’d want the employees and it would be very wise to keep your experienced employees,” said Bannon.

Bannon and her husband, Michael, moved to Vale in 1991. Bannon said she commuted to her job with the U.S. Postal Service in Boise for 13 years and never intended to become the owner of a restaurant after she retired.

“I made the mistake of telling my husband that I didn’t want to be bored when I was retired,” said Bannon with a laugh.

About 15 years ago, Bannon said Michael and a business partner decided to buy the Starlite.

“They talked his wife and me into the venture,” said Bannon.

About a year after they bought the café, Michael Bannon became ill.

“After that I retired and I assumed the duties of bookkeeper and kind of fixed things as they broke. I didn’t know anything about restaurants before that,” said Bannon.

Bannon said the best part of owning the Starlite was her interactions with the community.

“You get to know people in town and that part I really enjoyed,” said Bannon.

Employee challenges, she said, proved to be the hardest part.

“People calling in and not showing up for work, that kind of thing. Having to do last minute schedule changes. They stretch you,” said Bannon.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].


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