Itâ€™s about time for retirement, said Don Sommer, who co-owned LE Sommer and Sons in Seville.
â€œDon Sommer has been in business a long time and it was a good opportunity for him to retire,â€ said Al Holdren, president of Town & Country Co-op, an Ashland-based agricultural cooperative. â€œWe thought (his store) was a really good fit into our company. â€¦ We have a lot in common and we do a lot of the same things.â€
LE Sommer and Sons started in 1907 with a store in Kidron, which Sommer sold in 2002. The Seville store has been in operation for 21 years.
The sale â€œseemed to be good for our family and for the customers and for the employees,â€ Sommer said. â€œWe think a lot of Town & Country and think they have a lot to offer the community.â€
Monday morning, Sommer, his son, Hugh, and Town & Country officials signed documents making Town & Country the official owner of the store.
The employees who worked for LE Sommer and Sons are now employed by Town & Country, Holdren said.
â€œThe customers will see the same faces that theyâ€™ve been seeing,â€ he said.
Holdren explained his organization will continue to offer many of the products and services LE Sommer did, including selling feed and fertilizer and receiving grain from farmers.
Sommer â€œseems to have a group of very loyal customers that were earned by his very dependable service over the years, and we plan to do everything we can to continue that service,â€ said Brian Cadnum, chairman of Town & Countryâ€™s board.
He explained service at the store will be taking a step ahead, using GPS technology to monitor the application of agricultural materials at farms.
The purchase of LE Sommer comes just more than two weeks after the closing of Town & Countryâ€™s store and fueling station on State Road in Medina. The location was sold to Free Enterprises Inc. of Medina
Itâ€™s â€œstrictly coincidence,â€ Holdren said, â€œalthough we certainly had an interest in maintaining an agricultural presence in Medina County.â€
Since closing the State Road store Nov. 16, the company has concentrated on building up services and products offered at its store on state Route 3 in Montville Township, TLC Feedstuffs. The products left over from the Medina store were transferred to TLC.
â€œWeâ€™re having a discussion at this point about expanding that facility and adding floor space,â€ Holdren said.
The TLC and Seville stores, however, are concentrating on the businessâ€™s agricultural offerings and not its fuel services. Town & Countryâ€™s unattended fueling site on Smith Road in Medina remains open.
Town & Country, however, still owns Medina Countyâ€™s only E85 fueling station, which was formerly at the State Road location. The pumps were removed and wonâ€™t be moved to any of their other fueling stations, Holdren said.
James Patneau Jr., president of Free Enterprises, explained the State Road fueling site has been temporarily shut down.
â€œWe will offer some kind of fuel at that location. I donâ€™t know what it would be,â€ Patneau said. â€œSo far, E85 has been a loser.â€
He explained the fuel does not sell as well as conventional fuel because of its high cost and inefficiency. E85, an ethanol-based alternative fuel, Patneau said, is 30 percent less efficient than conventional gasoline.
Cadnum said if Free Enterprises decides to offer E85, Town & Country would support it by selling the firm ethanol.
Itâ€™s going to be a matter of beating the clock for Pat Catanâ€™s, as the storeâ€™s lease on its Medina location is running out and will not be renewed.
Craig Catan, of the arts and crafts chain, said he hopes to have a new store in the area before the lease is up. But right now, he said, it does not look like that will happen.
Catan said the landlord of Pat Catanâ€™s Medina store at 945 N. Court St. did not renew the storeâ€™s lease because he â€œis doing something different with the space weâ€™re currently in.â€
He said the lease will be running out in the coming months.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to get some extensions, so I donâ€™t think weâ€™ve set up a drop-dead date,â€ he said.
â€œWeâ€™re currently in pursuit of a better location because we feel strongly about the Medina market,â€ said Catan, who explained he has looked at such locations as the construction projects on the state Route 18 Buehlerâ€™s property in Medina Township. â€œWe feel strongly about Route 18 from, like, (Interstate) 71 west.â€
In the meantime, he said, heâ€™s going to urge customers to visit the storeâ€™s closest locations in Strongsville and Wooster. The storeâ€™s employees will be offered positions at those stores and, once the new store is opened, will be re-employed there.
Patrons now have two choices when walking through the doors of Chef Richard Cicicâ€™s Madd Chef restaurant on Pearl Road in Brunswick.
At the Madd Chef CafÃ©, which has been in operation since October 2006, restaurantgoers can opt for a more casual experience, with offerings of soups, salads and sandwiches. Since last week, however, customers can opt for a more fine-dining experience in Madd Chefâ€™s Bistro.
â€œThe bistro is everything served in courses, kind of like everything used to be back in the day,â€ Cicic said.
Cicic recently doubled the size of his restaurant, adding 1,400 square feet of dining space. He said he wanted to combine â€œcomfort and diningâ€ by utilizing fine, white china and white tablecloths.
â€œItâ€™s kind of like something you would find downtown,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s one of the things Brunswick didnâ€™t have.â€
The bistro will keep Cicicâ€™s â€œclean foodâ€ philosophy alive. He explained the chemically engineered food trend of recent decades has â€œjust kind of led to an epidemic of obesity in the country.â€
So he is taking â€œfood back to where it used to beâ€ by not using chemically processed foods and choosing more natural, local options.
â€œWhat weâ€™re trying to do is use all local food,â€ he said.
This is a philosophy Cicic said he hopes to apply to all phases of his restaurant.
So far, with the cafÃ© and the bistro, he has completed the first two portions of his plans as a restaurateur. The third and final project will be opening a European coffeehouse, serving ground-to-order coffee. Cicic said when he begins working on that phase, he will move the cafÃ© over one store and put the coffeehouse between the two restaurants.