When Amy Guinn, an agent with Exit Realty, saw that Main Street Cafe was listed for sale she immediately thought of one person — Sarah Sriratanakoul.
“Sarah’s a nurse, but I knew she was looking for something else to do — something that would allow her to cook and bake,” said Guinn. “As soon as I saw the listing I called her.”
Main Street Cafe was opened nine years ago by Ron Mayo, who has been instrumental in attracting new businesses and events to the downtown Hamlet area.
“I always wanted a breakfast restaurant, but it takes more than breakfast to pay the bills,” said Mayo. “I never dreamed it would be so much work to do things right.”
After nine years of building a successful business that keeps the regulars coming back for more, Mayo decided it was time to start enjoying life.
“I’m just looking to take things a little slower and spend more time with my family,” he said. “I enjoyed it, and I still plan to stay involved in downtown Hamlet activities.”
The unlikely duo, with no previous restaurant experience, approached Mayo about taking the business off his hands.
“Sarah convinced me to join her in the venture,” said Guinn. “We finally closed the deal Oct. 21.”
Guinn said they both plan to continue their other careers, on a part time basis, but that they will arrange their schedules so that one of them will always be at the restaurant.
“It will be a challenge, but we’re both hard workers and I think we’re up for it,” she said.
Aside from the name change to Cafe on Main (from Main Street Cafe), the pair is toying with the idea of introducing more dinner items to the menu, like steak and pork chops.
“We’re leaving the favorites, like collard sandwiches and fried fish, just the way they are,” Guinn said. “We kept the same staff, cooks and recipes so none of that will change.”
New sign-work should be arriving soon, as a definitive punctuation of the new ownership.
“We wanted to change the name just a little, so that it’s familiar to the customers, but with our own stamp on it,” said Guinn.
“We’ve painted the inside, and will add our own touches as we go along but we probably won’t change it too much,” she said. “We like the relaxed, casual atmosphere.”
Sriratanakoul added that she “was nervous about going into the unknown, but the support received from friends and the community has been great encouragement.”
“Hamlet needs this cafe, and we’re both happy to be able to keep this wonderful business going,” she said.
To prepare for their foray into the food service industry, the pair attended “Serve Safe” classes through the Richmond County Health Department, to gain more understanding of proper and safe food handling techniques.
“When people see me now, they are commenting on how happy and relaxed I look,” smiled Mayo. “I wish them the best of luck. It’s a good business with great staff and wonderful customers. As for me, I’m going to take it easy for a while.”
The cafe is located on Main Street in downtown Hamlet. Business hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information, call (910) 582-8834.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.