The winter slowdown took its toll on another Wakefield business.
This time, it’s the Pub Earle, which officially shut its doors for good March 8.
But by now, most villagers likely deduced the pub and restaurant was closed for reasons other than gas issues, as the sign on the front door has indicated for many weeks.
Dan McClinton – one of the former partners with Jordan West and Dan Temple – wrote a statement to the Low Down concerning the closure.
“Despite valiant efforts by all involved we were not able to survive the toils of winter in Wakefield,” he wrote. “We encourage all Wakefielders to go out and support all your local businesses. Use them or lose them. The time, effort and cost of operating a small business are immense.”
Pub Earle had been in business less than a year. The rumours about the pub’s closure went beyond winter’s mere slow season, from money issues to problems with the historic Earle building.
But the new business venture seemed promising at the pub’s opening party last May.
A new, sleek bar counter with television sets and a wrought-iron spider exit sign courtesy of village artisan Michael Kinghorn drew a large crowd. Parties continued in the summer with local DJ Sean Nolan. Crowds of young people, home from university and CEGEP, sat outside on the balcony daily. But those numbers seemed to dwindle when winter hit.
Bob Milling, president of Commerce Wakefield, said business is a tougher go during wintertime, with snow removal and heating adding to the costs.
“The level of business activity drops by one-half for a lot of businesses,” he said, adding the lack of the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train has not helped the year-round revenues.
“If you don’t have a solid, local following, winters can be quite long.”
While Milling could not speak to the Pub Earle situation, he said it’s expensive to maintain heritage buildings because heating and maintenance costs are higher.
Despite the recent closure, Milling said “commerce is still robust in the region,” pointing to Chez Eric Restaurant’s survival, the revamped Wakefield Express revival, the success of Coeur du Village’s establishments like Le Hibou and the slew of new businesses that have recently opened.
The Earle House building was originally the home of blacksmith and carriage-maker Robert Earle in the 1880s. In more recent years, it housed the Earle House Restaurant and then Cafe Molo before Pub Earle took over. It has been designated as a “heritage” building by the municipality of La Peche.
It’s still not known what the future holds for the Wakefield landmark.