Battle Creek reflects on Arcadia Ales shutdown as Kalamazoo location faces foreclosure
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. —
The owner of Arcadia Brewery in downtown Kalamazoo has said very little about why the popular restaurant is facing a foreclosure on the property and some are calling it a disturbing pattern.
Tim Surprise, the owner of Arcadia Brewing Company, addressed speculation Wednesday with a vague statement saying the company is in transition and hinted his business needs a "strategic partner" to be successful. His promise to stay viable while facing foreclosure has customers confused.
"I thought it was a little odd because breweries do very well in Michigan and West Michigan. So I was wondering maybe if they were going to just be moving," said Rebecca Vandenbroech, a frequent patron.
Money problems at the Kalamazoo location remind people of what happened in Battle Creek in 2017 after the Arcadia location shut down. People still don't really know why the location shut down.
"I do think it's the competition. I think they are seeing a lot of people bringing a lot of unique products to the market. You've got a lot of breweries that are both brewing beer now and are distilleries," said Assistant Battle Creek City Manager Ted Dearing.
Dearing said it was tough when Arcadia left. At the time, Surprise said he was "excited to announce plans for our new location." He promised to be part of the community for the next two decades, but, so far, no progress on that.
Community development organization Battle Creek Unlimited posted on Facebook in 2016 that Arcadia had failed to pay them rent for their Battle Creek location for 16 months.
They said that rent was less than half the market rate at the time.
Years later, several other breweries are planning to set up shop downtown.
"I think everybody feeds off of each other. When there's more downtown everyone prospers," said Jodi Lubis, who owns Pastrami Joes, which is located right across the street from the old Arcadia. "We could honestly say there's a lot less people coming downtown in general."
Amid struggles in Kalamazoo, many wonder if Arcadia will return to Cereal City.
"I'm not sure we are ready to jump to conclusions about that. It's probably hard to see a path or a light at the end of the tunnel right now, recognizing that," Dearing said.
Newschannel 3 has repeatedly tried to contact Tim Surprise in person and over the phone. So far, he has exchanged text messages expressing interest in making a comment, but is unresponsive about setting up specific plans.