By Kelley Atherton
Triplicate staff writer
No more salmon fish and chips or mud pie.
The Surfside Grill closed recently and is up for saleleaving a space open for potential new businesses.
And that space on Crescent City's Front Street was spruced up with grants from the city totalling more than $34,000 for lights and landscaping.
Owners Ken and Lori Cowen had also received a loan of more than $100,000 from the Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority that still must be paid off, officials said.
The Cowens decided that after five years they would move on to a different venture.
"It got to the point that it didn't work anymore for us," Lori Cowen said. "We gave it our best shot."
The Cowens owned a few ventures in St. Louis for several years, but decided to move back to California to be closer to the beach.
In 2005, the Tri-Agency Economic Development Authority loaned the Cowens more than $100,000 to get started. Part of the money was for operations and another part to develop retail spaces where the brewery used to be next to the restaurant.
A Daily Triplicate article from 2005 detailed the Cowens' plans to break the brewery up into "quaint retail stores with an emphasis on Crescent City's coastal culture." It also stated that a high-end gift and candy store had expressed interest in leasing a space.
The Cowens will continue to work on the retail units and possibly lease those and the restaurant if an opportunity presents itself, Lori Cowen said.
City Councilman Richard Enea, who is on the Tri-Agency's Board of Governors, said that the loan money is intended to help businesses get started. When the Surfside loan is paid off, "that money goes back to the Tri-Agency for other people who want to start a business," he said.
In 2006, the city's Redevelopment Agency granted the Cowens $34,214: $14,997 for five lighted signs and $19,217 for landscaping. This not only spruced up the building, but could also entice someone else to buy Surfside Plaza and set up shop, City Planner Will Caplinger said.
"It's an asset to the community," he said. "It makes it a little easier for when the next occupant steps in; some of the work is already done."
However, it's the end of an era for Surfside Grill-lovers, and another restaurant has dimmed its lights.
David Finigan, a county supervisor and the Tri-Agency chairman, called it an an example of the need for community support to help businesses stay afloat.
"I'm sorry to see another business close," he said. "The community should embrace their businesses to keep them open."