Bid will keep Gove store, cafe alive
By MIKE CORN
GOVE -- Members of the Gove Community Improvement Association's board -- with the support of members in the audience -- overwhelmingly accepted a bid to purchase the building housing the community's grocery store and cafe.
It was the only bid offered, and it came from within, submitted by a member of the board and the couple currently leasing the County Seat Cafe.
Board members struggled to make the move to accept the $20,000 bid from Von and Cheryl Tuttle doing business as Aqua Pump, the community's only other Main Street business, and Jerry and Mandy Gallentine.
Ultimately, Von Tuttle told GCIA members, the Gallentines plan to purchase the portion of the building containing the cafe, and keep operating it. The Gallentines also operate the FDIC Club in Park, northeast of Gove.
Board members weren't so reluctant to accept the bid, but they were concerned it might not cover the debt against the building and the grocery store.
The store has been losing money for some time now and board members were rushing to stem the losses and pay back a bank loan of about $17,000.
Details of the transfer haven't been worked out yet, but the board set a special meeting for next week to do just that.
While the board unanimously voted to accept the bid, Tuttle abstained from the vote even though he serves on the board. He participated in discussions, but mostly answered questions about the future plans and how he came up with the amount.
Shortly after the bid was accepted, Tuttle agreed to resign and even recruited a replacement.
GCIA board members expressed relief the bid came from area residents and from people who wanted to keep the operations moving, although Tuttle said the store will be more of a convenience store.
It'll also eventually house Aqua Pump, freeing up the Main Street building it currently occupies.
The board and Tuttle even talked briefly about winding down of the existing grocery store and the switch to his operation.
In the last couple weeks the grocery store operated, he said, store manager Elaine Flax could order "convenience store stuff and I could pay for that."
If the products are sold and credited to the GCIA store, he said, "that's fine with me."
But when the ownership transfer is made, Tuttle said, the remaining inventory would be his.
"We've got good people," one man in the audience said. "I guess I'm OK with that."
The GCIA board talked about but didn't fully answer repaying the Odd Fellows Lodge loan of about $15,000 to the store, although there will be some payments after the store is paid and there are two vehicles yet to be sold.
The change in ownership is expected to occur Dec. 1.