Joey's Seafood coming to Cape

Monday, November 14, 2005

When Steve and Catherine Mills got out of the tax business, they knew they wanted to get into another franchise business. They weren't sure what kind, only that it should be a business that could easily branch out.

The two had owned Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Cape Girardeau since it started here in 1997. They sold it in September after they had obtained the franchise agreement for a fairly new seafood franchise called Joey's Seafood.

"Going into the food business made sense because we could replicate it," Catherine Mills said. "We wanted to do several of these."

Now they've recently inked a lease agreement with Drury Development Corp. to put their new restaurant into Lambert Plaza, the new shopping center on property south of Hollywood Video at the corner of Lambert and Siemers drives.

They hope to get the new restaurant -- described as "fast casual" -- open in mid- or late February, but it could be as late as early March. The new restaurant will employ about 30 people and will occupy 3,200 square feet on the north end of the center, which also will include a David's Bridal and After Hours stores.

The restaurant offers a variety of seafood as well as steak and chicken and items like jambalaya. A bar will also be a part of the restaurant, she said.

Mills described it as a full-service sit-down restaurant that is less expensive than some other seafood restaurants and also a little faster. She estimated that a meal could be prepared and eaten in 45 minutes, compared to other restaurants where it can take an hour and a half.

Much work remains to be done on the interior, she said. Right now, it's basically a gravel floor inside with no walls. But she said the construction crews are hard at work.

Steve and Catherine Mills also have the Joey's franchise locked up for Paducah, Ky., and Carbondale, Ill. Once the Cape Girardeau restaurant is open, they plan to open a Joey's in Paducah in about two years. They want to open a Carbondale restaurant a year after that.

"Joey's is really new in the U.S.," she said of the Canadian-based franchise. "Right now, there's only about 20 open in the U.S. But there are another 30 or 40 that are going to be open."

* Roth Restaurant Supply opens today: A new restaurant supply company is opening today at 823 S. Kingshighway. Roth Restaurant Supply is owned by Scott Roth and Jason Yunck. The building in recent years has been home to several buildings, including a nightclub.

Scott Roth said the new business will sell small items -- silverware, plates and booths -- and big items like cooking equipment, refrigerators and walk-in coolers.

It will market to convenience stores, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, restaurants and some residential customers. The store will feature a 8,500-square-foot showroom. Roth's father, Gary, who has 30 years of restaurant supply experience, will be the restaurant supply manager.

* Denny's staying put: Some rumors have been flying around that Denny's restaurant in Cape Girardeau is on the market.

Not so, says Cynthia deJournett, a commercial real-estate agent with Realty Executives of Cape County. Actually, what's happening, the owner of Denny's, Jo Mar Investments, is selling the real estate, deJournett said, not the business.

But some customers may have seen that the real estate is listed for sale -- for $1.2 million, by the way -- and believe it's being sold. The company intends to lease the property back from the new owner for at least 15 years, she said.

"In the commercial real estate industry, this is common and is referred to as a sell/lease-back," she said. "I have investors looking from California, Florida and right here in Cape also. But Denny's is not going anywhere. The business is doing well here."

* Van de Vens on mag cover: Mel and Scott Van de Ven are featured on the cover of the October issue of CPA Magazine. The father and son are standing near the new bridge in a great shot taken by local photographer Bill Cheek.

The two owners of Van de Ven LLC in Cape Girardeau -- which was started 11 months ago -- also are featured in an in-depth article for the trade publication, which has a circulation of about 25,000 and is mailed across the country.

The piece explains how Scott joined the accounting firm where his father worked since 1964 and risen to partner. That firm was Schott and Van de Ven. But in January, father and son left that firm and became founding partners in their own business.

Mel Van de Ven said the magazine got the idea to feature them after it polled some people from the Missouri Society of CPAs.

"They originally wanted to do a small article and thought the interview would only last 20 minutes," he said. "But the interview lasted an hour and a half. They called back in 20 minutes and said they wanted us to be on the cover. It's a pretty exciting thing to happen."

It also says a lot about their company and its solid reputation.

* Famous to Macy's next year: I've reported already that Famous Barr will be converting to a Macy's next year. But Famous manager Sharon Ebersohl gave me a few more details last week. It will take place in September or October, she said. But look for a neon sign to go up outside of Famous in April or May. It will be covered in a drape until the store officially changes. The store also held its re-grand opening last weekend to unveil its new remodeling job.

* Happy Feet and McCallister's: Paul Wilson has opened a Happy Feet kiosk at Westfield West Park. The new store sells house shoes that have 1-inch foam rubber soles. They also have house shoes for that featured Top 25 universities and their logos on the shoes. Also, the kiosk sells Animal Feet, which are house shoes that resemble a variety of animals, such as turtles, tigers and wolves. Happy Feet will be open until the end of the year.

While I was talking to Paul, he mentioned that he is the general manager at McCallister's Deli, which also recently opened a concession stand at the mall. While there had been talk about opening another McCallister's at the mall, he said that's not going to happen at least for the foreseeable future.

"We're actually trying to focus more on expanding in other areas as far as full-size locations," he said.

Right now, the business is looking at Paducah and Carbondale, he said.

Scott Moyers is the business editor for the Southeast Missourian. Send comments, business news, information or questions to Biz Buzz, 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, call 335-6611, extension 137 or e-mail

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