Late deal saves baking institution from closing doors

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It wasn't quite zero hour, but it was still cutting it close.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, two days before he planned to lock the doors to My Daddy's Cheesecake for the last time, Wes Kinsey got a phone call from Kevin Stanfield, franchisee of three local Blimpies Subs & Salads stores. As a result, the Cape Girardeau baking institution got a stay of execution, and Kinsey was taking cheesecake orders Monday morning.

Two weeks ago, Kinsey publicly announced his store's last day as March 20 in an article that ran in the Southeast Missourian. In the story, Kinsey said the closing was due to a cash flow problem.

"At least four people came forth and said that if it was salvageable, they wanted to help," Kinsey said. Of all the offers, Stanfield's was the one that Kinsey said was "too good to pass up."

Stanfield offered My Daddy's Cheesecake reprieve through an immediate investment of capital to keep the business running while terms of a buyout are negotiated.

"The structure of ownership will be decided at the time of the buyout," Stanfield said. "We are investing in the name, brand, trademark and recipes of My Daddy's Cheesecake."

Stanfield said the key to the negotiations is to keep Kinsey on to handle day-to-day store operations. Kinsey's store management will continue through the buyout, regardless of the final division of ownership. Stanfield intends to oversee administrative and financial aspects of the business.

Kinsey expects the arrangements of the buyout to be completed by April 1.

With the weight of the store's cash flow problems off his shoulders, Kinsey intends to resuscitate the store's mail-order business, Web site and 800 number, which had expired during the recent financial duress. He also intends to get back into the wedding cake business.

"This is going to be a great partnership for both of us," Kinsey said.

trehagen@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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