HARWICH — Like the trains that once rumbled by outside, Local Flavor, the modified general store, pastry, breakfast and sandwich shop at the Pleasant Lake General Store, will soon be no more.
The business has been operating out of the old general store for nearly five years, but the lease they have with owners Robert and Jeannette Payne is about to expire and no agreement could be reached on a new lease.
Local Flavor has been operated by Elaine Perarcik and Heather Gaskill, who said they have built a solid business there since moving from Underpass Road in Brewster in mid-January of 2015. They left the Brewster location looking for a larger facility and were excited about taking over the Pleasant Lake General Store.
The store has been in operation for more than 150 years and once served as a flag station stop on the Old Colony Railroad. The store was closed for a year back in 2014 before Local Flavor entered into a lease there.
“We chose to move here to grow the business, which we were successful at,” Perarcik said on Friday. “It worked.”
But she said their lease expires on Nov. 30 and they have not been able to reach an agreement with the owners. Perarcik said the owners want them to enter into a triple net absolute lease, which requires the tenants to be responsible for the property in its entirety. That includes paying for rent, insurance, all upgrades and maintenance.
“It’s accepting the terms of a property owner, but you don’t own anything. It’s a financial risk,” Perarcik said. “The decision is based on the lease. It’s just too risky. The landlords aren’t bad people, but I can’t understand why they’re unwilling to discuss a lease.”
She said if something happens to the septic system and it needed a major repair, under the lease they proposed, the tenants would be responsible for paying for the repair. It’s an old building and the risk is just too great, Perarcik said.
“We’re not being evicted,” she said. “It’s fine to walk away from the table with the winnings in our hand, instead of risking a loss.”
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response when letting people know we’re closing,” Perarcik said with tears welling in her eyes. “The people of Harwich have been so welcoming and there have been a lot of touching comments from the customers. This is really hard and I thank every customer I’ve served. We really love this spot.”
Will Local Flavor waft into another neighborhood? Perarcik said she does not plan to move again. They have been at this for 20 years and the Local Flavor owner said she does not want to go backward. The kitchen equipment is for sale, some has already been sold. The doors will close on Sunday, Oct. 13 and Perarcik said they will spend the remainder of the time on the lease cleaning out the store.
“We don’t know the future,” Perarcik said. “I think I’m going to need a winter break, but I love cooking for people.”
For 20 years, she said, they have prepared the lunches for the Lighthouse Charter School and Upper Crust in East Harwich will take over that service. For years Local Flavor has prepared the Friday lunches for the staff at the Stony Brook Elementary School in Brewster and provided the same service on Fridays for staff at Fontaine Medical Center. But this is an end of the era, no more train whistles.
Perarcik thanked the six full-time employees that have worked there and the dozen part-time employees for their commitment.
Efforts to reach the Paynes for comment were unsuccessful.