It was a tough thing to do, telling employees, some who had worked there for over 5 years, that come Monday, July 17th at 3pm, the doors to the Ferndale Denny’s Restaurant at 5720 Barrett Road will be closed for good.
The Ferndale location is not a corporate store, instead it is operated by a franchisee partnership that includes Milton Barnes of Bellingham. While Barnes told of the difficult decision to close the restaurant, his children were running around the empty expansion seating area. “It’s always been a family run restaurant. We go to each others’ weddings, celebrate birthdays and graduations of not only the employees but their family members too,” Barnes said.
But those close ties were not enough to overcome financial challenges that have been accumulating recently. The Denny’s corporate requires regular building upgrades and one was coming due at the Ferndale location. Barnes said he and his partner attempted to negotiate sharing the costs with the building owner but were unsuccessful.
Building costs combined with the recently increased minimum wage and customers finding it difficult to get to the restaurant due to semi trucks frequently blocking the entrance to their parking lot have brought them to making this decision Barnes said.
Barnes said he and his partner took over the Ferndale location in June of 2009. “We’ve really enjoyed being part of the community,” Barnes said. “We have supported local organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Ferndale High School and the local Lions Club meets here.”
Barnes and his partner run other Denny’s locations in other cities. “But this one was our first. That makes closing it so much more difficult. It’s our first, like our ‘baby.'”