PROUD NEW OWNER … Tracie Coatsworth posed on a windy, but sunny afternoon by the new sign out front of the business in Lake Seneca which she and her husband are getting up and running. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Even though the Lake Seneca entrance sign makes it sound like only members and guests of members are allowed in the area, that only applies to the waterfront opportunities.
The public is welcome to drive in and enjoy the scenery as well as the store/cafe that is there and just re-opened on Memorial Day weekend 2021.
The business which used to be called Lakeside Cafe closed in 2018.
It is now reopening as Compass Cafe and Store and the new owners Tracie Coatsworth and her husband Jack Fakhoury are excited to join the Lake Seneca community.
The couple hails from Danbury, Michigan, between Jackson and Lansing and own Jacobs Construction, Inc.
Their general construction company did well despite COVID and they are consider themselves very lucky. Tracie said it is quite a drive every day, an hour and a half one way, but she is really loving being at Lake Seneca.
They are fixing up the apartment so she can stay some nights when she just doesn’t feel like that long drive home.
“We actually didn’t come here to buy the business,” Tracie said in an interview. “We came down from where we live in Michigan, looking to purchase two lots for our retirement.”
“We wanted to rent, but could not find anything available. We did find two lovely lakefront lots over by the water tower and bought them immediately, then added three other lots behind them.”
“We will have to build our home, but until then wanted somewhere to stay here. We saw the For Sale sign here and asked the owner if we could rent the apartment, but she just wanted to sell the place.”
“My husband said, ‘Well, if we are going to invest, we might as well go for it.’” So they bought the business and Tracie is now spending 11 to 12 hours a day there, getting it in shape and ready to be fully opened.
The convenience store in the front of the building is fully approved and open for business, but the rest of the building had some major repairs needed due to flood damage.
They have had some contractors in to do some dry walling and to put in an all new tile floor which makes the place look fresh and new.
They are looking forward to opening the cafe as soon as all the cleaning is done and the kitchen is ready, possibly as early as the end of July if all goes well.
Presently the temporary store hours are 9-8 on Monday through Saturday and 9-7 on Sundays. “The hours will change, but it will depend on the staff. It is a hard time finding anyone that wants to work. It is a long hard road and feels like it is taking forever,” Tracie explained.
Williams County Health Department and the people of Lake Seneca have all been “so helpful and wonderful to us,” Tracie said in the interview.
“We are happy with how supportive everyone is and how they can’t wait for the cafe to open.” When it does, they plan to have a Coffee Bar, Soft Serve ice cream, a slushee machine and a nice variety of food for customers to enjoy.
They already have a permit to sell beer and wine and are checking into getting one that will allow them to serve it on the premises.
Part of the dreams for the future include a patio where customers can take their food and drinks outside to enjoy the view of the lake and the nice weather.
Tracie is busily working to hire enough people to keep the store and the cafe running well without wearing out the employees. She hopes to hire at least two good cooks, a number of waitresses who would also be able to watch the store, as well as dishwashers.
“I really want to have enough people so none of the employees get burnt out working too many hours,” Tracie said.
Anyone interested in getting back to work or in adding a part time job are welcome to call her for an interview at 419-216-0033, or stop by to fill out an application and chat with this pleasant new owner.
Soon, area residents will have this new lovely, nautically themed atmosphere where they can stop in for coffee and a nice lunch or snack. Welcome to Ohio, to the owners of Compass Cafe and Store.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com