Grumpy’s Spirits, Suds and Grub in Readlyn aims to become a destination for food and fun | Oelwein daily register

READLYN – They may not be grumpy, but they get it. If not the role, at least the spirit.

Two Waverly couples have taken on the challenge of reviving a once-popular bar and grill in Readlyn, and they’re determined to not only give it a try, but rather make it a destination for local communities.

Troy and Sharon Collins, and Mike and Samantha Keeran, are the smarts, investment power and practical power behind Grumpy’s Spirits, Suds and Grub, Readlyn’s new old place to have fun and eat on Main Street.

None of them have ever tried owning or running a catering and events business before, but together they are a force to be reckoned with.

They are not just visionaries tracing an idea on a napkin.

Instead, they assembled a dynamic team and poured their hard-earned cash into transforming the building at 209 Main Street in Readlyn into a hub of great food and entertainment.

The name they came up with reflects the town’s tradition, which is spelled out on a sign on the freeway, which reads “857 friendly people and a grumpy old man.”

Old Grump folklore dates back to 1990 when the first Grump, Sam Sickles, was crowned at the town’s annual summer celebration, held the third week of June.

Beyond the sign on Highway 3, the city’s lineage of eccentric Grumps, who are 65 or older, lives on in the symbolic gifts the Grumps, the city’s ceremonial ambassadors, receive, such as a hat and a numberplate.

But that story is also honored on a special oval table at Grumpy’s, where each Grump’s clippings are pasted onto a table top, providing a unique display.

The new owners, however, will also create a wall of fame, right next to this table, which will list every Grump, honoring the tradition of the city.

It’s only fitting that the two families, collectively known as a business entity called MKTC Enterprises, an acronym made up of the husbands’ initials, rely heavily on tradition as one of its pillars for success.

Mike and Troy, now in their 50s, played T-ball and then baseball together, both graduating from Waverly-Shell Rock High School, Mike in 1989 and Troy in 1988.

Their other mainstay is family, and that’s why they have their wives involved in the business.

In fact, they both agreed that without the moral and logistical support of their wives, they wouldn’t have considered a venture as risky as a restaurant.

Samantha, an accountant for Microsoft, and Sharon, an elementary school teacher in Denver, put their energies side by side with those of their husbands to upgrade the space so it could be reopened.

On May 13, their hard work culminated in a grand opening.

They all went into the business with their eyes wide open, and in part because Troy’s father, Jim, had run it for a while.

The building has served as a factory, roller rink, and event center, among other uses over time.

Like any old building, this one needed to be modernized and redesigned to make it an accessible and desirable destination.

A wheelchair ramp is being developed and the city is helping to improve the sidewalks and Readlyn’s Betterment Group is helping to update the exterior of the building.

Meanwhile, a beer garden is going to be set up at the back, which will add to the atmosphere and possibilities for a unique experience.

On the events side, they have planned a lineup of exciting live performances.

From June to September, they plan to have country and rock bands, comedians and even a piano duel.

Mike, who works as a food distributor, is in charge of the entertainment, and he plans to make his mark on the area so fans near and far have a reason to hop in the car and drive over to Grumpy’s for a memorable evening. food and fun.

“It really takes a village to do that,” Samantha said.

Also reflecting on what they have learned over the last few months of work, Sharon got an educational perspective.

“It’s about keeping the lines of communication open and making sure everyone’s ideas are heard,” she said.

Troy, an insurance agent, feels fulfilled in many ways that his family and friends have had the courage and ingenuity to pick up where his father left off and that the monument is going to be revived in a way which would stimulate economic growth. in town and in the neighborhood.

“There’s more to starting a business like this,” he said.

Mike added that in addition to steps such as due diligence, they have learned to listen to feedback from staff and the community.

He said he was proud that the restaurant would soon be open to card players and morning coffee drinkers so that the community could have a place to gather daily or for celebrations.

“It’s about family, friends and business and coming together,” he said. “And a grumpy old man.”

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