Carefree Station Shutters: Owners Explain Poor Building Conditions and Problems with Landlord in Passionate Letter to Friends
On Saturday, September 28, Carefree Station, the nine-year-old Southwestern restaurant located in Carefree's Spanish Village, closed for the weekend citing "unforeseen circumstances beyond our control" via their Facebook page.
By last Wednesday, Carefree Station still had not opened its doors. A representative for the restaurant, owned by Robert and Linda Gabrick, said the reason was a dispute with the building's landlord and that the Gabricks currently were "trying to deal with that situation so they can come to some resolution."
It seems they have.
On Saturday, October 5, the Gabricks sent out a passionate and lengthy e-mail addressed to their "Carefree friends" (you can view it after the jump in its entirety). In it, they concede that Carefree Station has shuttered. They also address three specific rumors regarding their relationship with the building's landlord, rent payments, and money owed.
On the condition of the building, the Gabricks had this to say:
"The buildings had many problems. Many times sewage backed up into the bar, feces and toilet paper (it was our lowest point), and we mopped it up and sanitized. Often there was a strong sewage smell in the restaurant, we burned incense. When stucco fell off the outside walls we built plant shelves to hide it. When it rained, the lights in the garden would short out leaving the garden dark, we worked around it."
On the rationale for the lockout, the Gabricks' letter outlines a possible scenario having to do with the landlord discovering they had signed a lease for Scottsdale Station -- what would have been the couple's third "Station" restaurant (not yet open) on Hayden Road and Via de Ventura (the Gabricks currently own Prescott Station):
"The rumor was that our landlord got wind of the third restaurant, thought we would close Carefree Station in the middle of the night and take everything in the restaurant with us. That apparently became the landlords reasoning to hire a private security company to lock us out. I cannot speak for our ex landlord, I can only speak for Linda and myself. It NEVER entered our minds to consider doing that."
And finally, on the aftermath, the Gabricks' letter sums it up like this:
"The current owners paid $1.3 million for the property, the lease they wanted us to sign had us taking responsibility for $800k. They locked us out and took possession of inventories of food, liquor, wine, and beer. They took possession of it all. I guess they got a pretty good deal."
Here's the Gabricks' letter in full: