Challenging economic climate results in Crown & Cork closing

March 4, 2024

Challenging economic climate results in Crown & Cork closing

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON — The owners of Crown & Cork Restaurant, 502 W. Loomis St., have decided to not open the restaurant for the 2024 season and to place it up for sale.

“After a great deal of consideration and a lot of expert advice, I’ve made the difficult decision to sell the restaurant,” said owner Lynda Matson. “Unfortunately, the restaurant isn’t profitable enough in the off season to fully cover all the costs a building of that size and at that location incurs. It was a business decision and also what’s best for my family and I. The restaurant business can be very demanding, so I’m looking forward to having more time to spend with my three kids and husband, Brian.”

The business operated for 23 years as PM Steamers, the only waterfront restaurant in Ludington. Matson purchased the business from Dick Scott in 2021 and operated it as Crown & Cork.

“I believe there are many people who have a strong connection to this building, it has a long history of serving our community and I would like to honor that as much as I can,” Matson said. “I hope to sell it as a restaurant. To encourage that, I’ve contacted a handful of restaurant developers and I also plan to list with two local realtors who are very skilled and have helped my husband and I with many of our previous business dealings.”

Matson, who has had careers as vice president of Lake Michigan Carferry Service and also principal of the West Shore Educational Service District Career & Technology Education program, said she will miss the customers and employees the most.

“We were very lucky to serve so many wonderful people and for that I’m extremely grateful,” she said. “We were also very honored to be part of so many of our guests’ special occasions, like baby showers, rehearsal dinners, and even a few weddings.”

The restaurant’s 24 employees were made aware of the closing a few weeks ago. “Telling the team has been the hardest part. They all worked very hard and were extremely talented and fun to work with. I feel like we all loved going to work, we were a family in many ways,” said Matson.  I’ve stayed in contact with everyone and most of them already secured new employment or have a solid plan for employment.”

Matson said the decision to close the restaurant is based on months of economic feasibility studies, both locally and from state renowned experts. She said she initially engaged the experts to assist with keeping the restaurant open.

“What I discovered is that nearly the entire industry is struggling with the same effects of extreme inflation, which means there’s no magic fix,” said Matson.

“At the end of something, you find yourself reflecting and what I think back on most are the connections, the people that I’ve met and really gotten to know and will know forever.  I’m very grateful that I was able to do this.”

Gift Cards: The restaurant will reimburse customers who have purchased gift cards, until April 30. Individuals may mail their unused or partially used Crown & Cork gift cards to Crown & Cork, PO Box 734, Ludington, MI 49431. Once received, it will be scanned and a check with the full remaining balance will be mailed back within a few days.

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