Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/5/2011 (3216 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If there were ever any doubt about the future of the 80-year-old Salisbury House chain, the construction of a new $3-million restaurant at its current Pembina and Stafford location shows it's here to stay.
Five years after emerging from the mire and mess left from its previous parent company, the disgraced Maple Leaf Distillers/Protos operations of Costas Ataliotas and David Wolinsky, Sals' president and CEO Earl Barish said the company is firmly back on a solid footing.
Barish formed an investment group made up of the same investors in the restaurant chain to build a new 4,436-square-foot, 130-seat eatery beside the current one (the old restaurant will remain open 24 hours a day throughout construction).
The investor group includes Barish, famous Nip-lover Burton Cummings, his longtime agent, Lorne Saifer, lawyer Hersh Walsh and Winnipeg technology entrepreneur Harris Liontas.
Last year, the same group purchased the real estate housing three other Sals locations, including the 10,000-square-foot building that houses the commissary on King Edward Street. A smaller group of those same investors also bought the former Leila Avenue location of the Olive Garden and Brannigan's restaurants and spent $1.6 million renovating it into the newest Salisbury House that now is also the company's head office.
"There are a lot of things that evolved to get to this point," said Barish. As far as he is concerned, the story started five years ago — April 19, 2006. That's the day Barish took over the company.
"It was basically bankrupt and needed to be turned around."
The turning-around took the better part of five years.
"It culminates to a large degree with this development (at Pembina and Stafford)," he said.
Management's efforts have meant the retention of about 600 jobs, more than $35 million in wages and creation of a plan that provides a sustainable — profitable — future for an iconic Winnipeg brand.
The company now owns 18 stand-alone restaurants (eight of which are open 24 hours) and five seasonal locations at both Goldeyes and Bomber stadiums, Kildonan and Windsor Park golf courses and John Blumberg Softball Complex. The company has its sites on a few other locations, including the Ikea development area near Kenaston and Sterling Lyon Parkway, Chief Peguis Trail in the northern part of the city and Deacon's Corner in Dugald where Sals once had a thriving location.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.