Owner on Rio Grand closing: 'It's like a funeral'

10:05 AM, Jun 9, 2010   |    comments
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Rio Grande Steakhouse on 44th St. in Wyoming closing because of the economy

WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM)- The Rio Grand Steakhouse was deserted Tuesday, with customers pulling in only to drive off after reading the sign on the door.

"When we got here the place was closed. There was no word yesterday at all," said Don Swanson, "We love their specials."

Dining deals were not enough to keep the business going, said owner Bob Kowalewski.

"We pulled out every stop we could," said Kowalewski. "Everything was going fine until the last couple years with the economy."

The Rio Grand is just the latest of many businesses in Wyoming to shut down.

"Loeks Theater, first multi screen theater in the country closed," said Kowalewski. "Classic Cheverolet, I bought a lot of cars from Classic. But I think the icing on the cake was when General Motors closed up."

The Rio Grand is one of six businesses owned by Kowalewski and his partner. In fact, Rio Grande North on Northland Drive is doing quite well.

"Those businesses were sort of paying for this business."

Kowalewski said it's a sad way to cut his losses after a long history in Wyoming.

"When this opened in '84 it was Jose Babushka, and then we changed that to Wyoming Cattle Company and then to Rio Grande."

The hardest part was breaking the news to staff.

"The girls were crying and hurt," said Kowaleski, who is just as saddened by the decision to close.

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