COPPERAS COVE — Black Meg 43, Reliable Paint and Body and Lightfoot Rentals are searching for new business locations after CVS Pharmacy laid claim to the property last week.
All three business owners are fairly confident they will find new locations within the city; it will just be a matter of time. The businesses last week were given 60 days to remain on the property.
“Obviously we are going to continue to work; at the same time this really puts us through a quick process,” said Allan Vasseur, owner of Black Meg 43 restaurant. “Sometimes these things take time, and we don’t want downtime in Copperas Cove.”
Black Meg 43, a 2010 Copperas Cove startup that now has restaurants in Killeen, Belton and a fourth location opening in Harker Heights on Indian Trail, received a 60-day eviction notice Nov. 21.
Reliable Paint and Body received the same notice Nov. 21 and an official notice Tuesday.
Lightfoot Rentals, which owns the two parcels up for sale to the national pharmacy chain, served the notices to the two other businesses leasing properties on its lots.
“The 21st of January I will be gone someplace else,” said Homer Sharnock, owner of Reliable Paint and Body on the corner of Avenue D and U.S. Highway 190 for 28 years.
Ron and Barry Lightfoot said their business, a rental store, can be operated from another property, and they have been considering selling to the national pharmacy chain for about three years.
“It was just an opportunity that came to the door that sounded good. We can do this at another property or do something else,” said Barry Lightfoot.
Polo Enriquez, executive director of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, said sales like this happen all the time and as the owners, the Lightfoots have the right to sell their property.
In most cases, it helps the city’s commercial environment by keeping it evolving.
It is part of the corporation’s job to help businesses, such as Black Meg, that are in these situations of losing a location but want to remain a profitable local business, said Enriquez.
For Black Meg, which employs several people, the move is as much about remaining a profitable Copperas Cove business as it is about keeping its employees working, said Vasseur.
A lot goes into finding a location for a restaurant, including proper ventilation systems, walk-in freezers and more, said Vasseur, who is not sure if they would be able to find a location by the end of the 60 days.
Reliable Paint and Body is looking on its own for a new location, and is already meeting with possible lessors along U.S. Highway 190.
But Black Meg, which has seen more than 100 comments on Facebook asking the restaurant to stay in Copperas Cove, has enlisted the help of the corporation to find a new spot and is already talking to some property owners on its own.
“We are working on a number of possibilities and locations for them,” said Enriquez. “We have a list of buildings in the community, but we really haven’t focused on what the needs of the businesses are.”
Enriquez said he is meeting with Black Meg’s owners today to discuss what type of criteria they are seeking for a new location and hope to get them into negotiations for a lease in the near future.
There are other places that have similar qualities as their current location when it comes to traffic counts, space, parking and other attributes, Enriquez said.
The goal though will be to move them into a better location.
“We are trying to find a location that is bigger and better, but at the same time we have to take what we can get, but again we are not going to take something that is smaller than where we are at now,” said Vasseur. “A lot of effort is going into getting another location for Cove.”
He said he has discovered about three locations that may meet the restaurant’s needs without the EDC’s help, but hopefully there are more.
Vasseur said Black Meg 43 would have a “better handle” on what they will be doing to remain in Copperas Cove next week and will be updating the store’s Facebook fans when something is concrete.
“It is very important for us (to stay in Cove),” he said. “We all live in Copperas Cove. We believe we have a great customer and fan base. We would hate to disappoint the community, and we think we offer a good value and a product.”