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New operator found for Riverton airport cafe space
May 9, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
Fullmer's Fatboy Diner plans to open May 16.
The vacant restaurant space at Riverton Regional Airport soon will be occupied by a new Fullmer's Fatboy Diner. During the Riverton City Council meeting Tuesday, the recommendation was approved to select Bob and Patty Fullmer as the new tenants and to enter into a lease agreement with the city.
The new tenants plan to open the diner May 16 with a grand opening ceremony planned for that day. Patty Fullmer said the business expects to keep its other diners in Riverton and Shoshoni open while operating at the airport.
The one-year lease requires the tenants to be open during flight times in the airport schedule. Fullmer said the diner will be open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
"We're excited to be working with the city," she said.
Patty said the grand opening also will showcase the artwork of Laura Peterson, in addition to other pieces from local artists.
In March, the Airport Cafe closed for business, and the owner terminated the lease with the city. The city then advertised for interested parties to continue a restaurant service. A committee of city staff received letters of interest from Ray Nimmo, Pepe's Tacos, The Freezer, and Fullmer's Fatboy Diner.
City administrator Steven Weaver said the new lease has "more stringent oversight" as a result of the unexpected termination received from the previous lessee.
"We learned from our last issue we had," Weaver said. "It's considerably more than what we've been setting."
The city also included a "default addendum" to help if similar situations arise.
"This is really to help cover us if they fail to pay the rent or they vacate or abandon the premises without notice," he said.
The new tenant was selected primarily based on qualifications and experience in running a business, Weaver told the council. The Fullmers are in the process of painting the space and installing a new wood chair rail. The stoves and appliances will be cleaned professionally before the new tenants occupy the space. The city will no longer be responsible for the restaurant maintenance after it is occupied.
"Right now, we're going to make sure everything works," Weaver said.
Rent is set according to the revenue generated by the business. Minimum and maximum rent amounts were set along with utility costs.
"Instead of having a flat rate, the rent shall be 2.5 percent of the monthly gross sales," Weaver said.
With the previous lease agreements, Weaver said the city was barely breaking even. The official contract will be provided to the council at the May 20 council meeting for further approval.
"It's going to be a nice addition to the community," Weaver said.