For Pete’s Sake closes

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

For Pete’s Sake restaurant in Courtland has closed. -- GWEN ALBERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

COURTLAND—International Paper’s impact on the economy in the late 1990s led Peter Pearson to open a second restaurant in Western Tidewater.

Last year’s closing of the Franklin paper mill has led to its demise.

For Pete’s Sake on Business 58 closed on July 3, eliminating 14 part- and full-time jobs. When times were good, the restaurant employed 28.

“We had good years,” Pearson said. “The mom-and-pop operations, I think, are part of the past.”

In the restaurant business for 30 years, Pearson formerly owned Phillips & Co. in downtown Franklin. A year before Hurricane Floyd flooded the downtown in 1999, he opened For Pete’s Sake in Courtland.

After the flood, Pearson chose not to reopen Phillips & Co., which was destroyed, and concentrate on For Pete’s Sake.

Since IP in October 2009 announced it was closing, eliminating 1,100 jobs, Pearson said business dropped almost 50 percent.

He has had the restaurant on the market for four years, but has had no interested parties. He will continue to cater the Friday night Amark Auction sales and Thursday night produce auctions, both in Courtland, while looking for a job in the food service industry.

A sign posted on the outside of the restaurant reads “the property has been distressed by the treasurer of Southampton County for non-payment of taxes.”

Treasurer David Britt said he could not comment.

“This is an ongoing process,” Britt said.

Pearson said the matter would be resolved Tuesday.

“There’s a big misunderstanding,” he said. “It’s a real sensitive issue until we get it resolved.”