For Pete’s Sake has potential buyer

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

COURTLAND—The closed For Pete’s Sake restaurant in Courtland has a potential buyer after Saturday’s auction.

Barry Cole, owner of United Country-A.B. Cole & Associates, Auction & Realty in Suffolk, would not name the buyer because financing has not been approved. Cole did say the buyer is local and interested in reopening the establishment as a restaurant. The potential buyer also purchased some of the equipment during the auction.

No minimum bid had been set for the restaurant at 23201 Main St. The sale of its tables, chairs, freezers and other equipment followed the real estate auction.

Former owner Peter Pearson on July 3 closed the restaurant and laid off 14 full- and part-time employees. Pearson said business dropped 50 percent after International Paper announced in October 2009 that it was closing its Franklin mill, eliminating 1,100 jobs.

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.

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

Pearson has had the restaurant on the market for four years, but had no interested parties prior to the auction.

More than 100 attended Saturday’s auction at Southampton Academy; three to four were interested in the building, Cole said.

“We didn’t have room for all of the equipment, all the catering stuff, so what we did was use a little technology,” he said.

Potential buyers toured the building on Aug. 12 and 13 and items were projected on a screen for bidding at the academy. It took about 3½ hours to sell 300 items, Cole said.

“We had folks come from a large area interested in the personal property,” he said.