Calgary

Buttermilk Fine Waffles to close on 17th Avenue S.W.

Operating in the 300 block of 17th Avenue S.W. since May 2015, owner Sam Friley says a lack of density was a big downfall.

Owner says increases in business tax and dwindling density forced closure, effective Jan. 1

Buttermilk Fine Waffles owner Sam Friley announced he is closing his 17th Avenue S.W. location after 3.5 years. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Citing rising business taxes and dwindling density, the owner of a popular breakfast restaurant on 17th Avenue S.W. is closing its doors this weekend.

"It's pretty hurtful that I have to walk away from it at this moment in time, given we're a busy restaurant that is loved, but there's no economics in running it," Buttermilk Fine Waffles owner Sam Friley told CBC Calgary.

"It's painful but … we fought so hard to stay here for three-and-a-half years, and it's pushed us to be far more creative and innovative than we would have been if things had been easy."

Operating in the 300 block of 17th Avenue S.W. since May 2015, Friley says recent road construction and increased business taxes contributed to the closure.

"One of the main factors for us was certainly the road construction that stretched between 2017 and 2018," he said.

'That wiped about 50 per cent of our sales off the board. That same year, we had a property tax increase from $11,000 to $25,000. It was kind of like, you're on the ground and someone steps on your neck."

Buttermilk Fine Waffles opened in May 2015. (Mike Symington/CBC)

With 12 full-time staff members, Friley says rather than shutter his business entirely, he's looking to relocate.

"I think this business definitely needs to be in Calgary, it's a very fun, social, community-focused business that people love," he said.

"Unfortunately 17th Avenue [S.W.] is just not where we want to be right now, we have to move to somewhere where we've got higher density, whether that be farmer's markets or food halls, types of venues where you have a bit more density."

Despite being busy, owner Sam Friley says a lack of density downtown means he has to close the doors at Buttermilk Fine Waffles. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Sydney Redeker tried Buttermilk for the first time on Sunday.

"I'm really sad," she said. "I've heard about this place, it's really popular, I'm really sad it's not going to be here anymore. They're really great staff."

With files from Mike Symington

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