On July 1, Mike Kappers and his family officially took over the Everyday Cafe in downtown Somerset from Clint and Shontel Parnell and renamed it Kennedy's Cafe.
"The Parnells owned the cafe for 10 years. We had looked at purchasing the cafe 10 years ago but didn't act quick enough," Kappers said. "Our local real estate friend said that the cafe was possibly going up for sale since the Parnells had bought a campground near Cambridge, Minn., and moved their family there. The rest is history."
Kappers said one of the main reasons his family was interested in purchasing the cafe was because he loved the feel of the small, hometown cafe.
"My mom used to work there in the 80's when it was Anne's Cafe, and as a kid we couldn't afford childcare so that meant that I went to work with her there," Kappers said. "The nostalgia hasn't changed much, the old building, the old countertop, stools, and tables. It's tough to find the small mom and pop places anymore, so we're lucky to have one here in Somerset."
Although he loves the decor of the cafe, Kappers said he is searching for old pictures of Anna Belisle and her daughter Dee Poster from the 60s (when Anne's Cafe first opened) as well as old pictures of downtown Somerset to hang on the walls.
"We want to keep that old-time feel of the place while adding a couple new options including fruit smoothies and yogurt parfaits along with veggie options," Kappers said.
When it came to picking a name for the cafe, the choice was easy. Kennedy's Cafe is named after Kappers' second grade daughter, Kennedy.
"Our first day in business she went to work wiping tables and I anticipate that she's going to be a fixture there before too long," Kappers said. "The logo was designed by my buddy Chris Weber (Whiplash Graphics) and voted on by hundreds of people on Facebook. The logo is timeless and will hopefully live on long after I've passed."
The Kappers also operate the Apple River Hideaway Campground in Somerset and Maverick's Corner Saloon in River Falls. According to Kappers, Maverick's is named after his first grader.
"Our kindergartener, Titan, is excited to have something of his own someday but we have no idea yet what that might be," Kappers said.
The transition from the Parnells to the Kappers at the cafe was an easy one, Kappers said. The Parnells and their staff, as well as their loyal customers all helped Kappers start off Kennedy's the right way.
"We have the same great homemade foods, same low prices. Please check out our beautiful little cafe in our wonderful small town," Kappers said.
For more information on Kennedy's Cafe, visit them on their Facebook page: facebook.com/kennedyscafewi.
Santa on Main Street
In addition to being the new owners on the block, the Kappers and Kennedy's Cafe will be one of several businesses taking part in the inaugural "Santa on Main Street" event on Monday, Dec. 17, from 5-8 p.m.
"Bring everyone, it's our way of spreading some holiday cheer and putting smiles on everyone's faces," Kappers said.
The event will be hosted by Pizza Planet, Kennedy's Cafe, My Happy Place, Rendezvous and Sportsman's. The event will feature food and drinks for the kids, Christmas decorating options and pictures with Santa. Dress warm, this will mostly be an outdoor event. Santa himself will be there, not just one of his stand-ins.
"The chamber has a new strategic plan and part of that plan is working with our downtown businesses to develop those positive relationships," said Somerset Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beckah Whitlock. "Part of my job is doing the same, getting businesses to work together, on behalf of the chamber as a whole."
For more information on "Santa on Main Street," visit the event's Facebook page: Facebook.com/events/344308459658408.
"The holidays just seem like a natural transition for when people start to shop and spend more time together. Hopefully the community will be receptive to the Santa on Main Street event and support our local businesses in their efforts," Whitlock said.