AP NEWS

Stroud restaurant owners selling business via essay contest

May 27, 2019

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — For anyone who has a goal of owning their own business, the opportunity to actually do so can be challenging. From either not having the finances or not knowing how to get started, becoming self-employed can be a long process, which might never come to fruition for some.

But an opportunity for someone to become the brand new owner of a restaurant has cropped up. 918 Bistro & Sports Bar in Stroud will become somebody’s new dream business as a contest for the giveaway of the restaurant on Route 66 can be entered by anyone who has always wanted their own business, the Stillwater News Press reported.

Melanie Williams, who with her husband has owned 918 Bistro & Sports Bar for four years, is a proprietor of multiple businesses. She said they are very community oriented, and the opportunity to pass along the restaurant is a way to provide a dream opportunity.

“We’ve had four different businesses going, and we’ve been blessed with different opportunities. We just kind of want to pay it forward,” she said. “There’s a lot of people out there who have massive skill sets and they may never get the opportunity to shine, and I’d like to help that along.”

The 918 Bistro & Sports Bar will go to whomever is best able to put their goal into words, with applicants asked to submit a 300-1,000 word essay along with a $100 application fee. The restaurant will be fully functional for the new owner, as the building, equipment, furniture, TVs, employees and $5,000 in starting capital will go to the winner. The runner-up prize will be $1,000 cash and second runner-up prize will be $500 cash.

The idea for such a contest came when Williams and her husband had started looking at selling the restaurant due to multiple business commitments. She said she read about a similar contest for a woman looking to give away her home in Canada.

“About a month before we had decided for sure that we were going to think about selling the restaurant because we were so busy, I had seen an article about a lady in Canada who was taking essay entries to give away her multi-million dollar house,” Williams said. “It was too big for her and she just wanted to downsize. We had just got done having a conversation regarding the business, and it just kind of flashed over me going, ‘You know, there’s a lot of people that won’t get the opportunity that we’ve gotten in life.’ We tried to keep that in mind, because we’re humbled that we’ve been afforded a lot of opportunities and worked so hard and refused to fail, that maybe other people don’t have the connections that we have and maybe that’s an opportunity for us to pay it forward.”

Williams said there are many people out there who may have the skill set and desire to own their own business, but some are never able to accomplish their goal due to limiting factors. She said loans for restaurants are hard to come by for people looking to get started, due to the high failure rate among culinary businesses. With this opportunity for somebody to become the new owner of 918 Bistro & Sports Bar, there are many things in place, including employees who have agreed to help the transition for the new owner.

Williams said the restaurant has provided them with an incredible experience with it being the first restaurant they owned, among other businesses.

“It’s grown us so much, and it’s right there on Route 66,” She said. “We meet a million different kinds of people. I had never owned a restaurant before and I had never been self-employed before. It has kind of given us a lot of confidence in what we’re doing to be able to grow the community around us. We literally started out with a toaster oven and a household refrigerator. It was ridiculous.

“We just reinvested everything that we had, and we just flew by the seat of our pants and did the best we can. We’re kind of a success story in the sense that you can do anything that you refuse to fail at. We had to accept the fact that people would think we’re crazy, but that’s nothing new for us,” Williams said. “We kind of think outside the box every direction we go.”

The winner will be chosen on or before Aug. 31, 2019.

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Information from: Stillwater News Press, http://www.stwnewspress.com

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