Heading over to chat with the owner of Le CrazyTaste bakery in Dinkytown earlier this month, Bader Mohsen said he was puzzled to find the Dinkytown bakery suddenly vacant.
âÄúEverything that wasnâÄôt bolted down had vanished,âÄù the University of Minnesota sophomore said. âÄúTables and chairs, the stove, display case âÄî anything that conceivably could have been moved.âÄù
Mohsen had been working on plans with the owners to improve their marketing strategies but was never told theyâÄôd be closing.
âÄúQuite frankly, IâÄôm disappointed,âÄù Mohsen said. âÄúI was hoping to help them with their business. They spoke French, and I like their pastries.âÄù
Donald Thao, the owner of the 3-month-old bakery, said he chose to close because of financial hardship.
âÄúInstead of losing money and never [making a] profit I decided to leave,âÄù Thao said.
Originally the bakery had closed for Hmong hero Gen. Vang PaoâÄôs funeral, but after a prolonged closing, Thao decided to leave.
âÄúWe just quit,âÄù Thao said of his abrupt vacancy. âÄúWe thought we would find another location, but weâÄôre still learning.âÄù
Fast EddieâÄôs Shoe Repair storeowner Jim Picard, whose business is next to Le CrazyTaste in the Dinkydale, said heâÄôs seen six restaurants occupy the bakeryâÄôs space since he started in 1979.
Only four shops currently occupy the Dinkydale âÄî including Shuang Cheng restaurant and ErikâÄôs Bike Shop âÄî but originally the building held 13 shops on the first and second floors and in the basement.
Le CrazyTaste was located down the hallway of the building, where there is limited foot traffic.
âÄúIf you start a business in the back there, you really have to try hard to make it work,âÄù Picard said. âÄúBurrito Loco started in the very same location âÄ¦ but they did it by literally standing out in front of the building here and telling people they were back there.âÄù
Thao also said he believed his business did poorly because of its location.
âÄúItâÄôs not really a good location for any kind of business,âÄù Thao said. âÄúI think this place should be banned, letting people know itâÄôs not good for business.âÄù
At one point the Dinkydale held a tanning salon, optometrist, and clothing, candy and sewing supply shops, but Fast EddieâÄôs has outlived them all.
âÄúItâÄôs harder to start something new, but because weâÄôve been here so long, everyone knows weâÄôre here,âÄù Picard said.
There arenâÄôt many shoe repair shops, and when customers need another job done, they know where to go, Picard said.
Cheap and quick food like Uncle FrankyâÄôs, a hot dog restaurant that previously held the spot Le CrazyTaste was in, is what Picard said he could see working well.
âÄúI thought Uncle FrankyâÄôs was doing well and had a chance to make that work,âÄù Picard said. Uncle FrankyâÄôs closed in the fall due to personal matters.
âÄúPeople try things and it doesnâÄôt always work,âÄù Picard said. âÄúBut the turnover in Dinkytown is what makes things interesting.âÄù