A local restaurant hopes to shift its focus with a new name and a fresh image.
Although it wasn't part of Roeder Harley-Davidson, Shifters has been hurt by the fallout when the motorcycle dealership closed earlier this year. Many people seem to believe the restaurant is closed, too, said Bonnie Parrella, co-owner of the eatery.
"Before it all went down, our numbers were phenomenal," Parrella said. "The first three months, I couldn't have been happier."
But after Roeder closed, "it was like a ghost town here," she said.
The restaurant used to have 10 to 15 employees and is down to six, not counting owners Parrella and Jeff Tolley.
Hours have been cut. It's now open from 4 p.m. to closing time, usually about midnight, Mondays through Thursdays; and 11 a.m. to closing time Fridays through Sundays.
"I can't keep going like this," Parrella said. "This is our last-ditch effort. We've got one more shot."
The restaurant is hosting a contest for a new name, with a $100 cash prize. Parrella is hoping for a sports and motor theme.
Some of the entries include "Thunder Alley Bar & Grill," and "Pit Stop to the Lake" sports bar.
Picking a winner will be hard because "there's some really cool ideas," Parrella said.
The name will be decided Sept. 18 during a party at the restaurant.
The decor is being changed to emphasize football and sports memorabilia, and the menu is being revamped. The menu is being revamped to provide offerings that no one else in the area has, Parrella said.
Shifters, located at 5408 Milan Road, is located next door to the closed dealership.
Parrella and Tolley bought the restaurant from Will and Julie Roeder, the owners of Roeder Harley-Davidson. They formerly leased the property from the Roeders but now lease from Ralph Ruda.
National City Bank sued the Roeders for foreclosure in April, and the dealership closed May 15. It briefly reopened as Roeder Cycles but is now closed for good, despite a sign that still proclaims, "Roeder Cycles is open."
Parrella said she still sees visitors from out of town drive up to the dealership.
"They sit out in front and stare at the building," she said. "It's sad."
Late last month, Common Pleas judge Tygh Tone granted a motion by National City bank to appoint John R. Kassinger as the receiver for the property. Kassinger works for Hillyer Group of Cleveland and will be responsible for selling the property.
A handwritten sign on the dealership's door announces it is closed and provides a phone number for Kassinger. Kassinger did not return a telephone call to his office Tuesday asking for comment.
Have a catchy restaurant name?
E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it to Shifters, 5408 Milan Road, Sandusky. Suggestions may also be called in at 419-627-2090.