Coventry Twp: Olde Harbor Inn closes with financial woes

11:45 PM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
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COVENTRY TOWNSHIP: The Olde Harbor Inn is a landmark on the Portage Lakes.

The restaurant, bar, marina and banquet hall make up a favorite gathering place for people in Summit County. 

Wednesday afternoon, September 12, the restaurant abruptly closed.

"We were devastated. They were going to do everything for us. All the decorations. Food, centerpieces.  Everything," said Judy Metzgar.

Judy and her youngest daughter, Natalie, are planning a bridal shower for her oldest daughter, Nicole.

60 people were all set to attend the party at The Olde Harbor Inn on September 22nd. 

The Metzgars were just finalizing details with management on Wednesday afternoon, when two hours later, they learned the restaurant was closed.

"[I wish] they called and said, maybe, 'There's been some problems. It'd be up to you whether or not you'd like to find a venue to have your event'," Judy said.

A note on the restaurant's website thanks the community for their support, and cites "tough economic times" as the reason for the closing.

According to Coventry Township Trustees, the problems have to do with a financial dispute between the two business owners.

The owners could not afford to pay their employees last week, and ended up closing a few days later.

The dispute is wrapped up in a lawsuit.

An attorney for Richard and Lisa Nicoletti, one of the owning partners, says the Nicolettis are going down a list, apologizing to clients like the Metzgars.

Attorney Beth Judge says, the Nicolettis are trying to contact people who have booked events and purchased gift certificates, and "Make it right," Judge says.

The other owner of The Olde Harbor Inn could not be reached for comment.

"I can't imagine the Portage Lakes without the Harbor Inn," said Bob Wilson, who manages the real estate property.

Wilson says, "A lot of this has been damage control for the past few days.  We took out all the prepared food and donated it to a food bank.  We have several aquariums. We got all the fish rescued," Wilson said.

Ten years managing the building, and Wilson says even he was caught off guard by the closing.

"As a landlord we've been doing all we can to help [the owners]financially.  They were in more dire straights than anticipated," Wilson said.

Wilson adds, the property is now available for lease, and several people have already inquired.

As for the Metzgars, Judy says they were able to re-book her daughter's event at another local venue. 

She's still hoping for a refund of her $100 deposit from Harbor Inn. 

Right now, the women are concentrating on Nicole's wedding and moving forward.


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