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IHOP Suffers Short Run on St. Thomas

May 7, 2008 — A short 15 months after an enthusiastic opening at Tutu Park Mall, IHOP will close its doors May 19, with the high cost of power, cooking gas and rent forcing owner Allie-Allison Petrus to make the decision to close.
"We have seen our WAPA bill hover around $11,000 and our cooking gas now around $3,000 monthly, not to mention a leasing rental expense around $13,500," said Petrus, a former V.I. senator and owner of several Subway sandwich shops, in a prepared statement issued Tuesday night. "These recurring expenses, coupled with a declining economy and service issues, have all worked together to create a 'perfect storm' that has brought us to this moment of reckoning."
Throngs of people flocked to the restaurant after it opened. Lines formed and people waited to get in. Hope and excitement about St. Thomas having its own international pancake house — which served a lot more than the traditional IHOP breakfast fare — abounded at the opening in February 2007. (See "Rooty, Tooty, Fresh 'n Fruity: IHOP Opens in Tutu Park Mall.")
But apparently it wasn't enough.
Petrus singled out the high cost of electricity as a big part of the problem in running a small business on St. Thomas: "This issue can and will singlehandedly cripple our economy if alternative-energy sources are not brought online sooner than later."
He expressed regret about having to lay off 48 employees.
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May 7, 2008 -- A short 15 months after an enthusiastic opening at Tutu Park Mall, IHOP will close its doors May 19, with the high cost of power, cooking gas and rent forcing owner Allie-Allison Petrus to make the decision to close.
"We have seen our WAPA bill hover around $11,000 and our cooking gas now around $3,000 monthly, not to mention a leasing rental expense around $13,500," said Petrus, a former V.I. senator and owner of several Subway sandwich shops, in a prepared statement issued Tuesday night. "These recurring expenses, coupled with a declining economy and service issues, have all worked together to create a 'perfect storm' that has brought us to this moment of reckoning."
Throngs of people flocked to the restaurant after it opened. Lines formed and people waited to get in. Hope and excitement about St. Thomas having its own international pancake house -- which served a lot more than the traditional IHOP breakfast fare -- abounded at the opening in February 2007. (See "Rooty, Tooty, Fresh 'n Fruity: IHOP Opens in Tutu Park Mall.")
But apparently it wasn't enough.
Petrus singled out the high cost of electricity as a big part of the problem in running a small business on St. Thomas: "This issue can and will singlehandedly cripple our economy if alternative-energy sources are not brought online sooner than later."
He expressed regret about having to lay off 48 employees.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.