SHERIDAN — One of the buildings in Sheridan’s prime downtown corners has new ownership. Baldacci, LLC officially purchased the Studio Cafe from Melissa Smith, owner of Golden Rule Grocers, last week.
“We’re looking for a new adventure,” Mike Baldacci said.
The Studio Cafe will keep its name and continue the previous theme of food, art, shopping and community. It will have some changes, however, including different layout and menu options, in addition to longer operating hours.
The cafe is currently undergoing renovations and does not have an official reopening date, but the Baldaccis said it should be open for business in mid or late February.
Mike Baldacci will run the store, along with his daughter Taylor Baldacci. Danette Baldacci, an attorney at Crowley Fleck in Sheridan, will help when she has time.
The Baldacci family moved to Sheridan from Gillette in August. Mike was an aquatics instructor in Gillette and owns an artwork business in Laramie with his son as well.
The Baldaccis were discussing different business options when they saw the cafe up for sale in early January at a relatively inexpensive price. They loved the location and made an offer.
The sale process only took about two weeks. Smith said more than 100 people reached out to her, likely because of the low asking price. She was inundated with offers and couldn’t keep up with all the calls, texts and Facebook messages.
Smith purchased the cafe last March and opened it last May. She put it up for sale because she did not have enough time to run two small businesses.
She chose the Baldaccis because they seemed trustworthy after talking back and forth and because they were ready with an immediate offer, while most people needed a few days before they could make an official offer. The Baldaccis also are keeping the overall aesthetic of the store relatively similar, a huge plus for Smith.
Where Smith emphasized non-genetically modified food, the Baldaccis will serve more traditional sandwiches, soups and salads, including Mike Baldacci’s special Italian sub sandwich. They will offer a similar array of drinks, including coffee, juices and smoothies.
“Healthy and fresh is what we’re going for,” Danette Baldacci said.
The Baldaccis took out the dressing rooms in the back half of the store and will turn the area into an open studio. They are considering offering art classes, open mics and a few other possibilities.
For store retail, the family will emphasize Wyoming artists and their products. The store will have more of a Wyoming theme, including eventually hanging a seven-foot brown and gold University of Wyoming logo made of Wyoming license plates on the wall.
Specific store hours aren’t set, but the Baldaccis will expand to evenings and Saturdays. The new store will have couches; the Baldaccis want to make the Studio Cafe a place to hang out after a movie or theater performance and also a spot to do work or homework.
The family is going through the process of figuring out the menu and determining the best suppliers of those food products. Smith is helping them with the transition process, introducing them to the previous vendors and suppliers.
Mike said it has been challenging to learn the ins and outs of a restaurant business while also renovating the back area and deciding how to design the open studio.
“Everything takes a little longer than we anticipated,” he said. Various inspectors have to make sure the building and food are safe for customers.
After that, the new Studio Cafe will open for business.