‘Nail in the coffin’: Stay Social owner speaks ahead of closure
EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After a fight to hold on to her liquor license, Stay Social’s Owner Renee Hajek says she plans to close her restaurant for good.
She’s speaking out after one county revoking her license will stop her from running a business with alcohol for the next 10 years.
No matter who you are and what you believe, the community is all coming together
This is what Stay Social says their business foundation was built on and something the owner never thought she would have to give up.
“I daydream about what it was going to look like. Never did I think of what it might look like when it was gone away,” said Hajek.
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She says she built the restaurant on hosting community events in the heart of Evans while giving people a place to enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine.
While it seems simple, it took time to put plans into action, but now it’s all over.
“Never did I think I would have to dismantle everything that we worked so hard to put together,” said Hajek.
The decision to close all comes after a decision from Columbia County commissioners to revoke Stay Social’s alcohol license due to not having 50% of food sales.
Hajek believes there was more to the commissioners’ decision than sales.
“They were so supportive of me in the beginning and all the way up until we had our drag shows. And I didn’t want to face that that was the reason why because I really honestly thought like, ‘Who would actually do that? Who can legally get away with that?’ And they have,” she said.
Going into the initial hearing over her alcohol license, Hajek says she wishes she brought her attorney.
“I would have insisted that she be here because that was really the icing on the cake. That was really what sealed the nail in the coffin for us,” she said.
The broader impact of this decision is Hajek will not be able to hold a liquor license anywhere in Georgia for 10 years. This worries some in the community.
Beth Crandell said: “It’s just sad. With them trying to build up the area around here, it’s going to scare other small businesses away.”
Stay may be leaving but what it stood for still means something to the community.
Kristian Rolle is another customer. He said: “That family time is what you want to preserve. Those memories of what you want to preserve. You create those kinds of things at a place like this. I can’t create this kind of memory with my 14-year-old at a bar.”
Stay will host another drag show on Friday, its final day.
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