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Article updated: 10/18/2012 11:07 AM

Bogies closes after 17 years in Mt. Prospect

By Steve Zalusky

Faced with too much competition and problems with its bank, Bogies Ale House in Mount Prospect has closed its doors.

Owner Jeff Martinez said the business at 303 E. Kensington Road closed Sunday, ending a 17-year run under a variety of names. Martinez said when he took it over 17 years ago, it was known as the Clubhouse Café. He changed the name after two years to The Loft. In 2006, it became Bogies Ale House.

"The business just isn't generating what it used to," Martinez said.

The recent redevelopment of nearby Randhurst Shopping Center into Randhurst Village -- with the opening of several new restaurants -- has played a role, he said.

"Even if you have a loyal following, if you lose five to each new place … you're talking lunches now. You have Panera and Chipotle and Pei Wei and Five Guys and Jersey Mike's. Those are just lunch competitors."

Another factor, he said, was a difficult relationship with his mortgage holder, FirstMerit Bank. The loan officer couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Initially, he said, his financing was with Mount Prospect National Bank, with which he said he had a good relationship.

But in 2007, that bank was sold to Midwest Bank and Trust, and then in 2010, Midwest Bank and Trust was closed by regulators, who transferred its operations to FirstMerit Bank.

"We were just part of the baggage that went along with it," he said. "They just said, 'We want it bought out, to get some other bank to pick it up. You don't have a strong enough cash flow.' We said, 'We can make up the difference' … But they weren't interested in anything. All they wanted was to be bought out."

Martinez, who said he still owes about $1 million on the place, said he is looking for a buyer before the bank takes possession. It will probably go on the market today, he said.

He said it will be difficult to leave.

"I love the place, love the facility. A lot of customers are like family. A lot of great employees. (But) we can't hold it together any more."

Meanwhile, Martinez said he is looking for a smaller place to reopen.

Bill Cooney, Mount Prospect's community development director, said Martinez did not approach the village, which, he said, would not be able to help him find a new owner.

"It's disappointing. Jeff's a really good guy and has been open for 17 years," he said.

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