Owner John Martin grew up on a farm in the midst of the farm crisis of the 1980's. "I'd have this experience with the grains, I want to do something more than just look at them or scoop them," he said.
The Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in West Des Moines will close its doors Feb. 4, company leaders told the Des Moines Register on Friday.
The brewpub concept has operated in a University Avenue shopping center since 1997. But in recent months, the restaurant has bled money as sales declined.
"We're losing about $100,000 a year," said Jaime Vasquez, the head of marketing at the chain's parent company, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries. "We’ve had a decline in sales and we just can’t keep it open."
CraftWorks also owns and operates the Old Chicago and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant brands and other brands across the country. Vasquez said its Iowa Old Chicago locations were performing well, despite the failure of Rock Bottom in West Des Moines.
The closure of the brewpub will affect 40 hourly employees and five salaried employees, he said. Some employees have been offered the chance to relocate to other restaurants, while others will receive severance pay. The company will also offer "stay-on bonuses" for those who stay through the Feb. 4 closure.
CraftWorks will seek anther tenant to take over its West Des Moines lease, Vasquez said.
Meanwhile, the brand is still proving successful elsewhere. The company will open a new Rock Bottom location near the Daytona International Speedway along with a new Colorado location. And an Illinois Gordon Biersch will convert to a Rock Bottom at the landlord's request, Vasquez said.
"We tried to keep it open and invest in marketing," he said. "We just couldn’t pull through."