Family-owned since 1943, the Roanoke Inn to become a community-owned business

November 13, 2016 | by Erin Sirianni

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The Roanoke Inn, purchased by the Reeck family in 1943 and managed by Dorothy Reeck since 1993, is transitioning ownership before the end of the year.

The new owners?  Well, that could be you.

Islanders Christian Schiller and John Naye are leading a community initiative to purchase the Roanoke through the Mercer Island Investors Group, Inc, with the aim to preserve and maintain the beloved watering hole. They are currently seeking community members and anyone who loves the Roanoke to participate by investing between $25,000 and $100,000.

AccoRoanoke-Signrding to a Mercer Island Reporter interview with Naye, “it’s a change in ownership and nothing more.”

Dorothy Reeck will continue on as a member of the board of directors, and the current staff, food, and “essence” of the Roanoke will remain the same.

The new ownership transition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Interested? Here’s a letter on behalf of Schiller and Naye:

Who says dreams can’t come true?! An idea cooked up on the beach at Camp Orkila many years ago is now coming to fruition. Over that campfire discussion, the thought came up “wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to have the Mercer Island community acquire the Roanoke Inn in a similar fashion to the way the citizens of Green Bay Wisconsin own the Packers football team?”

Fast forward and seven years later that idea is in the process of becoming a reality. Members of Mercer Island and anyone who loves the Roanoke now has the opportunity to participate in preserving an iconic Mercer Island landmark, the Roanoke Inn.

The Roanoke, which lives up to its slogan “Where Friends Meet Friends,” has been owned by Dorothy Reeck and her family since 1940. Dorothy is now at the point where she is ready to transition ownership from her family to the Mercer Island family. Dorothy has been very receptive to our idea of a community-based legacy investment.

Under our planned acquisition structure, she can achieve her liquidity goals to prepare for retirement; play a continued role in the governance of the Roanoke as a member of our board of directors and as a consultant to the Roanoke’s management; maintain an equity ownership position; and know that her beloved Roanoke will maintain its prominent role in the Mercer Island community.

We believe the Roanoke is not just a bar and restaurant, rather it is an iconic establishment that plays an instrumental role in the community, both as a meeting and social gathering venue, as well as giving back to Mercer Island by sponsoring the Mercer Island fireworks celebration and several local sports teams. The Roanoke also provides financial assistance to the Mercer Island Half Marathon, while donating to other community causes.

As such, we believe the most critical aspect of this transaction is that the spirit of the deal is a “Green Bay Packers style” buyout by the community, and our strategic intent is to ensure that the essence of what makes the Roanoke such a critical part of the fabric of our community will remain unchanged. We believe the long term benefit of this transaction is that it can ensure the Roanoke’s contributions to our business and personal lives, as well as our Mercer Island community, will continue into the future.

The main goal of the Mercer Island Investors Group is a conservative one, to maintain the original character, spirit and environment of the Roanoke. The Roanoke is currently a profitable business, and we expect that profitability to continue under this new ownership structure. But it is important to note that the investment and operational goals are not to maximize economic growth and profitability, rather our primary goal is to preserve the existing character of the Roanoke.

We expect to run the Roanoke as a for-profit business, maintaining the current management team, bar tenders, servers, and other staff who we anticipate will continue on in their present roles. We also expect to find ways to grow the business and continue to improve operations, but all of these actions will be measured within the conservative spirit of maintaining the essence of what we believe makes the Roanoke special.

So if you want to be a part of the preservation of our beloved Roanoke, you have that opportunity now. The minimum investment amount will be $25,000, and the maximum investment amount will be $100,000, as we want to ensure that the ethos of this investment stays true to the broad-based community ownership spirit of the deal.

For more information, contact Christian Schiller, [email protected], 773-562-5935, or John Naye, [email protected], 206-550-9120.
Learn more (Roanoke Investor Summary) >>