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Trophy's shuts its doors

Echo Press photo by Greta Petrich Trophy's Restaurant along Highway 27 near Nelson closed its doors January 1. It was the third restaurant in the Alexandria lakes area to close since the New Year.

Another area restaurant is no longer open.

Trophy's Restaurant, which has been owned by Scott Larson and Penny Trenne since October of 2005, closed its doors for good on January 1. (The newspaper held off doing a story until the owners could be interviewed.)

The restaurant, located along Highway 27 near Nelson, has held several names over the years.

Larson said in the 1950s, it was known as The Colonial Club. It was also known as the Blue Goose and Santa Fe.

Larson and Penne bought the restaurant from Kenny and Donna Berscheid.

They did some work on the building, remodeling the volleyball courts and changing the name of the bar portion of the restaurant to Willy B's Sports Bar and Grill.

But it wasn't enough.

Larson cited the economy as the main reason for the restaurant's closing.

"It all started with the $4 a gallon gas," he said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "People stopped going out after that."

He added that people become creatures of habit and even after gas prices started going down, people were used to staying home instead of going out.

"The smoking ban also didn't help," he said, adding that in the summer it would be OK, but not in Minnesota winters.

When the restaurant was operating at full staff, Larson said there were up to 33 employees. As time went by and the economy soured, Larson said he stopped replacing staff if anyone quit.

In December, when the restaurant closed, he was down to six employees, not including himself or Trenne.

The restaurant is up for sale and his hope is that someone buys it and turns it back into a restaurant.

Trophy's is the third restaurant to close in Alexandria since the start of the year. Others included Bug-A-Boo Bay and Time Square.