A visitor to Archibald Park peeks in the deserted Snack Shack, which closed Sept. 6.
MADEIRA BEACH – The Old Snack Shack at Archibald Park has closed, and will likely not reopen until major improvements to the park are completed.
Snack Shack lessees Mike and Rita Janecek decided to cease operations after being given 90 days notice by the city of Maderia Beach that their lease would be terminated. The Janeceks were in the middle of a multi-year contract with the city, and Rita Janecek said they had not been aware of any problems.
Rita Janecek said Sept. 5 that she let go all the employees and closed down the Snack Shack. She said she and her husband would focus on their other beach concession and restaurant operations in St. Pete Beach and Gulfport.
City Manager Shane Crawford said the Snack Shack will likely remain closed through the end of the year while construction proceeds on about a million dollars worth of renovations to Archibald Park. The city will put the Snack Shack vendor’s contract out for bid, and will seek a higher rent based on the coming park improvements.
Crawford said the Janeceks gave the city no notice they were vacating the Snack Shack, and there are plans to take legal action to recover 90 days rent he says is due under terms of the lease.
Though the city terminated the Janeceks lease “for no cause,” Crawford said there were problems with the Snack Shack’s operation.
“We’ve had complaints from their own staff about the way it has been run,” he said.
Crawford said the city had received complaints from employees that lack of payment to vendors for food and beverage items was hampering operations. The city has also had complaints from suppliers who had not received payment and were stopping shipments to the Snack Shack, Crawford said. Two rent checks to the city also were returned due to insufficient funds, he said.
Concerns have also been expressed about the clientele hanging out on the deck, he said. Crawford said he had personally witnessed “open consumption of half gallon bottles of liquor.”
“I’ve had people come in and say they were afraid to have their kids go on the deck because of the type of people hanging around down there,” Crawford said.
Despite the concerns, Crawford said the Janeceks would have been able to participate in the bidding for a new lease, though he said the rate would be higher because of the upcoming park improvements. However, issues with the current lease payment would need to be addressed.
Rita Janecek has said no one from the city had “even bothered to tell us there were any concerns at all” with the Snack Shack. She said the Janeceks were considering possible legal action against the city for making statements that could damage their reputation.