Thursday, November 15, 2012
LaGrange in Deep Ellum is closing — really this time
It's sort of been for sale for years, said the owner.
DEEP ELLUM For the last year, Stephanie Schumacher has been trying to find someone to buy her much-feted Deep Ellum club, LaGrange. Then again, as she told the Observer more than a year ago, she was always looking for a way out: “It’s kind of been for sale since Day One. That’s what I like to do. I’m an entrepreneur.” Besides, she said, running a club was just, well, exhausting.
Still, the adios announcement posted on the club’s Facebook page comes as a surprise even to those who knew the whole back story. About an hour ago came this farewell:
It’s a sad day! After a long 3 year journey, we are closing our Deep Ellum doors. We can’t thank everyone enough for your support over the last few years. To our wonderful staff, the amazing musicians who came through the door, and all the fans, we thank you! All shows are being relocated if possible to our favorite venues, so please be on the lookout for updates on the page to find out where to see all your favorite bands. Many thanks to Kim Finch and the Doublewide for hosting our shows last night and this evening.
When reached this morning, Schumacher sounded at once bummed out and relieved. “It’s been three years of fighting a losing battle,” she said. “We never were able to get it above water, which meant emptying my pockets to keep it open. But when you open a business, you take a risk. You can’t say it’s the economy, and you can’t blame it on anything except the decisions you make. I don’t think it’s the end of me or anything else. But this particular venture couldn’t sustain itself, and it was ultimately taking me down with it.”
She said that, yes, a would-be buyer had stepped forward in recent months. But, obviously, nothing came of it: “I don’t think they were serious.”
The club’s calendar is still posted, and there remain many choice dates among the offerings — including a reunited Hagfish on Christmas night, which Schumacher hopes will be relocated to Trees. LaGrange’s snow-cone trailer in West Dallas will remain open. (Says Schumacher: “It’s been profitable from Day One.”)
“Any time you open anything it’s a risk, and we fell on the wrong side of the dice,” she said. Schumacher said the truth is, she’s made the decision to shutter the club “10 times over the last year.” But she kept hoping that at some point, things would turn around. She said they just never did.
“We put a lot into it — not just money, but a lot of thought, a lot of effort,” she said. “I kept hoping and hoping. Maybe this month it’ll happen; maybe next month. In the back of my head I keep thinking someone will see this and take it. Who knows. I mean, it’s a Hail Mary. Someone will see this and say, ‘Don’t close it yet, we’ll save you.’” She laughed. “But that’s the demented part — the one that keeps believing.”
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