Woodside residents Mark Sweyer and his sister Jan Sweyer, since 2006 the co-owners of the popular Woodside Bakery & Cafe at 3052 Woodside Road, said they have been told to close up shop and vacate the premises by Jan. 15.
Mr. Sweyer said that on Nov. 3, George Roberts, the landlord of the commercial site at the northwest corner of Woodside and Canada roads, asked Mr. Sweyer to come to his second-floor office across the road in Roberts Market and handed him a one-sentence letter informing him that the bakery and cafe had to go.
The Sweyers say they plan to ask Mr. Roberts for an extension until May to make the transition smoother and avoid bankruptcy.
Reached by phone on Monday morning (Nov. 23), Mr. Roberts' daughter, Christine Roberts, said she and her father had no comment for this story.
The Sweyers bought the business in 2006 with a 33-month lease and have been renting the property month-to-month for the last seven years, Mr. Sweyer said.
He said they had always wanted a lease, but it never came to pass.
This turn of events was completely unexpected, Mr. Sweyer said. "I was going to give (the restaurant) to my son," he said. "Now we've got to switch gears and start all over again."
Plans for one part of that restart include a wholesale bakery in the M2 industrial zone of Menlo Park, the Sweyers said.
"Our wholesaling will be our only means of survival," Ms. Sweyer said in an email. "This will also provide places for our customers to go to purchase the Woodside Bakery baked goods they've enjoyed over the past 30 years."
The restaurant and bakery now employ 65 people "that we have to lay off for Christmas," Ms. Sweyer said. "They cried. It was very emotional."
"We understand that we have to go," Ms. Sweyer said. "We are devastated by it. This is our home. ... As we go forward, we understand that we have no recourse. We have to go. What we really hope and ask for is that (Mr. Roberts is) compassionate enough to give us time to gather enough money to get back on our feet."
Meeting all the obligations within a few weeks is impossible, Mr. Sweyer said. Without a postponement, ideally until May, they will have to file for bankruptcy, Mr. Sweyer said. "We may leave earlier if we can get on our feet," he said.
"You have no time to put a financial exit package together ... and a schedule on how everyone will be paid," Ms. Sweyer said. "The tidal wave comes over your head and you're dead. ... We need to get as much as we can so we can pay our bills and survive."
"This is about being so sad that we cannot continue going forward in the community that we grew up in and we have to leave," Ms. Sweyer said. "I would hope that the community would come to our aid and support us."