By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

'Around the corner' may be an empty room


Charlene Smith

Sabrina Matthews has served burgers, pizza, pancakes and even desserts to Burns residents, students and people traveling through for over four years inside a refurbished room off the old Burns elementary school gym that is now the Town of Burns building. But that service may come to an end Dec. 31.

“I just can’t justify raising my prices to pay rent,” Matthews explained. “I’m already close to the prices on the interstate and people won’t pay more when they have to travel two miles to get here.”

Matthews has a lease with the Town of Burns for her cafe location in the town building. A day care and the Blessed Hope Baptist Church also lease from the Town of Burns.

The Burns Town Council had a work session a few weeks ago and discussed options on lease agreements. During the council meeting in Burns Oct. 14, Mayor Judy Johnstone explained what the council had agreed upon and other council members voiced their thoughts on the process.

“It wasn’t easy,” Councilman Charlie Vossler said.

“We don’t want to step on any toes or hurt anyone’s feelings, but we needed to be consistent with our lease agreements,” Councilman Harv Humphrey said. Councilman Dennis Bastian echoed Humphrey and Vossler’s comments by saying if they were to give one business a break, they would have to give everyone a break.

Matthews attended the meeting and explained to the council her dilemma of menu prices and making money. She added many Burns residents have called her and expressed their disappointment in her closing.

The council voted at the meeting to have all areas rent for 30 cents per square foot with a $250 per month kitchen charge for the cafe area and a rent increase from the cost of living adjustment at the time of renewing each lease.

The rent for the 2500 square feet “Around the Corner” cafe was 16 cents per square foot with four percent of the gross earnings, a portion of the utilities and the garbage collection charge.

“I don’t think there is any way the town and I can work this out so I could stay open,” Matthews sighed. “I feel sorry for the town clerk, because she is taking the brunt of the phone calls.”

A petition is circulating in Burns to keep the little cafe open. Matthews said she has had an outpouring of concern from her patrons.

But Matthews reiterated she has no plans of renewing her lease with the Town of Burns.

Charlene Smith


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