DANVILLE — Village Mall officials in Danville have been quiet about the sudden closing of Garfield’s restaurant after more than 20 years as an anchor eatery at the indoor retail complex.
Local mall management officials said they could not comment on the situation and forwarded messages to the company’s marketing representatives, who did not respond to requests for information from The News-Gazette.
The casual dining restaurant that’s been a mainstay at the Village Mall since it opened in August 1995 suddenly closed, apparently last weekend, taping a sign to its entrance doors with a message from "Management" simply saying, "Moving forward, Garfield’s will no longer be open. Thank you for your continued patronage."
Sudden closings of Garfield’s Restaurant and Pub locations has been a trend across the Midwest in the last few years.
Eateries Inc., the chain’s parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009 and closed several locations at that time while others stayed open.
By 2016, there were about 15 Garfield’s, including the one at the Village Mall in Danville, in operation.
More of those have suddenly joined the shuttered list, including the last location in the chain’s home state of Oklahoma, where a handwritten sign posted on an exterior door of the Bartlesville Garfield’s in March 2017 said, "Thank you for 25 years of service! We have closed our business," according to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.
The first Garfield’s opened in 1984 in Oklahoma City. In 1986, Eateries Inc. went public with its initial stock offering and expanded beyond Oklahoma borders in the 1990s, followed by a second stock offering in 1994 that fueled further expansion focusing on a niche market, opening locations in secondary markets in shopping malls where larger competitors did not venture.
Eateries acquired other restaurant brands, including Garcia’s Mexican Restaurants, and in the 1990s was operating its restaurant chains in 26 states.
The Garfield’s business model proved successful for a time, but began struggling after 2000 when malls in both large and small markets began to suffer in the fast-changing retail world.