Business

Blue Strawberry sold to Marion entrepreneur

No plans in the works to change the name or style of restaurant

Blue Strawberry owner Mike Monnahan at his cafe, 118 Second St. SE, that he’s owned for 14 years in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, August 16, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Blue Strawberry owner Mike Monnahan at his cafe, 118 Second St. SE, that he’s owned for 14 years in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, August 16, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
/

The downtown coffee roaster and lunch eatery Blue Strawberry has been sold to a Marion entrepreneur.

Mike Monnahan, founder and former owner of the cafe at 118 Second St. SE, told The Gazette he sold the business to Wesley Bryant, 42, after 15 years at the helm.

Bryant started to look at buying a business after being downsized from Transamerica in 2016. He grew up working in his mother’s convenience stores and wanted to go back to having customers be his boss, as he puts it.

Byrant said he doesn’t plan to make any immediate changes to the decor or the menu as he adjusts to owning the business.

“Mike (Monnahan) has built up a great customer base, and he’s done a great job,” Bryant said. “I think if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Monnahan started the Blue Strawberry in 2003, and kept it open during the floods of 2008 and 2016 and the Great Recession. The coffee shop is a frequent hot spot for political candidate meet-and-greets for both major parties. The restaurant has been for sale since at least last August when Monnahan decided to retire.

Monnahan plans to move to northwest Iowa to spend his retirement visiting family, reuniting music groups he used to play in and picking up some part-time work. While he said leaving the restaurant and his customers is bittersweet, Monnahan attributed the business’ longevity to their support over the last decade and a half.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“That’s a testament to the loyalty of the business community of downtown Cedar Rapids,” he said. “They really showed up to support those storefronts downtown.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; dan.mika@thegazette.com

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.