for 17 wonderful years
To our wonderful community,
It is with mixed emotions that we announce our retirement. After seventeen years of serving the community, we have decided to close our doors and move on to the next chapter of our lives. While it is difficult to say goodbye to something that has been such an important part of our lives, we feel that it is time for us to take a step back and enjoy some well-deserved time off.
We want to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to all of our loyal customers who have been with us throughout the years. We are humbled by the support and love you have shown us, and we feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve you. Your loyalty and patronage have been the foundation of our success, and we will always cherish the memories and relationships that we have built with you over the years.
Thank you for being a part of our family and for allowing us to be a part of yours.
Our last day open will be Sunday, May 14, 2023.
Article from Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
HANCOCK — For the past 17 years, Sandra Beauchamp and her family have been faithfully feeding the community every day at the Kaleva Cafe.
Sunday will be the last day for the restaurant under the Beauchamps. Sandra and her husband Frank bought the 105-year-old restaurant 17 years ago after hearing about its closure on the radio.
“I told Frank we should go look at it, just kidding around,” she said. “Then we came here and looked. We had no restaurant experience whatsoever. We just bought ‘er up, fixed ‘er up.”
They reopened in 2006 after installing new floors, walls and booths and revamping the menu.
When Sandra started, a fellow restaurant owner told her after buying a restaurant, “your life will change 100%.” A housekeeper before she bought the Kaleva, Sandra learned that was true.
“The thing is, you can’t just have the restaurant and have other people run it,” she said. “You have to be there every day. In order for it to work, you have to.”
She does it alongside her family. Frank and her daughters Becky Bonen and Michele Beauchamp were there Friday. “It was good,” she said of the years working with family. “We may have had words, but nothing big. When you went home, you left it at work.”
Michele started as a cook before also waitressing, and occasionally making the pasties. It’d been fun working with family, with “only a few scraps,” she joked. And she’s really going to miss the customers.
“I’ve had a lot of them say they’re going to miss us too,” she said. “They’re sad, and we’re sad.”
And it didn’t stop at the immediate family. Sandra’s grandchildren worked there before moving on to mechanic jobs. So did her nieces and nephews before starting families of their own.
There were the employees and customers who became extended family. Sandra remembered seeing one girl come to the Kaleva with her mother before she’d even started school. She’s since graduated and gotten married — but not before her own stint working at the Kaleva.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here,” Sandra said. “The regular customers, they’re the Kaleva.”
Some customers even left their stamp on the menu. The “Hillbilly” was named for the regular who’d come in with his own custom order: biscuits and gravy with eggs on top.
The Beauchamps have their own specialties, whether “Sandy’s Slim Jim” (ham, swiss cheese lettuce, tomato, mayo on a grilled hoagie bun) or “Shell’s Hash” (hash browns with ham, onions, green peppers and cheese). Sandra takes pride in the Kaleva’s menu.
“I had one lady come in and say she’s had Philly cheesesteaks all over the country, and this is the best one she’s ever had,” she said.
Sunday will be the restaurant’s final day. It was time to retire, Sandra said. And they were having trouble finding new workers.
“It was getting to be too much,” she said.
With the Beauchamps’ retirement, the Kaleva is out of business indefinitely. But Sandra is hopeful the tradition can continue.
“I don’t want it to stay closed forever,” she said. “I’m hoping something will happen, by some miracle. Just as I don’t have to come in for work every day.”