For Jean Scalise, it was a dream come true when she and her husband purchased the Paradox General Store and Cafe four years ago.
Jean, a Massachusetts transplant, who had a camp here for years, remembers the day in March of 2008 when she had husband sat in the cafe and dreamed big.
"We counted the cars as they passed on Route 74," Jean recalled today. "And we said to ourselves, we could make a go of this."
Fast forward four years. While the summer seasons have been kind to the business, it was the winters that ultimately lead to the shuttering of the store.
"We didn't have the business in winter to keep us going year round. The numbers simply didn't add up." Jean said she did everything she could to keep the business going. They expanded the menu, had daily specials and offered catering services.
But above all, Jean is extremely proud of the business and the sense of family and community she built around it.
"I fell in love with ths place the moment I set foot in here. I loved to cook and thought I'd gve it a shot," said the former postal worker. "We did a lot of renovations to bring it to where it is today."
"I have no regrets about what's hapened. Of course I'm disappionted that we couldn't come to some arrangement with the current mortgage holder.
"But I'm very proud of what I've created here, the atmosphere, the sense of family that peple feel when they come in here".
It's that atmosphere that will be missed most by long time customer Dora Mueller, an 89 year grandmom who has called Paradox Lake home since 1984, after summering here most of her married life.
"I've known all of the owners and she's the best one we've had," Dora said. "She's made this place a very family, friendly place. It's like my second home. The food is wonderful. I feel like Jean is part of my extended family. She doesn't deserve what's happened. It breaks my heart."
Early this morning, a stream of customers said their good-byes to Jean.
"Enjoy your retirement," said one. "Are you kidding?," said Jean. "I've got a lot of life left in me and I've got bills to pay."
Friend and co-worker Tracey Whitty said she hopes that with the closing of the restaurant, it's a sign that another door and opportunity will open. "We really hope that something positive will come out of this."
Jean said later that if the opportunity arose, she'd love to continue in the restaurant business.
"But the truth is this has taken a huge financial toll on me. We'll see what happens."
Today could be Jean's last day, depending on "how long the food lasts". Jean has to be out of the restaurant by June 4. After that she'll move back to her camp in Paradox.
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