The Storm Cellar is now officially closed, but Tom Schmidt, assistant professor of management and Students in Free Enterprise adviser, said the restaurant may reopen for a few nights to sell its frozen-food supply.
SIFE ran The Storm Cellar and has the lease on the building until the end of the year, but Schmidt doesn’t see the closing as a failure. Schmidt said the business was a good way to let students use what is learned at Simpson.
“It [Storm Cellar] was used as a facility to teach high school students,” Schmidt said.
The Storm Cellar opened in May 2004 and only made a profit in April and May 2005. It was started as a SIFE project and the students who worked there didn’t get paid. Schmidt said one reason the Storm Cellar didn’t succeed was a lack of student support – students just didn’t buy food there.
“There’s enough pizza consumed on campus that we should’ve been successful, but you can’t run a business on 20 people,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt also said students just weren’t interested in working at the Storm Cellar, although he realizes students have a lot to do on campus. He tried to keep the Storm Cellar open by offering internships to work there.
SIFE considered a couple different options to get more students to patronize the Cellar. The group looked into a delivery service for campus, but SIFE wasn’t able to get insurance to cover the deliveries. The group also considered selling alcohol, but wanted to keep the Storm Cellar an alcohol- and smoke-free establishment.
Freshman Kyle Liske, a member of SIFE, said other groups have expressed interest in taking over the building.
“Some guys at SAE want to buy it or a private person wants to start an Italian restaurant,” Liske said.
Schmidt said there will be a decision on what to do with the building by Thanksgiving.
Schmidt said it’s sad to see it go.
“There are not too many entrepreneurial spirits on campus,” he said.
Freshman Heidi Heil is also disappointed.
“One of the great things of Indianola is closing,” Heil said. “It was good for Simpson students as well as Indianola residents.”