After 70 Years in Business, El Paso Closing Down This Fall
ST. JOSEPH - El Paso Sports Bar and Grill has become an icon in St. Joseph after a nearly 70 year history.
The building is well known for its year-round fish frys, volleyball leagues, bowling and for hosting weddings and events in it's banquet hall.
Owner Carole Tamm says it's all sadly coming to an end in late September. Tamm recently decided it was time to retire from the business and sold it to a developer. The building will eventually be knocked down.
Tamm says their last day of business will be September 26th, because she made a promise in advance to host a wedding that day. El Paso will be holding a 70th anniversary and "so long" party on Saturday August 22nd.
Tamm, 68, says it's time for her to move on to the next chapter of her life. She's worked at the building for over 50 years.
"It's going to be quite different when you're used to working 6-7 days a week. I have a farm and I love putzing around at home, I just don't know what it's like to have Friday's and Saturday's off."
Tamm's family has run the bar over the decades, starting with her father, who returned home from the service in 1945 and bought a bar about a block from the current El Paso building.
After just two weeks in business, a fire destroyed the bar. The family spend the next half a year rebuilding and reopening the bar. Local companies, like the Bernick's family, helped get the family credit to rebuild. Tamm says as a result, her father asked her to continue to buy from and support businesses, like Bernick's, who helped them with the bar.
The family later built a new bar in it's current spot in the 1960's. Carole says it included six bowling lanes and they started selling food in 1966.
They put in volleyball courts in the 80's, which have become popular to the community.
"We put in volleyball courts outside in 1989, we started with just a couple teams a week and ended up with 16 teams a night and 64 a week," Tamm says.
Tamm has four daughters and two grandchildren, she credits her entire family for helping at the business at some point or another.
"I've been very fortunate to have my kids helping out-we've worked a lot and I don't know where I'd be without them."
El Paso also became known in the 1970's for its banquet hall and hosted many weddings, gatherings, holiday parties and anniversaries over the years. Tamm says she always wanted to make El Paso guests feel as if they were part of the family.
"I know whenever new people moved into town, many would say that they felt so welcome here. We just tried to be family to them, I hope people will remember us as a big family and being welcomed as a community here."
After their last day in business, the family will prepare and set up an auction for store items which will happen the morning of September 28th.
Tamm says she looks forward to spending more time with her family and friends in the future.
"If I can get out of this business and have my four daughters and my two grandchildren and good health, then I am the wealthiest lady in the world."