Top 10 – #4 The Ultimate Sports Bar Fire
WAITE PARK -- Today we look at the #4 story of our Top 10 of 2020, the fire that destroyed the Ultimate Sports Bar in Waite Park, and efforts by owner Tom Frericks to rebuild.
On the morning of April 6th, Frericks watched as 34 years of his life went up in flames.
The fire started in a storage room area but the State Fire Marshal's Office ruled the cause as undetermined. The building was a total loss.
From there, Frericks decided he would rebuild the bar from the ground up and the way he'd always envisioned it could be. As the coronavirus shutdowns came about, Frericks says there was no rush to get going.
Since then, he's watched as others in his industry struggle to make it amid the governor's shutdown...
The sad part is, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I think there's going to be a lot less competition that many of us are going to have to deal with in May, June, and July because of what this disease, sickness and lack of intelligence in the government and what it has done to our industry. Unfortunately, I think many of them won't survive.
Frericks says the emptiness he felt when the fire took his business has been replaced by feeling blessed. He says it's tough to watch others in the bar and restaurant industry fight to keep their businesses...
I do think that, with all fairness, those who can stay on their feet are going to have good opportunities because it's been a year of pure hell, to be truthful, and people want to get moving.
Frericks was targeting March 1st to open the new Ultimate, but he says delays related to the coronavirus pandemic has pushed his opening back to May 1st.
The new bar and restaurant will be more spacious and include an open-air dining experience along with the return of the large outdoor patio.
Coming up on our Top 10 list tomorrow, we look at #3 on our list, another restaurant and bar that added a location just as the pandemic set in.