The Bahama Mamma tiki bar in Cape Coral is closing its doors. The owner, Mr. Lee Mahatzke had taken over an abandoned drive-through bank branch and turned it into a well-known establishment in the area.
It was in 2010 when he prepared to open an affordable place where locals could relax and enjoy themselves. As the bar opened for its final day last week, the owner is walking away from his dream. This is a classic example of where an economic collapse coupled by a business misstep eventually led the bar into closure.
Mr. Mahatzke also has another branch over the Flamingo Island Flea in Bonita Springs. This store started its operations back in 2006 and its growth had tripled over the past few years.
Like any other entrepreneur, he searched for a good location to open a bar when another locally favored watering hole in the area had folded its business. He saw an opportunity where residents and visitors can unwind and socialize over drinks.
The businessman found a good location in an abandoned bank drive through and had started to work on the place. He had also made some renovations and opened his bar in March 2010. He followed the same business sample that he had with his branch in Bonita Springs
, which offered live music and cheap food and drinks.
Despite having created a loyal following in Cape Coral, Bahama Mamma was not able to copy the successes of its sister branch. The Bonita Spring branch is open during Fridays up to the weekend while the Cape Coral branch was open 7 days a week. Although both branches may have similar sales figures, the latter branch had also gained higher overhead costs.
The previous owner of the location where the Bahama Mamma was located had forfeited and the property had gone to foreclosure. Mr. Mahatzke was also advised that the property was sold and a Chase Bank was to be built in the property. He had to deal with realtors, property managers and other banking officials that would be building the branch but all he got was the runaround. In the end, the bank dropped its plans of building a branch but the property was still sold at an auction and Mr. Mahatzke was given an eviction notice. He was initially offered a lease by the new owners but the cost was too much for his business to bear.