Shutdown takes toll: HopCat closing bars; vows to try to reopen

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — About a week after shutting down to curb the spread of COVID-19, HopCat is now closing its locations.

“With heavy hearts and no dry eyes,” the Grand Rapids-based bar and restaurant chain announced its closure on Facebook Friday night.

Hopcat said the mandated closure of its restaurants eliminated its ability to make the money needed to keep its staff employed and 17 locations running.

“We fully expect this to be temporary. Once we all make it through this nightmare (and we will!) we will move as fast as we can to hire back our awesome and loving people so we can get back to serving great beer and food to our guests,” HopCat vowed in Friday’s post.     

“If you pour one out for HopCat today, you better be ready to have a celebratory pint with us once we open back up,” the restaurant concluded.

HopCat has been open since January 2008, weathering much of the Great Recession and expanding to eight states. However, the company says the coronavirus pandemic response has hit the service industry especially hard. On Monday, HopCat announced it was permanently closing its bar in St. Louis, Missouri.

HopCat owner Barfly Ventures also owns Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and Stella’s Lounge, which also temporarily shut down under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order.

Barfly Ventures also organizes Irish on Ionia, which the company announced last week would be postponed until late summer because of state directives aimed at “flattening the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unclear if the status of the event has changed.

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