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Christopher M. “Kit“ Keyes, 68, died Sept. 7, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee.
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8/21/2019
Depsite new owners, Sweet Mermaids retains its charm: New owners Cape Fox Lodge, same Sweet Mermaids menu and staff
Sidewalk and street traffic reflect off the Sweet Mermaids’ storefront window on Aug. 14 on Front Street. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek


By RAEGAN MILLER
Daily News Staff Writer

Sweet Mermaids, a coffee shop and eatery on Front Street, was officially purchased this spring by Cape Fox Lodge.

First opened in 2010 by Deb Hanas and Shirley Jensen, Sweet Mermaids serves a variety of beverages – including smoothies, coffee and tea – in addition to a menu of baked goods, sandwiches and breakfast options.

According to Tim Lewis, a commercial business manager for Cape Fox Lodge, the lodge is in “growth mode” and has been trying to expand its community presence by purchasing small local businesses.

Sweet Mermaids is the second business to be bought by the lodge, after the purchase of the Dockside Galley last year.

Earlier this year, Sweet Mermaids was placed for sale by Hanas and Jensen, who were looking to retire.

Soon after the business went up for sale, Lewis said that he found himself sitting next to Jensen on an airplane. During the flight, they decided that Cape Fox Lodge would pursue the purchase of the business.

After a series of meetings between Lewis, the current owners and the staff, Cape Fox Lodge took over ownership of the business.

Lewis estimated it took two months for the deal to become official.

The change went into effect March 1 of this year.

“It happened so quick,” Lewis said in a recent interview.

Now, months after the shop changed ownership, business is still running smoothly, according to manager Andee Purser. Purser has been working at Sweet Mermaids since 2017, and became the manager at the same time that Cape Fox bought the business.

Purser said that nothing had changed in the physical space of Sweet Mermaids.

The shop's menu, merchandise and location has remained the same since the lodge bought the business.

“They bought this place because it was good on its own,” Purser said, gesturing to the busy shop's interior.

Lewis added that the staff of Sweet Mermaids had “poured their heart and soul” into the business.

While Purser said that some staff members might have been “shocked” when Cape Fox first expressed interest in buying the space, there have been no complications to staff or the management of day-to-day operations.

“I had no worries, I kind of had a feeling,” Purser said about learning of the deal. “(It was) a really smooth transition.”

Staffing at Sweet Mermaids did not change in response to the new ownership. Lewis said that all staff were offered to keep their current jobs when Cape Fox Lodge bought the store. Sweet Mermaids currently has 10 staff members, including servers, baristas and cooks.

 Purser said she believed that the baked goods offered at Sweet Mermaids have been of an even better quality since Cape Fox Lodge bought the business.