SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE
From left, Mary Beth Hansen and Alison Thomas have purchased
all 10 Peach's restaurants in Manatee and Sarasota counties
and its catering business.
HOLMES BEACH – Peach's restaurant in Holmes Beach and the chain's other nine local branches have new owners, including a former Peach's waitress.
A&M Partnership Holdings LLC principals are Alison Thomas, of Palmetto, who formerly worked at Peach's in Ellenton, and caterer Mary Beth Hansen, of Nokomis, along with unnamed "angel" investors, as Thomas calls them.
"It was meant to be," said Thomas, adding that she has experience doing all jobs in the restaurant business, including running a catering company, Perfect Party, for five years with Hansen. The pair also purchased Peach's catering business.
Her hands-on experience will help her manage employees, the former waitress said.
"It's a hard job," Thomas said. "I know what they need."
"We're very excited," said Hansen, who also has operated two restaurants in Michigan, the Keystone Bakery and The Main Course. "Peach's is a 21-year-old tradition in Manatee and Sarasota counties."
All 10 restaurants in Holmes Beach, Bradenton, Ellenton, Venice and Sarasota will remain open and menus will change little, although new specials will be offered and possibly added permanently if diners enjoy them, Hansen said, adding, "We will not make any major changes, just freshen it up a bit."
The popular breakfast and lunch chain will not expand to offer dinner, they said.
The sale closed on Dec. 7, 2010, but is subject to court and creditor approval of the termination of Peach's corporate receivership, a formality expected soon, according to Bradenton attorney Nelon Kirkland, who represents former Peach's owner Michael Luciano.
Luciano, whose nickname is "Peach," founded the restaurant in 1985 in New Hampshire, expanding to Florida in 1990.
The companies will be in "fairly good shape" coming out of receivership, said Sarasota attorney Morgan Bentley, who represents the Peach's corporations.
"Receivership is supposed to give businesses breathing space to get their house in order, and it did," he said.
The companies have been in receivership since August, 2009, after a bank foreclosure was filed for more than $1 million.
The process has been "a roller coaster ride," according to Luciano, including a purchase bid made by Sarasota investor Dennis Holly, who later opted out.