Owner: Everything But Anchovies Was No Longer Profitable (Video with Radio Jingle)

By Jordan Cuddemi

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 05-19-2017 12:17 AM

Hanover — The owner of Everything But Anchovies opened up on Wednesday about the reasons behind the abrupt closing of the landmark pizza shop, saying the business hadn’t been profitable since November.

Maureen Bogosian said changes in the restaurant business, competition from a growing number of establishments and high rent payments were three of a handful of factors that led to the financial downturn of the Hanover eatery, which was long popular with Dartmouth College students.

“It was a perfect storm of many, many things,” said Bogosian, who started the business in 1979 at age 23. “It is harder and harder to make a living.”

Fewer people are going out to eat, new eateries — such as Domino’s Pizza in West Lebanon — cut into revenue, and not owning the building that housed the restaurant meant Bogosian had little collateral needed to stay viable, the 61-year-old said.

Another factor that contributed to the business’ decline was the decision by Dartmouth College about five years ago to extend its winter break from four to six weeks, she said.

“It’s like you missing out on six weeks of pay,” Bogosian said.

Bogosian tried to adapt to the cards she was dealt, such as staying open an hour later on weekends to compete with a competitor’s late night delivery options, for example, but she couldn’t recover.

Tuesday was the start of a new pay period for the restaurant, and Bogosian met with her finance person early that morning. At that meeting, she said, it became apparent to her that staying open another week was a losing proposition.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Man pleads guilty to misleading clients as unlicensed contractor
Enfield rejects appeals of approvals for housing development
Wednesday’s low-level earthquake had epicenter in Haverhill area
Arts group to perform Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ outdoors
Hanover asks judge to reconsider ruling on arrest reports
Claremont business owners balk at special assessment for Washington Street paving

“We weren’t going to come out ahead,” Bogosian said.

She decided to pull the plug on the business at 8:38 a.m. on Tuesday, she said, and that is why she didn’t provide her 48 employees with prior notice about the closing.

“We didn’t know,” Bogosian said. “Some people are upset. … We want them to know (the decision) wasn’t made easily.”

Bogosian’s four children, Margaret, Lauren, Eddy and David, were all at the restaurant on Wednesday and participated in handing out the restaurant’s signature chicken sandwiches — on the house. The kitchen still had food and supplies on hand, so Bogosian decided one last time she wanted to give back to the community that has supported her for so long.

“On a positive note, we’ve got a lot of extra food. If you’re in the area and want some of the last EBAs food ever, stop by for some free grub,” Margaret Bogosian wrote on her Facebook page.

Several people took the Bogosians up on the offer.

Eddy Bogosian, a manager who had worked at EBAs since 1996, manned the kitchen on Wednesday.

“You always think there is a chance of getting out (of a tenuous financial situation),” he said while preparing the free sandwiches.

He said he has mixed feelings about the closing. Though it’s upsetting, he also felt a sense of relief.

“It was fun when it was fun, but suffering is not fun,” Eddy Bogosian said.

Maureen Bogosian’s sister, Amanda Dowd-DeRoy, who managed the business, was at the restaurant on Wednesday, and their brother, Mickey Dowd, who operates Mickey’s Roadside Cafe in Enfield, also visited.

The sisters donated some of EBAs’ extra inventory to local nonprofits, including Turning Points Network, the Listen Center, Willing Hands and Willow Grove, and Mickey Dowd took some back with him back to Enfield.

Mickey Dowd, who at one time owned both the Lyme Inn and Dowd’s Country Inn, both in Lyme, worked at EBAs for 10 years in the 1980s, as did most of his 10 brothers and sisters.

“It is very demanding,” Dowd said of the industry. “Not many restaurants last this long.”

Dowd, who started Mickey’s 12 years ago, said his business is profitable. One thing he has going for him, he said, is that he owns the building that houses his business, which affords him more flexibility.

“The overhead here is hard,” Dowd said of EBAs. “That’s one lesson I learned. … I purchased the real estate.”

Rents are high, especially in Hanover, Dowd and Bogosian said; she declined to discuss specifics of what she paid to occupy its space at 5 Allen St.

Tim Cullen, owner of Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizzeria on East South Street, also rents his space and acknowledged the market in Hanover is expensive. “I don’t think anyone would argue that,” he said.

Cullen said he too noticed delivery “ticked down” when Dominos Pizza opened last fall. Anytime a new restaurant opens revenues fluctuate, he said, but his store has been able to recover.

Residents, including Cullen, are still trying to get over the shock of the sudden closing.

“It’s just terrible,” Cullen said. “They made it work for a really long time in a really hard industry.”

Canoe Club Owner John Chapin expressed similar sentiment.

“I was deeply saddened by their departure from the scene,” said Chapin, who added that Bogosian’s 38-year run of success was achieved with the “utmost integrity.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.