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Victoria bistro, Simply Delicious, set to close

ALLISON MILES

By ALLISON MILES
Sept. 14, 2012 at 4:14 a.m.

Simply Delicious,  215 S. Main St. in Victoria, is closing permanently. The owners said it was a financial  struggle to keep the business open.

A Victoria eatery aimed at bringing something different to Victoria is looking for a miracle to keep its doors open.

Owners of Simply Delicious, a downtown bistro at 215 S. Main St., expect to close permanently Friday evening.

The shop opened for business in March, shortly after Longleaf Coffee Co. closed. At the time, the bistro was a new beginning for the family.

Joe Hurst, a construction worker and the family's sole breadwinner, lost thousands of dollars in uninsured equipment and tools to an October trailer theft. With longtime dreams of opening an eatery, Stacey Hurst said, the family decided to take the leap.

They took out a small home equity loan and set out to offer healthier, whole-grain options to the Crossroads.

"We were trying to change it from being a drive-through, fast-food, white-bread town," she said. "We weren't just out to make a living. We wanted to make a difference."

Thus, the Hursts, along with daughters - Autumn, Winter and Spring - opened their doors to Victoria.

The response was positive, said Hurst, noting the restaurant never touted itself as offering up health food, but educated people about the benefits of freshly-ground flour, whole grains and the like.

Still, it remained a struggle.

Hefty overhead costs, combined with food expenses and low downtown traffic, made for difficult circumstances.

Her husband worked at the bistro from 4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and then took additional work on nights and weekends to help make ends meet.

Hurst and her daughters, meanwhile, worked through the day and completed their homeschooling after hours.

During the summer, with school out, she said even her daughters put in 50 hours a week at work.

Eventually, Hurst said, the numbers just didn't add up. Unless something else came along, the family would have to close.

"The decision was strictly financial," she said. "We have a passion for what we're doing, but we just don't really see a way around it."

Nicole Moore, a spokeswoman for Keith and Cindy Moore, who own Simply Delicious's building, said they have no plans for the site but hoped to either lease or sell to someone who would support downtown Victoria.

By Thursday afternoon, although Hurst said there didn't appear to be an alternative to closing, the family held out hope for something miraculous.

After all, it had happened before.

The day of that October theft, she said her husband came to her downtrodden and upset. She wrapped her arms around him, assured him he was more than his tools and, referencing the main character from "It's a Wonderful Life," a Christmas movie tradition for the family, told him he was her "George Bailey."

"That night, friends started calling to donate tools and see what they could do to help," she said, dabbing at damp eyes. "We've always been taken care of before. You can't give up hope."

Looking forward, Hurst said she didn't know what the future held. Then again, she said, a person isn't supposed to know.

Whatever happens, she said she's glad they took a chance with Simply Delicious.

"We just didn't want to be a 'What if?' family," she said. "Sometimes when God closes a door, he opens a window. Who knows what's around the corner?"

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