A downtown gathering place will close its doors later this month.
The Downtown Deli, owned and operated by Paul Shettell since 2009, will close Nov. 24.
“I was on a five-year-plan and it turned into an eight-year plan,” he joked about his time in the business. “It’s just time to retire from the food-service business. It’s time to slow down. You’ve got to pick and choose.”
Shettell is also a licensed gas pipe fitter, and has continued to work in that industry over the years. He plans to continue part time once the deli closes.
Not only has the Downtown Deli served people for years from its location on King Street West near the Chatham Capitol Theatre, it has also regularly handled catering throughout the community. From 2012 until April of this year, Shettell also operated a satellite location at St. Clair College.
The deli has its share of loyal customers, including a bevy of regulars who would meet and discuss the issues of the day. It’s something Shettell said he’ll miss.
“We certainly liked it,” he said of his time at the deli. “Things would happen throughout the year that would make it the place to be.”
At its peak with two locations and the catering business operating, the deli employed about 10 people in full- and part-time capacities. Now, it’s down to just Shettell and Cindy Killen.
You can take Shettell out of the downtown, but you can’t take the downtown out of Shettell. Despite closing his business in the downtown core, he will remain a part of the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA, serving as co-chair with Jim Carrington. Shettell said he’ll stay on, at least until his term is up in March of 2018.
He said he’ll be a regular visitor to the city core.
“I’ll still come downtown and bother people,” he said. “Besides, I’ll need to look for a new coffee shop.”
Despite his desire to walk away from his business, he knows he’ll “absolutely” miss it.
“How can you not miss it? All the conversations with the locals. I think I know 99 per cent of the people here by name. Everybody is friendly down here. All the merchants are in it to be with the people.”