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Local Business Team Branches Out

Performance Industrial has experienced much success in the commercial and industrial cleaning industry. The family-owned business is continuing to grow, but the leaders of the business are expanding into a new industry…

Owners Bill and Karen Miller are teaming up with operations manager Sean Willcoxon, and his wife Jaimee, to run Tinney’s Tavern. The four purchased the well-known restaurant at the end of April and ever since have worked tirelessly to refresh the building, while maintaining everything people love about Tinney’s.

Sean has a long experience working in the hospitality industry. He explained that he was born and raised in hospitality. “My parents owned restaurants, my uncle owned restaurants.” At only 12 years old, he began his career in the family business. Sean worked hard and, as he got older, continued to move up in the industry. He became the Vice President of Catering for Mazzone Hospitality, which collected around $25-million a year and was composed of about 500 staff members. After 26 years of a successful career, Sean decided to leave: “I was looking for a little bit less of the full-time, everyday all day, massive full scale food service,” he explained.

Sean was on the board for Folds of Honor, an organization that helps provide for families of fallen or disabled service members. Bill is a huge supporter of the organization, so Sean had heard of him before, but the two actually met while attending an American Cancer Society event. They became good friends and would often meet to play golf together.

When he decided to leave Mazzone Hospitality, Sean started working for Performance Industrial as the operations manager… However, it wasn’t long before Sean decided he wasn’t completely done working in hospitality. “About six months into my work with Bill, everything was going great, but I had an itch to keep doing food and beverage a little bit, at least on the side,” said Sean.

Bill then suggested that the two team up. He proposed they buy a local restaurant, hire a manager to deal with day to day tasks, and they can be there for support. This would allow Sean to continue working at Performance Industrial, while still getting to work in the hospitality industry without having to be there everyday. After considering the offer, Sean decided it was the right decision and the search for which restaurant to buy began. They wanted to find a local place, and during their search they discovered Tinney’s Tavern.

First established in the 1950s, Tinney’s is located on Lake Desolation. It is extremely popular among snowmobilers, as there are several trails surrounding the lake. Known for great food and a friendly atmosphere, Bill and Sean agreed it was the right location: “It has a great community following and so it was really a no brainer to try to go after it,” explained Sean. At the end of April, ownership officially transferred over to Sean, Jaimee, Bill and Karen.

Once they took over, Tinney’s closed so they could do some much needed renovations. Between both of their experiences at Performance Industrial, they were more than qualified for the job where kitchen exhaust systems are a huge part of the business. “When you get to understand how the kitchens actually work from the mechanical side, everything you know makes you better and stronger,” explained Sean.

In terms of ensuring both businesses continue to thrive, they hired an extremely talented and dedicated manager, Hannah Grady. “This is really going to be Hannah’s place to run,” said Sean. “We’re going to be there to support her, and our focus is going to be everyday making sure Performance Industrial continues to do great things too.”

Overall, they want to make as few changes to Tinney’s as possible: “We’re actually keeping Tinney’s as a whole very much the same,” explained Sean, “We’re just giving it a fresh coat of paint, a little bit of new lighting, (and an) additional TV.”

Loyal customers can rest easy knowing the restaurant is not going through any drastic changes, but every renovation done is going to make the place even greater than it was before. The same goes for Tinney’s food. When the restaurant reopens, people will be pleased to know their favorite meals are still going to be served: “The expectation of the food is to be great, but it’s (also) going to be classic. Wood-fired pizzas, burgers, wings, a very small Italian section, got to add it because I have an Italian background,” Sean explained.

In addition to the renovations and great food, guests can go to Tinney’s knowing they’ll leave with a smile on their face. “We’re going to lead with hospitality and do the best we can to make sure everybody’s experience is, first and foremost, our top priority,” Sean said.

He went on to explain how he wants every person to leave feeling like they “felt like they belonged there. That they felt like they weren’t just another restaurant person, but they were part of the Tinney’s family.”

Overall, the reopening will be celebrated by both those who have loved Tinney’s for years, and people just discovering the tavern for the first time. Between the menu selection, beautiful scenery, and friendly staff everyone is sure to have an excellent experience at Tinney’s Tavern.

For more information about the restaurant, to see the menu and more, visit: www.tinneystavern.com