After three years of service in Ponoka, Cilantro and Chive is moving to Lacombe.
Owner Rieley Kay first gave hint of the decision Monday, April 27 after posting a picture of a mystery box on their social media sites. The next day, the company announced that its lease is coming to an end in November at their restaurant.
Kay said in an interview the decision did not come lightly but being able to own their facility was a key factor. He said the price was right for their needs as well. Every since he made the announcement, positive feedback has been coming in from excited Lacombe residents to sad, but supportive, Ponoka customers.
“Owning the building is huge for us. We are going into a blank slate with a building that’s never been used as a restaurant before,” said Kay.
He hopes to continue the success he has seen in Ponoka and is grateful to the loyal fans over the years. Kay said at first there was some apprehension that there would be little interest in the company’s interesting business model but that worry proved unfounded.
“I can’t say enough about Ponoka,” Kay stated.
The new restaurant in Lacombe also increases their seating capacity from 60 to 80 people and Kay said he hopes to continue a positive relationship all his Ponoka customers.
Chamber of Commerce role to aid members
While the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce is here to aid its members, it cannot get involved with the business decisions of a company, said chamber president Jim Hamilton in response to questions from Ponoka News.
“Our job as a chamber is to support the existing businesses in town,” he said.
While Cilantro and Chive’s move is seen with disappointment, Hamilton said the main role of the chamber is to advocate for its members and to step in if there are roadblocks from all three levels of government.
When asked if the chamber could step in when a building owner’s rates may be too high, Hamilton replied that the chamber can provide comparative prices of other communities, but cannot tell a building owner how to run their business.
He suggests that is more of an economic development decision. Hamilton added the town has never approached the chamber to work collaboratively with the chamber but he welcomes discussion with the town and the economic development board.