The Upfront & Company in downtown Marquette is set to close its doors this weekend. According to restaurant management, there's no official reason behind the closure.
Upfront & Co.'s owner, Rhys Mussman, released a statement Thursday: "Corporate has issued no statement concerning closure. The club has issued no statement of closure. As of this time, no statement will be made."
On Wednesday night, management notified staff the restaurant, bar and night club would be closed indefinitely by Saturday. The announcement came as a shock to many of the employees.
"Honestly, I'm speechless. I don't know what to say," said Chaise Katzer, a bartender at Upfront. "This bar has been around for a long time, even before I came."
Like many of the other 70 plus workers, Katzer is a Northern Michigan University student, working part time on the weekends.
Katzer places the blame for the closure squarely on Mussman.
"Personally, I think it's Rhys' fault," Katzer said. "What he's doing to this place is, he is not really giving consideration to other people, and it makes everybody upset, as well as myself, that he's just putting 70 plus people out of jobs."
In its 12 year history, Upfront has gained a reputation for its classic American dining and live entertainment. The multi-million dollar facility, located in the heart of downtown Marquette, has become a staple in the city's culture.
"It's certainly going to impact the choices that people have when they come down to eat," said Mona Lang, Executive Director of the Downtown Development Marquette Authority. "It is one of our premiere restaurants, obviously a premiere entertainment venue. It will be a loss."
The banquet hall will remain open and continue to honor contracts indefinitely.
Despite the bar and restaurant closing, staff say renovations are planned, including new flooring. However, no timetable has been set for the project's completion, nor has it been announced if the facility will reopen in the future.
On Thursday, TV6 News contacted Upfront's corporate office, however, Mussman was unavailable to comment.
The Upfront's restaurant, bar and club will be closed to the public from 9 p.m. to midnight on Saturday for a private event. The facility will then reopen at midnight before finally closing at 2 a.m.