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Although the overall climate of the Maple Lake business community was upbeat in the past year, there were, unfortunately, a few down-tics, including the departure of Wright Aero and the closing of Bonnie’s Maple Lake Cafe.
Effective Dec. 31, 2012, Wright Aero, Inc., relocated its main offices to its St. Cloud facility.
Wright Aero President Bill Mavencamp cited economic conditions as the cause for the change and said he pondered the decision for two years before leaving the community.
Flight training had dropped substantially, finding pilots and instructors from the area had proven difficult over the past 15 years and employment had dwindled from nine employees to five, all of whom had an opportunity to relocate to St. Cloud.
Mavencamp’s father, Bill Mavencamp Sr., had been instrumental in establishing the municipal airport in 1967 and Wright Aero had provided flight school and charter flight service from the Maple Lake location for three
“It’s been nice for me,”
Mavencamp said of running his flight services locally. “It’s been convenient to work where I live, and it’s been nice to deal with a city that’s been so helpful and supportive.”
While Wright Aero has served as the airport’s fixed base operator, Mavencamp clarified an FBO is not required for airport operation.
“The airport will go on,” he said. “It doesn’t need me to survive. But I’m very sorry to be leaving. From a company standpoint, the decision was easy, but from a personal standpoint, it’s very hard. This is a pretty sad day for me, actually.”
Bonnie’s Maple Lake Cafe, owned for nearly nine years by Bonnie and Rod Eastham of South Haven, has closed its doors.
The following note was posted on the door: “Due to economic hard times, the cafe will be closing permanently as of Sunday, May 6. Thank you for your patronage.”
On Monday, Bonnie Eastham said the current economic conditions are hard on restaurants. But she said she will miss her customers.
“Basically, our experience in the town was good,” she said.
Eastham said an effort was made to sell the business, but it didn’t work out. She said she will now work on selling her equipment and furnishings.