Paul’s Bistro in Oxford Mills, which closed on January 15

A popular local restaurant and convenience store has closed down, no doubt leaving many North Grenville residents without their favourite place to eat. Paul’s Bistro, located in Oxford Station along County Road 20, officially had its last day of operations on Sunday, January 15. The business had been open for nearly three years. 

Owners Paul and Lisa were sad to let their business go, but for financial reasons, they were left with no choice. The rising costs of products, combined with too few customers, made continued operations impossible for their store and restaurant. In a conversation with the Times, Paul also cited mortgage rates and interest rates as contributing to the closure of his business. 

“I can’t charge $40 for a pizza,” said Paul. “When we had the restaurant open, I wanted people to come two or three times a week. I wanted good affordable food.” Paul explained that he knows of some restaurants that charge exorbitant prices, sometimes resulting in a cost per person in the $100 range. He refused to ever charge customers that kind of money, but with rising costs of food and labour, some other restaurants have had no choice but to drastically raise prices. 

Of all the reasons that Paul and Lisa had to close down, there is one that Paul blames the most – the COVID-19 pandemic. Paul’s Bistro originally had an intended opening date of March 17, 2020. This was right as the pandemic was setting in. Over the following years, two mandated closures hit the restaurant hard, though it recovered relatively well after the closures ended. After a third mandated closure, Paul explained that people seemed to be more hesitant about going out, and the restaurant never recovered in terms of the number of customers coming in. 

“We got busy when we opened the restaurant in July [2020], we were really busy and then they shut us down for Christmas,” Paul explained. “They opened us up after Christmas, we started to get busy again, and then of course they shut us down again.” Paul feels that there has been an attack on small businesses in favour of corporations such as Amazon, with smaller operations being hurt the most during the pandemic. “Restaurants got the short end of the stick,” Paul added. 

Yet another problem that affected Paul’s Bistro – as it has in most industries – is a lack of available staff. “No one wants to work anymore,” said Paul. He explained that many people straight out of high school expect jobs paying in the $20-25 per hour range, with no one willing to work for the minimum wage which is often all small businesses can afford to pay. 

As for Paul and Lisa, they may no longer have Paul’s Bistro, but it doesn’t mean they won’t still be an active part of the community. They will continue to connect with North Grenville through charitable work and community events. In terms of income, they are ready to seek employment and work for someone else instead of working for themselves. “We’re not going anywhere!” Paul added. 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here