By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
STEVENSVILLE — After sitting dormant for nearly two years, the 5 O’Clock Sports Bar & Restaurant has a new owner.
And no, it isn’t Olive Garden.
Haji Tehrani, CEO and president of Drive and Shine, bought the property at 5000 Red Arrow Highway in February with the intention of opening a car wash in Stevensville.
“We are in the car care business,” Tehran said in a Thursday phone interview. “We offer oil changes, car washes and detailing. In car washing, we do it in full service. I prefer to think of it as a ‘car care center.’”
Tehrani owns six other car wash stations throughout Indiana, including ones in Lake, Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.
This will be the company’s first venture in the Michigan market. Tehrani, whose car wash operations serve the northern half of Indiana, said they have also considered locations in southern Indiana.
“The property was attractive to us,” Tehrani said when asked about the former sports bar. “We don’t have a target date for construction. We have quite a bit of holdings in real estate, but with this being right off I-94 and across from Meijer, it seemed like a no-brainer.”
Tehrani said he and his company drove by the property several times before reaching out to its seller.
Drive and Shine had actually shown interest in another Southwest Michigan location a couple years ago. However, like a lot of business dealings, Tehrani said that fell through.
“The building will go down,” Tehrani said in reference to 5 O’Clock. “In its current condition, that would serve us no purpose. It would be more cost effective to start from scratch. We’ve already had one bid on what it will take.”
Michael Wittlieff, the former general manager of the sports bar, has made no secret of his aspirations for selling the business and having a third party renovate the place to its former glory.
Now that a car wash will open in place of the sports bar, the chances of a restaurant opening along that corridor property are slim to none.
“It’s like owning a boat. You love it the day you buy it, and you’re happy the day you sell it,” Wittlieff said. “We had a lot of great times in there. I’m excited for myself and our family to take our own adventures.”
In mid December, Wittlieff and others placed everything in the building on the auction block in an online liquidation sale through Biddergy.com.
When the sports bar closed in May 2015, Wittlieff said there was a potential buyer out of Chicago in the works. However, the deal ended up falling through.
“We tried to hold off as long as possible. However, both my parents passed away within the last six moths and life hit us all,” Wittlieff said. “It is what it is and we took the offer from Haji. I’m excited to see what it will become.”
While many in the community spoke of the possibility of an Olive Garden setting up shop on the corridor, Wittlieff has repeatedly said those rumors were untrue.
The restaurant, formerly known as Win Schuler’s, was closed by the Schuler family before opening again in January 2006 as 5 O’Clock.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 31, 2017)