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Back taxes force 5th Avenue Sandwich to close, owner says

5th Avenue Sandwich Shop closes to shock of Olympia sandwich lovers

Owner Bonnie Elsey announced that she will close the popular sandwich shop after delays in getting opening approval, increases in minimum wage and accumulating back taxes proved too much to overcome.
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Owner Bonnie Elsey announced that she will close the popular sandwich shop after delays in getting opening approval, increases in minimum wage and accumulating back taxes proved too much to overcome.

In a stunning turn of events, 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop, a longtime business that moved from Fifth Avenue to Legion Way in downtown Olympia last summer, closed its doors Thursday, the owner announced.

Owner Bonnie Elsey said late Wednesday that she is behind on her taxes, both to the state Department of Revenue and Internal Revenue Service. Combined, she owes $37,000, she said.

Elsey wanted to make this clear: 5th on 4th Sandwich Shop, which is on Fourth Avenue at Quince Street Northeast, is unaffected by her decision because it’s a separate business run by her daughter and her husband.

Elsey ran the sandwich shop for a dozen years on Fifth Avenue, then decided to expand into a larger location on Legion Way, inside the Olympian Hotel building. The space was once occupied by a restaurant and bar called Urban Onion.

But the relocation process took six weeks, which was longer than expected. During that time, Elsey missed out on a month and a half of revenue.

“It totally killed me,” Elsey said.

She also expanded to breakfast and dinner, but those hours weren’t as successful as lunch, she said.

In addition, the cost of doing business just continued to escalate, including the higher minimum wage that took effect Jan. 1.

The business is for sale. Elsey said at a minimum she will accept $75,000 for it.

It’s the second sudden closure of a prominent restaurant downtown in as many months. In late December, the owners of Ramblin’ Jacks pulled the plug with a short announcement on Facebook.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.
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