I’LL HAVE ONE WITH EVERYTHING — The site of the former Country Deli is located on South Cascade Drive in Springville, next to Tim and Bonnie’s Pizza and across the street from Lowe’s Home Improvement. Photos by Jessie Owen.
SPRINGVILLE — Although the log cabin-style structure located across from Lowe’s Home Improvement on South Cascade Drive in Springville has stood vacant for several years, the business will soon be transformed into an old-fashioned hot dog stand, thanks to business partners Rob Ray and Mark Mohr. According to Ray, the purchase of the building should be complete within a week or two and then construction work can begin.
Ray, a former Buffalo Sabres right-winger and current Sabres’ color commentator, said he met Mohr, a Collins resident, years ago, through a mutual friend. “I grew up in an area where I hunted and fished for a long time,” he said. Although he had moved to Buffalo from his native Stirling, Ontario, Ray said he was still interested in pursuing those outdoor pastimes and was introduced to Mohr, fellow adventure-lover and soon-to-be business partner.
Mohr and Ray now run several types of businesses together, although this newest venture will be their first experience with the restaurant industry.
WAITING FOR A FACE LIFT — Rob Ray said he and his business partner, Mark Mohr of Collins, anticipate closing on the former Country Deli structure within a week.
“We were kind of looking at everything,” Ray said. “We’re always trying to bust our brain on something that would be successful and work as a business. We do a lot of hunting and fishing and see a lot of different places along the way, and different things catch your eye. It always came back to this.”
The business partners checked out several sites throughout Western New York, looking as far north as Amherst, where Ray currently resides, but “it didn’t make sense, cost-wise,” Ray said.
The decision was made to purchase a property in Springville, partly because Mohr lives in the area, and partly because Ray said he enjoys and is comfortable in the type of environment Springville offers. “I came from a town of 1,500 people,” he said. “In places like this, you know everybody. I like small towns.”
After the purchase of the former gas station and convenience store is complete, construction will begin on the building’s exterior.
That could happen as early as mid-September. “We are hoping to have the exterior done by wintertime, so we can have it to the point where we have the inside done over the winter,” Ray explained.
Although the business partners are still “throwing names around,” they said they have nailed down “Rayzor’s” as at least part of the business name. Ray was nicknamed Rayzor during his lengthy hockey career and has written a book titled “Rayzor’s Edge,” continuing with the moniker theme.
“Our big thing, too, is finding someone that we trust and can work with, who has experience in this area,” he said. “We have friends that do this now and will be getting direction from them. We’re learning as we go.”
Mohr’s business, Builtwright, will be doing a lot of the construction work. Ray said that the business partners hope to have the location open by next spring and will be hiring local employees. “As far as work force, we’ll have half a dozen people on at a time, at least,” he said.
Although it was not the main reason Ray and Mohr chose to set up shop in Springville, the two took into consideration the fact that current Buffalo Sabre right-winger Patrick Kaleta and his Helping Individuals to Smile Foundation plan to erect a sports complex in the village of Springville.
“We were going to [open the restaurant] anyway and have been talking with Patty for a while about trying to get things going down there,” Ray said. “We’re trying to work with Patty to get the rink up. We want to help keep that in the attention of everyone there; use our business to propel his. It’s one thing to open a restaurant, but [opening a sports complex] takes a lot of money.”
The business will have a “Ted’s-style vibe,” according to Ray. “Everything will be charbroiled; we’ll have custard at one end and the hot dogs will be at the other end,” he said.
The shop will sport a Buffalo Sabres theme and feature an uncomplicated menu. “It won’t be elaborate or crazy,” Ray said. “Just something that’s affordable and easy and something everyone loves.”