Soon we'll be adding the beloved Chicken Coop of Constantine, MI to the list of recent restaurant closures. With only just over two week's notice, owner Tom Staines has announced his imminent retirement and with it, the closure of the Chicken Coop.

In a Facebook post shared on Sunday, May 15 on the official Chicken Coop of Constantine page Tom wrote,

I need to share to all my loyal customers and patrons that supported me over the years, the time has finally come for me to retire. And we will be closing the store down on Friday May 27th. Thank you all so much for supporting me and this is the toughest decision I ever had to make.

The business has been a staple of the Constantine community just like the Staines family. Tom's dad originally opened the location and Tom took it over in later years. It seems as though Tom treated his employees just like members of his own family. Just earlier this month Tom announced the restaurant's temporary closure due to lack of staff on prom night. Said Tom,

We will be closed next Saturday May 21st. I have 3 employees that are going to prom, no way I’m gonna make them work. We are understaffed like most of the country.

The way the family-friendly restaurant operated, it's no surprise just how far some would drive for Tom's chicken! Patrons drove from Kokomo, IN, Granger, IN, and Kalamazoo just to eat at the Chicken Coop of Constantine. Naturally, news of Tom's retirement and the restaurant's closure was met with mixed emotions. Many saying they were happy for Tom but sad to see the restaurant go.

Jenn Jenn:

As much as this saddens me, you have given us all so much of your time. Thank you for being around for as long as you have. Many blessing to you and your family. We will all miss you and your food!! Thank you Tom and crew!!

Heather Gottschalk Swinsick:

Sorry to see you go but as a fellow foodie I know how hard you and your staff work! Enjoy retirement!!

According to the official website, "The first Chicken Coop Restaurant franchise store was opened in 1966 and since then has grown throughout Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana." It's sad to hear the news that there will be one less location in southwest Michigan, but we wish Tom a happy retirement. I will choose to remain hopeful that some fried-chicken-fanatic will purchase the business and keep the fryers going!

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