When Brenda Lloyd started working at The Sweet Stop and Sandwich Shoppe in Preston four years ago, she never dreamed that she would one day own it.
Lloyd is originally from Iowa, but she now lives outside of Wykoff with her fiance Mike Eickhoff and their three kids, Tiana (18), Zachary (15), and Kirah (8). “I’ve just always been drawn to Minnesota,” she said. “I’m a transplant, but I think I’ve planted very well.”
Current owner Joanne Szuch first started toying with the idea of selling the restaurant about four years ago. At one point, she had a buyer, but the sale fell through. So, she put it on the back burner and kept going. After the original buyer cancelled the sale, Lloyd expressed an interest in purchasing the restaurant if and when Szuch decided to try to sell it again.
The summer of 2016 was a turning point for Szuch. “It burned me out,” she said. She was definitely ready to be done so in December of last year, she asked Lloyd if she was still interested. When she said yes, Szuch informed her that she was ready to sell and wanted to give her the option of buying it before anyone else.
Lloyd jumped at the chance, and things began moving quickly. “I didn’t think it would happen for a few more years,” she admitted. “But everything just kind of fell into place.”
Szuch offered to stay on as an employee to help Lloyd with the transition to owner and Lloyd accepted. “I’ll get all of the fun and none of the stress,” Szuch laughed. She’s looking forward to having several days a week off along with winters.
Szuch is confident in Lloyd’s capability to run The Sweet Stop and Sandwich Shoppe. “She knows how brutal it can be (to own a business),” Szuch said. “I would never sell this restaurant to someone without giving them all the information because I want them to succeed. I’ve worked too hard on this place to watch it fail.”
“I’m a little bit nervous, but very excited,” Lloyd laughed. However, she’s ready for the challenge of running her own restaurant. Szuch has entrusted her with it when she’s been on vacation and Lloyd knows the place like the back of her hand. She’s also familiar with the customers, a plus in a small community like Preston.
Lloyd has no plans to change the menu at the restaurant. She will continue to serve sandwiches, cake, cheesecake, cookies, homemade soups, salads, and more. “I want to kind of keep everything the same,” she said. “Don’t fix it if it’s not broken!”
Lloyd’s whole family will be getting in on the restaurant. Her fiance will work there on the weekends and during the winter months, and her daughter Tiana already has plans to work at the shop this summer. Eight-year-old Kirah will accompany her mom to the restaurant on occasion and likes to help out by washing the tables.
Ownership officially passed from Szuch to Lloyd on July 1, and Lloyd hosted an unofficial open house at The Sweet Stop that day to celebrate. Her whole family, including her parents were there to celebrate and meet many of the Sweet Stop’s customers.
The hours for The Sweet Stop and Sandwich Shoppe will remain the same. Monday through Friday it’s open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturdays it’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. During the winter months, it will be closed on Sundays, open 7:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.