After 31 years, Trent bar changes ownership

Trent’s biggest business, Steve’s Place, is being sold, but the establishment will stay in the family.
Owner Steve Erickson is retiring and selling the business he’s owned for 31 years. His daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Terry Javers, are buying the bar and grill. They will take ownership April 1 after a city hearing on the transfer of the liquor license.
“I’ll be close by. Being in the family, I’ll still be there helping a little bit here and there,” said Erickson who grew up east of Trent and lives on Lake Brant.
Erickson, 69, bought the bar while he was working at John Morrell & Co. and employees went on strike. He knew he needed to try something else so he bought the bar, which was called the Villa Rec.
“It’s gone by fast. I thought maybe I’d be there five years and now it’s been 31 years,” he said.
He has enjoyed the business that has been steady year around, thanks in part to the recreation generated from the Big Sioux River with canoeists in summer and snowmobilers in winter.
“I enjoyed the summer more than anything,” he said. The bar hosted outdoor events and brought in customers from surrounding communities. Over the years, Steve’s Place has increased its food service, also popular with the locals.
The establishment serves prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights, and its fresh burgers and steak specials also are popular, he said. He appreciates the customers who have supported him over the years.
Erickson is scheduled to return from his winter home in Arizona on March 27. “I’ll be there until the first of April if anybody wants to come see me.”
The Javers, from Chester, recently sold the Shipwreck Bar and Grill on Brant Lake, which they also bought from Erickson, and are buying the Trent establishment, Terry Javers said.
“Steve was wanting to sell it,” he said of the Trent bar. “We kind of want to keep it in the family.”
They will continue the food specials and plan to have more outside music events, benefits, and poker and car runs.
“We’re not going to change much of anything,” Javers said. His wife will manage Steve’s Place, while he will continue to operate his home building business. They also have a rental property business.
Erickson plans to visit the bar offering fatherly advice and doing some maintenance if needed, he said. But he trusts the new owners. “They’ve got some good ideas they’re going to come up with.”


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