Harry Potter Festival organizers close Edgerton cafe

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Jim Dayton
Friday, July 14, 2017

EDGERTON—Edgerton’s Depot Café, whose owners brought Harry Potter Festival to the city for two years before moving it to Jefferson, has closed.

Owners Scott and Rob Cramer shut down the restaurant at the end of June. The brothers recently purchased a 10-unit mall building in Jefferson and need to focus their efforts on overseeing those tenants, Rob said.

The brothers spent four years running the Depot Café, which served traditional breakfast and lunch cuisine.

Rob said interacting with Edgerton residents and visitors was the best part of operating the restaurant. But with Harry Potter Festival now moving to Jefferson, it was time to direct their attention elsewhere, he said.

“One of the big purposes of what we do is we want to help downtown areas and areas that might need lifting up and energy and stimulating the economy,” Rob said. “Since the festival moved here, that’s where we want to spend that time.”

The Cramers’ decision to move the festival came after a mild local controversy in January. The brothers operated the event in Edgerton for two years before other cities contacted them and suggested moving it, as previously reported by The Gazette.

Other locations offered the Cramers incentive packages. As those items added up, the brothers presented a 27-item request to the Edgerton City Council to see if the city could convince them to stay.

The council approved the items it normally provides to other local festivals, but more ambitious requests were swiftly rejected.

If everything had been approved, Edgerton would have paid the festival more than $100,000.

Later that month, Jefferson agreed to pay $25,000 for marketing and between $15,000 and $25,000 for security and other operational costs. The Cramers agreed to use festival proceeds to reimburse the city.

The brothers did not ask Jefferson for any of the extravagant items it had requested of Edgerton.

Reached Thursday by phone, Rob told The Gazette preparations for this year’s Harry Potter Festival were ahead of schedule. The event is scheduled for Oct. 20-22.

The city-owned building that housed Depot Café was a train station for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. After passenger train service ended in the 1970s, the station fell into disrepair before being renovated in 2006, City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said.

It then became home of the Edgerton Chamber of Commerce and later another café before the Cramers took over. The chamber leases the building, so it will be the lead entity for finding a replacement tenant, she said.

“I’m sorry to see any business close in Edgerton,” Flanigan said. “We’re always hopeful if one business goes, another will take its place and contribute to economics in downtown.”

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