The Rise and Fall of The ‘Napa Restaurant’
“The ‘Naperville’ Restaurant” was a restaurant chain that had been operating in Asheville, North Carolina since 1929.
Founded by Joseph N. Boudreau, the Naps had an excellent reputation for good food and great service.
“The Naps,” as it was called, had a reputation for great customer service, but the chain itself was in serious trouble when the financial crisis hit in 2008.
“We had an owner, an investment banker, who told us that he was going to buy up all the restaurants,” recalled restaurant owner and founder, Joe N. “He was going from one restaurant to the next.”
In 2009, Naps parent company, the Boudres, took over the company and merged it with the Berenson family, which had acquired the business in 2001.
The Boudreys were able to keep the Naperville brand intact, but they had to do it quickly.
“It took about three months for the Bodres to realize that we had to go public,” Joe N., said.
“They wanted to be as fast as they could.”
So in 2013, they launched the new Naps Restaurants.
The restaurant chain was not as successful as they had hoped, but at least they had the financial support of a major investor.
They also received an influx of investment dollars.
After two years of growth, the company had to cut costs to make the business work.
“Our cost of capital was $1.6 million.
We were losing money,” said N. He added, “But we knew we were going to be able to make it work, and we knew that we were not going to make that much money from it.”
But the Boulmans were able a quick turnaround and were able get back on the road.
By 2017, they were up to nearly $5 million in debt and still owed almost $3 million.
That money eventually helped them close the business, and in 2018, the new owners, who were from the Bensons, purchased the remaining Naps restaurants and renamed them The Napres.
Joe N.’s vision for the restaurant chain is to continue to grow, create and create jobs.
“This is a family business,” he said.
Nap Restaurant The Naps are owned by the Bursons, who are still listed on the company’s website as the current owners.
“Joe and I started The Napanas in 1989 and since then, we’ve expanded the restaurant into two new locations, a cafe and a grocery store,” Joe said.
He said that, although he does not live in the Asheville area, he has been a frequent visitor there and has even gone to the Asheville Museum of Art to see exhibits.
The Napper is one of many Naps locations across the country, including in New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Washington D.C., Denver, and many more.
In fact, the chain has expanded to include more than 120 restaurants and more than 5,000 employees in 30 countries.
For Joe, the story of the Napanos is one that he hopes will inspire others to pursue the same kind of vision and entrepreneurial spirit.
“I think what has really been amazing to me about the Naperas is that, at the end of the day, our goal is to be better people,” he continued.
“My dad always said, ‘You can’t be a millionaire if you don’t have dreams.’ “