And Two in Transition
Magner had first refusal on the property. "She wanted me to be the one to buy it. I just didn't get around to it," he says ruefully. "The day after Thanksgiving I found out that I had thirty days to match what the university was offering." He got the impression that the deal was hurried along in case the country went off the "fiscal cliff," which would have hiked the tax rate on capital gains (the deal to avoid the cliff did raise the capital gains rate, but only on high-income households).
"I had a very strange holiday" contemplating what to do next, Magner says. In January he was just beginning to look for new places, and laid out his wish list: "It would have to be a place with a kitchen [already]--I can't afford to do a build-out. I'd like to stay around here--Packard or State area. It has to have parking. I'd even go out Packard as far away as Fraser's. That area is doing well. Or as a second choice, I guess I'd move to South U," he says, with a marked lack of enthusiasm.
He explains, counterintuitively, that even though Blimpy is a campus icon, his busiest month is August. "That's when all the food tourists are out on vacation. They've seen us on TV shows [Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Man vs. Food] and read about us. And also, that's when the building trades are working on all the student housing. We're big with the building trades." His business also spikes on game days and whenever alums are in town. Otherwise, "come September, we're dead in the water."