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Sault bartender realizes her dream of business ownership

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A long-time Sault Ste. Marie bartender is teaming up with a local restauranteur on a new business venture.

With the reconstruction of the downtown section of Queen Street to begin soon -- and some new businesses setting up shop nearby – Becky Sawyer and Blake Richards said the time was right to turn their long talked-about idea into reality.

With only days to go before the grand opening of The Dive Gastro Pub, the pressure is on to finish renovations that have been ongoing since the beginning of April.

Sawyer is a longtime presence on the local food and beverage scene.

“We’re looking at 26 years I have been in this industry,” she said.

“I started when I was 18 and it’s definitely something I have a hard time walking away from. I enjoy the people, I enjoy the public -- I enjoy the chaos and organized mess of it all.”

Richards is another well-known name in the local restaurant community. He was co-owner of Low & Slow, which was the last business to occupy the space that will now house The Dive.

“Ten years ago we started with Low & Slow and kind of just jumped into it,” he said.

“Before that, no experience. Just kind of learned on the fly and it’s been a whirlwind.”

The Dive is located in the heart of downtown Sault Ste. Marie, where a number of changes are taking place – changes the owners are hoping will work in their favour.

“I think it’s definitely up and coming,” said Richards.

“You can see stuff starting to grow with the market next door here, Muio’s just got bought again. Stuff seems to be happening, Queen Street is being redone, which is amazing. So, hopefully it doesn’t hold us up too much, but it should be fine.”

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“We’ve all seen the decline in the downtown,” Sawyer said.

“With the city putting in as much effort as they have down the road, and all the things that are happening downtown right now, the hope is that it is going to be on the upswing and we are going to see a bigger boom downtown than we did before.”

The Dive Gastro Pub is already creating a buzz, as both grand opening nights this weekend are sold out.

The new pub will be open to the general public April 22. 

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