The Waffle Spot ready for its new customers
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Kim Praytor, owner of The Waffle Spot, left, gathers with staff. She opened the restaurant in 2020 during the pandemic and has made a number of improvements.
Gone are the pink walls that Country Waffles was known for and in are wood paneling that is inspiring customers at The Waffle Spot (1101 Country Club Drive).
Kim Praytor opened The Waffle Spot in June, 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has survived while fully remodeling the former Country Waffles home in Country Club Village.
“When we first walked in, we painted and did some deep cleaning,” Praytor said. “We replaced a lot of stuff in the kitchen. All we did out front was paint and clean because that’s all we could do, money-wise.”
Since opening, Praytor hasn’t stopped making her restaurant more customer-friendly.
“We got new tables,” she said. “We just put in new carpet. We put in new wood paneling on the walls. All down our hallway, it all looks like wood. It looks super nice. So many people like it. We have a few customers that are re-doing their house with the paneling.”
Praytor has made some adjustments to The Waffle Spot, including closing on Sundays since October. However, her restaurant has stayed afloat through the pandemic.
“The customers love our remodeling,” she said. “It also reinforces that we’re doing okay. As of October, we closed on Sundays. We have a lot of customers and ourselves that were nervous about it. It has been okay. People see all the stuff we are doing and they know we’re doing okay. We made it through COVID.
“We have tons of confidence through COVID. We have been blessed, beyond what I ever deserved. As long as I do what I’m supposed to do and keep making forward progress, there’s no doubt that we’ll be okay. I tell my staff all the time when things are slow or tough that we made it through COVID. We’re going to make it though anything.”
After surviving COVID, Praytor now has a different problem — supply issues.
“I thought once we got through COVID, it would be smooth sailing,” she said. “Every day, we would submit an order and something is out of stock. Like, the bacon I use is discontinued. That is my biggest concern. What bacon am I going to use?”
Another thing that Praytor is excited about are the improvements going on through Country Club Village.
“It is so nice in this area now,” she said. “The new owners are going to put money in. They got me a new air conditioning/heating unit. That is not cheap. With the old owners, I was begging them to split it with me. It was broke when I opened. They didn’t want to fix anything. These guys say if I want a new HVAC, then sign a longer lease. Done. They’ve cleaned up the center. They got new security. They are painting the center and re-did all the pillars.”
New paint and improvements on the exterior pillars are in the process. Praytor said they are making their way towards her building and can’t wait for the entire center to be remodeled.
“They started at the other end and are working towards me,” she said. “The difference in the color is like, oh my god. It went from an ugly beige color to a bright white color. I’m taking pictures of my building so I can do a before and after.”
Although Country Club Village recently lost Save Mart Supermarkets, the new owners have told stores that a Big Lots is coming in where Save Mart was.
“I’m so excited to be here,” Praytor said. “There are some other new businesses coming in. There’s more to come.”
With the improvements of the entire center, including The Waffle Spot, Praytor hopes more people will head to Country Club Village and make their way to her restaurant.
“My hopes are that the center looks cleaner and that’s going to bring more people to the area,” she said. “The stores will get more foot traffic and, ‘Here I am. Who’s hungry?’ The new owners have put a new roof on my building. It’s mind-blowing how much they are putting into this complex. It’s going to be nice.”