WEST BLOOMFIELD — Doug Balchan did not have a dry eye June 12.
The Epicurean Group vice president of operations teared up while discussing the June 23 closing of Deli Unique West Bloomfield, 6724 Orchard Lake Road, a deli that has served up sandwiches, salads, broth and conversation since 1987.
“I’m torn,” Balchan told C & G Newspapers. “There are so many people who go into the deli and share their lives. It is a wonderful experience they’ve had at the deli over the years.”
Eric Djordjevic, president of the Epicurean Group, said it was a “difficult decision” to close the deli.
“(We’ve been) contemplating for quite some time,” Djordjevic said recently. “The store has been struggling financially for many years, and looking at our business model moving forward, we opted not to renew the lease.”
He said the 24 deli employees can reapply for open positions at Deli Unique locations in Bloomfield Hills and Novi. He said the goal is to re-hire all of them.
He said loyal supporters have planned various events to honor the deli near the closing date, although nothing has been made official.
“There has been some social media chatter (with) quite a few people coordinating and gathering for final dinners and brunches,” he said.
An Epicurean press release stated that Deli Unique West Bloomfield would remain open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through June 23.
“We’d love to see many of our friends stop in to say good-bye,” the release stated.
Balchan said he will miss the customers the most.
“(I am) so in love with the people that come there,” he said.
Balchan joined the Epicurean Group last July and has since visited the deli several times a week, where he met customers-turned- friends.
“We swap stories about our youth,” he said. “I spend four days in the deli since last July, and I have a four- to five-minute conversation (with customers) two or three times, and the first conversation is, ‘You like the sandwich?’ By the fifth or sixth conversation, they are showing pictures of grandkids, talking about a bar mitzvah they had — they are so willing to share their lives.”
For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/Deliuniquewestbloomfield.
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