All three Dayton-area Tumbleweed Southwest Grill restaurants — in Kettering, Englewood and Springfield — closed Monday.
The restaurants — at 2030 E. Dorothy Lane in the Kettering Towne Center, 9190 N. Main St. (Ohio 48) in Englewood, and at 1865 W. First St. in Springfield — were shut down as part of a chain-wide restructuring and re-branding effort in which eight of the 32 Tumbleweed chain’s restaurants ceased operations permanently, company officials said. The Kettering store opened in 2000, the Englewood restaurant in 2005, and the Springfield location in 1998, Tumbleweed spokesman Rick Schardein said. A Bellefontaine location was not affected and is still open and operating.
Schardein said the closings followed 10 months of research on the Tumbleweed brand and its markets. The Louisville-based chain, now known as Tumbleweed Tex Mex Grill & Margarita Bar, “is shrinking in an effort to grow,” he said
Each Tumbleweed restaurant typically employs 50 to 60 people. The company will provide references and other assistance to try to help affected employees find other jobs, Schardein said. Some Tumbleweed employees took to social media Monday to complain they had little or no warning of the store closings.
Tumbleweed CEO Matt Higgins said in a statement that he and company officials “determined it would be impossible to make the changes we need to make and keep all current units within our portfolio. It was a difficult but necessary choice, and we believe the remaining locations present us the best opportunity for rapid success.”
Higgins said some customers were confused about the Tumbleweed concept and brand and “have viewed us as ‘Mexican’ and others as ‘Steakhouse.’ We are neither. Tumbleweed is seeking to become a leader “in the emerging ‘Neuvo Tex Mex’ casual-dining segment,” company officials said.
Customers with Tumbleweed gift cards can request a refund by calling (866) 856-6167 or going to TellTumbleweed.com, Schardein said.
Tumbleweed had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 and continued to operate during its reorganization.