The shuttered doors of may soon reopen if a local Sunnyvale man and his mother get their wish.
With banners ready pronouncing "new ownership coming soon," Bill Dancer and his mother Janet Dancer plan to dust off the old way of running Bobbi's and return it to its original glory.
"We're trying to get that place open. We're just waiting on the bank. As soon as we get the OK, just give me a permit and off we go," Dancer says. "We want to bring it back and make it shine."
"We know the importance of Bobbi's to the community and we are working to reopen, upgrade the interior conditions and vow to rejuvinate this Cupertino gem."
Lynn Sereno of Borel Private Bank and Trust in Los Altos—the agent handling the Yamagami Trust—couldn't confirm talks with Dancer because the property is in a private trust, but she did say that the goal is to get the business open again, and soon.
"I don't think it will be closed for long," Sereno says.
Dancer says for the last couple of years he's watched Bobbi's go "terribly downhill" and he intends to turn it around to the way it was when the original Bobbi—Bobbi Thorne—ran the diner before she sold it in 1995.
He was at for the current owner, Mary Miljarak's failure to pay rent. Miljarak owed more than $56,000 in back rent.
Born and raised in Sunnyvale, Dancer's family's roots in the area date back long before Bobbi's Coffee Shop was opened. His mother, Janet, lives about six blocks from where she was born near Washington Park. His grandparents worked at Libby's Cannery for four decades.
It is those roots, the ones shared with the Valley of Hearts Delight, that will serve as the inspiration for the decor—images of old canneries and orchards—he has planned once he gets the key and clearance from the county health department, he says.
The wait staff and cooks will get their jobs back, and he'll run the day-to-day operations with his mom serving as the diner's loudest cheerleader and public relations rep.
, and she told him so in a telephone conversation Tuesday.
"We want to keep it as Bobbi's. The community knows it as Bobbi's," Dancer says. Dancer points out that legally he can use the name Bobbi's, and says he assured Thorne that he will return the diner "back to its prominence" and "clean it up."
It made him "sick" to see how the place deteriorated in recent years, he says.
Along with the displaced staff, Dancer is bringing back the same menu for now.
"We'll take it one day at a time," he says of how he'll handle any menu changes in the future. "We'll cater to the community."
Support has been pouring in from other Bobbi's regulars, Dancer says.
"I've been getting calls left and right. We're getting a lot of love from people who know what's going on internally," he says.
And his mom couldn't be more excited. She's wanted to buy the place for "years and years."
"She's saying 'I'm an entrepreneur now. I'm a job creator,'" Bill says.
She had a small stroke in 2009 prompting him to move back home from Arizona where he had been living the last handful of years where he worked as director of sales and marketing for Freedom Debt Relief. He's owned other businesses, too, he says and also worked in real estate for many years.
But he sees this opportunity to own and run Bobbi's as a sign from up above, he says, and he hopes he will live up to the real Bobbi's expectations—and those of the community.