Fremaux’s Metropolitan Catering will close its doors Tuesday.
Chuck Fremaux, owner of the 13-year-old catering business, cited a variety of reasons for the closure.
Fremaux planned to update a mansion on the south side of Sanger that included 30,000 square feet of space, but securing financing for the project never quite took off.
“We have, for a number of years, been trying to move to a wedding venue,” Fremaux said. “We tried to finance after the [economic] downturn and never really got to Sanger.”
Since then, other wedding venues and event facilities have opened in Denton, making it challenging for his business, he said. Fremaux also said the business had become financially unsustainable, citing rising fuel and operating costs.
“Operating in the Denton market has always been a challenge,” he said.
“Folks in Denton feel as if everything here should cost half as much as it does in Dallas.”
The facility at 932 W. University Drive occupies about 7,000 square feet, including a 5,600-square-foot banquet facility. The air-conditioned space has a fully equipped kitchen, laundry facility and wireless Internet access. The business can cater for up to 350 guests.
He said he hardly outsourced anything, adding that he and his staff — 15 employees work on a per-job basis — took care of everything.
“Most of our employees have other jobs or multiple jobs,” he said. “There are also people that only work for us during special events like Christmas Eve.”
Several organizations have conducted monthly meetings and annual fundraisers at Fremaux’s.
Fremaux said he believes he has catered events for as many as 100 organizations and businesses around town.
Several members of the community expressed deep regrets upon learning of the closing.
“Besides professional hospitality, Chuck Fremaux has taken generosity to a whole new level,” said Chuck Carpenter, president of the Denton Chamber of Commerce. “He will be missed by the public sector and the nonprofit community.”
Bonnie Lewallen, special projects coordinator for Arc of Denton County, an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities, said the organization has worked with Fremaux for more than eight years.
“I hate to see him leave,” she said.
During the past couple of years, she let Fremaux select the menu for the 100 to 150 people who would attend the organization’s annual awards banquet, Lewallen said.
“He is just so easy to work with,” she said.
On occasion, Lewallen said, she would call Fremaux on short notice to advise him of late reservations and “he would make everything happen.”
Susan Franks, founder and director of Hearts for Home, said the organization, which provides no-cost home repairs to low-income elderly homeowners in Denton County, has been hosting an annual banquet for the last five years.
“It is sad for us nonprofits because he has done us a favor,” she said. “He has a heart for what he is doing. He gives us comparable prices, but we don’t get less service.”
Franks said the events were well conducted and Fremaux paid attention to detail.
“He is a great guy and all about customer service,” she said. “He wants everything to be perfect for your event.”
Franks said she learned in May during a business-to-business expo event held by the Denton Chamber of Commerce that Fremaux was considering closing his business.
Fremaux has been in the restaurant and catering business for 33 years. He started in Baton Rouge, La., at a catering company. He moved to Dallas in 1989 and then to Denton months later.
Fremaux will have a liquidation event July 17.
He said he plans to continue serving the community. He was elected board chairman of the chamber of commerce for 2012-13, which he said will keep him very occupied.
He said he also plans to cater private events and see whether other opportunities come along.
“I will [also] take time off to go sailing, which I love,” he said.
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is email@example.com .