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Save MacAlpine's Diner and Soda Fountain

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Hello! My name is Monica Heizenrader. My daughters and I are the owners of MacAlpine’s Diner and Soda Fountain in Phoenix, Arizona. Asking for help is incredibly hard but MacAlpine’s is at risk of closing forever. We have had an incredibly difficult 3 1/2 years.

The only way I can think of to save MacAlpine’s is a GoFundMe.

So, first, let me tell you about MacAlpine’s because it is incredible! Our amazing soda fountain opened as part of the pharmacy in 1929. Walking through the door is like visiting the set of the movie “It's a Wonderful Life” or “Back to the Future”... or maybe the sitcom “Happy Days.” It is hard to describe the feeling the first time you visit because you feel like you really did step back in time. It is truly magical! There is nothing like sitting at the counter, spinning on the antique stools, enjoying a burger and an ice cream soda, listening to 1950's tunes playing on the jukebox in the background (It's still 2 songs for a quarter). Somehow MacAlpine’s is the place you want to go to celebrate a good day or cure a bad day!

Twenty-two years ago, the previous owner of MacAlpine’s was going to close its historical doors and auction the treasures on Ebay. My husband, Cary, had always dreamed of owning a restaurant. He use to say that the restaurant business was in his blood having grown up at his grandfather's steak house. Cary and I thought MacAlpine’s was an undiscovered gem and worth saving so we bought it (right before September 11th, 2001). The timing was not great but we poured our heart and soul into it. Cary was the cook while I was the waitress. We both worked second jobs to keep it going. Our success couldn't have been accomplished without our amazing staff and support of our wonderful customers. It took time and lots of work to transform MacAlpine’s into the delightful, unique destination that we are known for but we did it!

I love MacAlpine’s There is so much to love…our lovely customers, the history, the memories, the uniqueness. Maybe because I am from Iowa, it feels really welcoming. We can’t wait to reopen so you can see what we have done at MacAlpine’s… painting, cleaning, polishing, repairing. We are so excited to welcome all of you back to MacAlpine's!

MacAlpine's closed in March of 2020 at the beginning of COVID along with all the other restaurants as required. We reopened a few months later but couldn't find enough people to work during that time and couldn't keep it open with just a few employees.

After the restaurant closed, we had some unexpected health issues in our family. Two surgeries, numerous hospital visits. Every time we would get ready to open, something traumatic would happen. Then the unthinkable happened. Cary got sick and passed away. We were devastated beyond words by Cary’s unexpected death.

A few months later, as we were making a plan to reopen, I had a terrible accident and was not able to walk. I was bedridden. After extended work with doctors and physical therapy, I am able to walk again. (Someday a total knee replacement will be necessary.) We had been through so much by this point, and I had no idea what to do. Words alone can not describe how hard all of this was.

For the past few years, concerned friends and customers have suggested a gofundme. I resisted the idea because I thought I could figure this out. I felt like my life was shattered so my response was to withdraw- not ask for help. I still offer gift certificates on our web page, but have sold less than $1,000. We baked pies- helpful, but the volume wasn’t there. I used up my savings and took out loans, then my credit cards- but now I am tapped out. Without help from our community, MacAlpine’s will not be able to open again.

Our Critical Need: Reopening the Business

We have been closed for 3 1/2 years. During this time our fixed expenses continued. Building payment, taxes, insurance, utilities, and now debt service from loans to keep us alive. My electric bill alone was $2,000 last month and we weren't even open. It is estimated to have been $5,000 for last month if we were open. Insurance has almost doubled in the past few years. Unluckily, small business doesn't mean small overhead.

Our gofundme goal is $93,500.This is our estimated cost for the reopening. We will need to buy the necessary supplies. We will have to hire and pay staff for training, replace some equipment including an air conditioning unit (by next spring). Our air conditioner for the restaurant went down for 6 weeks in the beginning of July which was during the hottest summer Phoenix has on record. Plus, we need to repair/replace some refrigeration, replace graffitied windows, repair other items, AND pay monthly bills.

This should be enough to help cover our expenses so we can reopen in early 2024. We really need a lot more money than that to clear out our COVID debt but this is a great start. I feel like I am asking for the world but MacAlpine's is irreplaceable.

Through the years, our wonderful customers have created so many special memories: everything from birthdays, anniversaries, 1st dates, baby’s first ice cream, good report cards, and several engagements. The thought of MacAlpine’s not being there for future generations to enjoy is heart-breaking!

Please help us save this amazing part of Phoenix history and special piece of Americana! With your support, we will soon be celebrating our 100th Anniversary and beyond.

So, as humbling as it is, I am now asking for your help. Any and all donations are GREATLY appreciated. Every little bit makes a difference! We hope you’ll share our fundraiser. If you’d prefer to make a contribution by check for our fundraising efforts, you can send it to MacAlpine’s Diner and Soda Fountain 2303 N. 7th St Phoenix, AZ 85006.

I’d like to finish by saying thank you! Thank you for your support! Thank you for believing in us! Thank you for appreciating MacAlpine’s!

Monica Heizenrader
telephone (602) two-six-two-5545

Want to see videos of what makes MacAlpine's worth saving?
KJZZ 11/7/2023
Channel 12 News 10/5/2023
Fox 10 10/12/2023
AZ Family Channel 3
Wild Travels 2021
ABC 15 Things to do 2018
Sonoran Living 2013


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  • Melissa Finucan
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    • 1 mo


Monica Heizenrader
Phoenix, AZ

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