Forum changes hands, but not families

T he name remains the same, but the Forum with its white tower has been sold.

Ron and Michelle “Shelley” Daigle confirmed last Thursday they recently purchased the restaurant, bar and ballroom facility from his brother Kevin and his wife, Donna.

Ron Daigle said his brother had been working at the Forum every day since 1998 when he started the process of converting an old Agway warehouse into the multi-use facility that stands off East Potter Avenue now.

Kevin Daigle invested a tremendous amount of time, blood, sweat and tears and energy into making it a unique place to go and have a meal or a drink, he said.

So the more he thought about the Forum being for sale, the more he thought about the potential for someone else to be running it in the future and that didn’t sit well with him. “I didn’t want it to go out of the family,” Ron Daigle said.

He said he’d like to see the Forum thought of as one of the longtime family restaurants Granville is known for — Scotties, A.J.’s and Bernardo’s. “People know them all over the place; they’re legends,” he said.

In his travels around the country and further abroad, Daigle said, he often ran into people who knew Granville by those three iconic restaurants and that was part of the reason he decided to buy the Forum, to keep it in the family and hopefully have it join that pantheon as a Daigle family legacy.

Ron Daigle said he has his hands full with a law office and new career that keeps him busy every day of the week and the Forum is going to be wife Shelley’s project. “My wife always wanted to own a restaurant so I bought it for her,” he said.

“That’s quite the anniversary gift,” Shelley Daigle said. “He (Ron) kind of surprised me with this.” The couple will celebrate 25 years together in July.

Shelley Daigle said her husband asked her about six months ago what she thought about the idea of buying the restaurant – at the time she said she declined despite a long-held desire to run her own restaurant.

“So I told him ‘no,’” she said. Now that she’s a restaurant owner, Shelley Daigle said she’s excited.

“I’m very much excited, nervous, but I’m not overwhelmed,” she said.

Now, she is working on learning the restaurant business from her sister-in-law Donna Daigle, who agreed to stay on as the manager. Donna Daigle said the two enjoy a good personal and working relationship. “It’s going to be good,” she said.

“If it wasn’t for (Donna) we wouldn’t be standing here today. I couldn’t do this without her,” Shelley Daigle said. Although she has some bartending and waitressing experience Shelley Daigle said she is just beginning to learn the behind the scenes work of ordering, pricing and planning that goes into the daily operations at the Forum.  “She promised, she’s not leaving,” she said.

Ron Daigle said he knew the restaurant had been for sale for a while and kept thinking about it both as a business opportunity and as a part of the family legacy.

The Forum had always been built with an eye on its eventual sale, but he’s glad it stayed in the family, Kevin Daigle said.

He said he’s going to focus on the gym and also stick around to help run things in the restaurant.

“I didn’t want it to go out of the family; I wanted to keep it in the family,” Ron Daigle said. Looking forward, he said he didn’t see a lot changing other than adding a pellet stove to the dining area to add a little ambiance as well as help with the heating bill.

“I felt there was tremendous potential for growth here,” Ron Daigle said.

With a ballroom, one of the only such large rooms in the immediate area, Ron Daigle said he saw a reason people would seek out the Forum for parties, proms and other functions.

“No place around here can offer that,” he said. The Granville Rotary Club’s trivia night has been held in the ballroom each of its four years. 

“We’re excited ad we’re going to do the best we can to try to join those other three legends,” Ron Daigle said.

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