Ben and Joy’s restaurant is up for auction, once again.
It marks the second time in a year the owner has made an effort to sell the Mount Sterling staple.
The live auction will take place Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. under the direction of Ohio Real Estate Auctions. Both properties at 33 and 37 S. London St., including the restaurant’s equipment, will be up for grabs. The two parcels total more than 10,000 square feet and include space for five to eight commercial spaces.
The starting bid is $39,000 with a 10 percent buyer’s premium, said auctioneer John Rogers.
“Once someone puts that up, it’s an absolute sale, barring a higher bid,” he said. “It’s not going back to the seller for approval. It’s sold.”
The business itself is not included in the auction, but Rogers said owner Joy Stroup was willing to sell it on the side. Rogers said the restaurant brings in about $650,000 annually.
Stroup opened the restaurant with her husband, Ben, in 1984. The space had been a restaurant when Mr. Stroup asked the original owners if they would sell the business, which they did.
The husband and wife duo ran the iconic restaurant for nine years until Mr. Stroup passed away in 1993. Mrs. Stroup has run the place ever since.
In December 2015, she announced she planned on retiring at the start of 2016 and put the property up for auction to spend more time with family.
At the time, she said running the business was tiring at times, despite her passion for the business.
“I’ve loved it, but it’s time,” she said last December.
But last February, only one bidder showed up: local businessman and former county commissioner Paul Gross.
His bid of $93,500, including a buyer’s premium, was not accepted by Stroup, who had until 1 p.m. on the Monday following the auction to take or reject it.
Gross had said he was bidding on behalf of Violet Woodruff, of London, a woman who he said had dreamed of running a restaurant. He said he had no intention of running a restaurant himself, and planned to lease it to Woodruff.
Stoup could not be reached for additional comment Tuesday.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.