MADISON, Wis. - Longtime Monroe Street neighbors and customers of Michael's Frozen Custard are reacting to the news that the original location of the Madison staple will close its doors in September.
"I'm sad to see it go. I'm really kind of surprised; it's been here forever and ever," said Mary Beth Keppel, who lives just a few blocks away from the Monroe Street location.
Madison immigration law firm Lotfi Legal announced Wednesday that at least one location of the frozen custard shop would be closing because the owner might have to move to Mexico.
The law firm said the shop's owner, Michael Dix, married Sergio De La O Hernandez in 2015 and sponsored him for a U.S. visa so he could become a U.S. citizen, but the visa was denied.
Immigration attorney Jessica Slind said Hernandez went to Mexico a year ago for his visa interview and was told he was not able to return to the U.S. She said he needed a waiver because he had been in the country illegally for so long, and the waiver was recently denied.
"They're both devastated at this news," said immigration attorney Jessica Slind. "They were hoping for good news and that they could continue on with the process."
Keppel, who bought custard with her grandchildren Wednesday, said she can remember when Michael's opened more than three decades ago and said it has become a generational place for her family.
"Our children now are 41 and 37, and we came here when they were little kids. So it was really an enjoyable thing to have in the neighborhood," she said.
Mike Kepler said he doesn't know what business will open in place of Michael's but says the neighborhood won't be the same without it.
"It's a great neighborhood institution, so the neighborhood will feel the loss," he explained.
The law firm plans to appeal the U.S. government's decision, but Slind said that process could take six to eight months. If the appeal is denied, the other two Michael's locations will likely close as Dix would move to Mexico to be with Hernandez.
The Monroe Street location will close on Sept. 9.
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