Joe Gross, the founder of the internationally renowned Joe’s Beerhouse, has lost grip of his once lucrative business empire.
Apart from the beerhouse, Gross also owns a 500 hectare oyster farm in Walvis Bay and a N$2m Hippo Lodge in Caprivi Region which is at the centre of a legal ownership battle.
Gross, a German chef who immigrated to Namibia in 1986 founded the first Joe’s Beerhouse in 1990 in Grimm Street before moving it to Independence Avenue.
However, he has now lost the outdoor restaurant currently located at 160 Nelson Mandela Avenue in Eros frequented by tourists to Hans-Bruno Gerdes, Werner Kriesback and Stimulus Investments owned by known financial adviser, Monica Kalondo.
The deal was sealed in 2007 at an undisclosed amount with an objective to expand it across Namibia and Sadc.
“We are fortunate to have found the right partners who share our vision on how to roll-out the new Joe’s Beerhouses outside Windhoek without compromising the existing Joe’s Beerhouse,” said Gross after the deal was sealed.
Five years on, no expansion has been realised.
The financial troubles began when Joe divorced his wife Anet. He ended up with only 2% shares of the restaurant.
The shareholders then appointed Gross’ ex-wife as Operations Manager.
Last year November, Joe moved out of the restaurant’s backyard apartment; a place he had called home for many years and relocated to Monte Christo farm.
“He (Joe) wants nothing to do with the restaurant and has moved on with his life.
The ex-wife now calls the shots. He is totally screwed,” the source said.
Anet referred queries to Kalondo who said, “Please separate the two issues.
Joe’s Beerhouse is a different entity from Joe (Gross) as a person.
I don’t see any public interest in this story you are pursuing.”
The same year, 2007, Joe ventured into the multimillion oyster farming.
He acquired the 40-hectares abalone farm along the Walvis Bay coastline and additional 500hectares; an investment that was supposed to generate N$50m annually since 2007 and whose investment venture’s forecast was to yield about N$250m.
The ambitious venture geared towards generating local exports to international markets saw Joe personally briefing President Hifikepunye Pohamba in State House to sell his strategies. The business has since stalled.
Joe’s comeback hit another deadlock when he was embroiled in a land row over a piece of land accommodating his co-owned Hippo Lodge valued at N$2m.
The issue remains inconclusive and as a result, the lodge has been closed for months.
It’s not publicly known, at the moment, what Joe does for a living. The once ambitious and promising entrepreneur referred questions to Anet.
“I have nothing to say,” is all Joe could say when reached for comment.