He said he has since hired an attorney.
Kitzmiller said he stepped into the management role after the bar’s finances continued to spiral downward, which he credited to failure to use social media and poor upkeep of the establishment.
“(Mark)’s an old man, I’m an old man, and we were just taking an old man’s approach, and we weren’t getting anywhere,” he said.
The bar lost nearly 15 percent of its revenue each of the last three years, Kitzmiller said. Although some of it can be attributed to poor economic conditions, the slip started far before the recession, he said.
“Sales have been declining for a long time, but the last five years have been precipitous,” he said.
“I decided to take management myself because I felt in the last five years that we didn’t win many football games, and we always replace coaches.”
Kitzmiller’s current lease will last for the next two years, enough time to see how improvements to the bar’s downstairs and beer garden play out, he said.
“I’m back at this bar because I love it,” he said. “I mean it heart and soul.”
Senior Fleming Fuller, 23, has worked at He’s Not since arriving in Chapel Hill as a transfer student almost three years ago.
Now Kitzmiller’s assistant, Fuller works as a bartender and runs the day-to-day operations.
Fuller said the bar’s record-keeping, beer offerings and customer base have improved since management changed hands, although customers have noticed and asked about Burnett’s absence.
“We’re definitely taking strides to appeal to a younger age,” he said. “I feel by having younger people in higher positions, we understand better what our age group is looking for. We’re just streamlining stuff.”
Fuller said he plans to continue working at He’s Not after he graduates this year. He can’t imagine going anywhere else.
“People come through, and they don’t even get a beer. They just come through to stand here and just sort of remember what they once had,” he said. “When you witness that, its something that’s not replaceable.”
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