Hut closed in the town nearby.
closing wasn’t really a surprise. About the only time this location
seemed to have anything remotely resembling a strong wave of business
was during the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet hours. On the rare
times Terry and I were there, I don’t recall us making any impulse
purchases from the menu to add to the check in a significant increase
of revenue way. Nor do I recall seeing any other table with dessert
cookies being delivered. Pretty standard orders from the list
of specials and smallest of profit margins. The parking wasn’t
in all, there were a lot of signs pointing toward the closing.
And many of the signs were lined up before you even began to consider
that there are better pizza options, at places offering theirs
at the same price or lower (and with far better menus of other
items), that didn’t involve any additional time in the car.
closing wasn’t a surprise.
the other hand… Terry and I out and about running a few errands,
heading down the main road, suddenly looking off to the side and
spotting the iconic roof in place with all of the letters and
signage on and around the property removed… that was
few years ago, I began a project called Local
Friends for Local Business. The idea of it
has never been to stop people from using national chains of anything.
There are times and places for the restaurants, stores, entertainment
and more provided by the large-mega-location-in-every-state-with-the-same-footprint
establishments. Instead, I had noticed—and several friends agreed—that
there were lots of places close to where we lived that we had
never brought into consideration. We never looked for them… drove
right past them… hadn’t set foot inside the doors of them… and
yet they were often exactly the types of places that created the
greatest memories when we did notice them or search them out when
that effort began, I have seen plenty of places close the business
doors forever. Places Terry and I have visited, and places friends
have recommended. Places that we absolutely loved. Places we had
been visiting for years and places that we had discovered with
the monthly challenges of Local Friends.
some cases, the closings haven’t been due to lacking support.
In fact—without naming names—I know of at least one place that
was a family business where the kids simply didn’t have the passion
to carry it on for another generation. The owners just retired.
in many cases, those doors did indeed close due to the lack of
support from customers. And here’s the weird part… some of them
never stood a chance.
Pizza Hut? Yeah, it had a prime location along a main street.
People knew it was there. The neighborhood made its decision,
and that decision favored the pizza at other restaurants.
a plaza basically across the street from the shuttered and now
nameless red roof. In there is a restaurant that Terry and I came
across when we moved to the neighborhood. Or, more accurately,
was a restaurant. It’s closing too.
is on their menu, but they were really known for some other things.
Amazing warm bread, served with a garlic butter glaze and balsamic
vinegar dip. Chocolate wine served to those of age as a complimentary
end to the meal. Cotton candy. Cotton candy brought with the check.
Nice nice nice touches.
were also known for inconsistent service, an ongoing decline of
food appearance and quality, menu changes that removed some of
the greatest and most popular dishes, and you see where this is
everyone you talk to that loves the place mentions that they all
order the same two items from the menu every time they walk in
because they were popular and delicious and signature-level quality,
and those items are no longer there… when those items were part
of the reputation of the place that people loved… when the bread
moves from fresh and hot and delicious to hard and stale and seems
like it is left over from four days ago… trouble appears to be
building on the horizon.
don’t like seeing any business close. I especially don’t like
seeing it happen to places and owners and staff that are passionate
about what they do and what they offer.
it does seem to sting less when everything points to a location
having been granted every opportunity to succeed. When given a
location and public awareness, the external excuses start to weaken.
are good that at some point, possibly not too far off in the future,
a renovation will be made. A property will be purchased, contractors
will be brought in, and all recognizable features will be changed.
Maybe the new will have the different but still quickly identified
curves and colors of a chain of something-or-others. Maybe the
new won’t even be a restaurant.
it is, my best wishes will go along with the ribbon cutting. I
hope they do well. I will pay attention and investigate and possibly
offer them some business. But more than anything else, I hope
they open the doors with a passion for their offerings and that
they are given a chance to get community support.