Uncertainty For Local Businesses As COVID Restrictions Ease

(Photo courtesy of Brian Walker.)

A local fan favorite has succumbed to the economic shut-down due to Coronavirus and the ongoing health crisis: Zombie Dogz, a business that began as a food truck and made its way to the brick-and-mortar store not long ago. 

In a recent Facebook post, they talked about how they had struggled for nearly a year, and the 2 month shut down due to the pandemic was the final straw. While they have plans to resume as a mobile business, the exact date they will do so is up in the air, as most events that they would normally attend over the summer have been postponed or outright canceled due to the pandemic and future uncertainty. 

Unfortunately, Zombie Dogz is not the only place closing due to the pandemic. Ed Dixon, who owns Edward A. Dixon Gallery is looking for a new location downtown and much like Zombie Dogz, Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar, located in downtown Dayton on Fifth Street is also shuttering its doors.

Third Perk’s founder, Juanita Darden, has said that both the lack of traffic and the coronavirus contributed to the closure. 

“Beautiful space, bad location.” She stated in an article on DaytonDailyNews.com. 

Darden had hoped the summer traffic from the shows at the Schuster Center would have bolstered business, but with the shutdowns due to COVID-19 and the expiration of the lease on the space for Third Perk right as all the businesses closed, it made more sense to let it go and prepare for a move. 

She has reopened her location at the Dayton Mall for the time being and is taking online orders and subscriptions. Darden hopes to reopen her business at a new location in September of this year.

Meanwhile, while other businesses have opened, some small local shops fear they may not be able to survive even now that they’ve opened up for business. 

Small coffee shops like St. Anne the Tart thrive from the small, cozy intimacy that is the essential lifeblood and theme of most cafes. However, with current opening restrictions leaving them with outdoor dining only, and on the 21st a reduced floor plan to allow for the social distancing requirements, many like St. Anne fear that they won’t have the same atmospheric feel, and therefore could struggle to stay afloat.

The Brightside, a popular new event space owned by Carli and Hamilton Dixon, fear the same thing. Large gatherings have no current ‘okay’ date to speak of, and small groups have no need of a large event space. It’s hard to say when things will be in a place where large gatherings such as weddings and parties can happen. Most are in no rush to host one either.

Uncertainty hangs in the air, and will no doubt do so for a while; yet, it’s obvious that some business owners are hopeful they can survive this pandemic and the shutdown. Only time will tell how these places will fare. 

(Photo courtesy of Brian Walker)

Jeri Hensley

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