This week, or in about the last 10 days or so, there have been five restaurant closings in Valdosta.
Bad Habitz on Gornto Road, Ruby Tuesday and McAllister’s Deli in the Valdosta Mall, Gold Plate restaurant on S. Patterson, and Taqueria del Sureste on N. Oak Street Ext.
Already, a Mexican restaurant chain, Cactus Flower Cafe, has announced they are opening where Sureste was, and hopefully, the other locations will have new tenants or reopen soon.
All are unrelated, due to varying circumstances, but it has still been a shock to many this week with so many all at once.
The mall shouldn’t have much trouble replacing the restaurants, and since Ruby Tuesday’s is closing their mall locations but keeping their free-standing ones, maybe they’ll come back and build a new one. You never know.
The restaurant business fluctuates wildly and is a really tough business. Some can make it look easy, but it’s hard work, long hours, high expense, and not for the faint of heart.
Too often, people think they can open a restaurant because they like to cook, or they have great ideas, or they want to do something different, but they forget it’s a business, and one of the most difficult ones to keep going.
Corporations have margins that franchises have to meet, individual owners experience personal tragedies, and numerous other issues can cause an eatery to shut down. It’s not a reflection of the community, it’s a reflection of much larger economic and personal struggles and choices.
Fortunately, if you continue reading, we have some bright spots here that should overshadow the closures.
On the bright side, Creekside Tavern steakhouse is reopening on Wednesday night this week, with some great menu changes, an interior facelift, and interesting entertainment slated for the weekend. Check out the story in today’s section.
Also, as I said above, Cactus Flower Cafe will be taking over the spot vacated by Sureste on N. Oak St. and the new Smoothie King will be opening soon near there as well.
And we are fortunate that the Valdosta JC Penneys is not one of the ones the company announced is closing this week. Good news for the mall.
Don’t forget about the Starbucks coming on Inner Perimeter near Chick fil A and the Dunkin Donuts that should be breaking ground soon on Northside and Patterson, plus the new Gondoliers Italian restaurant being built on Norman Drive. All in all, we have some good things going for us here.
Around other areas of town, Langdale Ford has announced a major remodeling of the dealership which has been downtown for 50 plus years.
Ashley Street Station opened in its new location on Baytree Road last week, moving from its former Ashley St. location but keeping the name.
The new Wendy’s on St. Augustine is incredible if you haven’t been in there lately, and they are going to start rebuilding others in the same style in town, beginning with the Five Points location later this year.
In Sugar Creek Plaza on Baytree, the new Plato’s Closet store should be opening soon, joining the recent openings there of the Deli Bar, Carnation Boutique and It’s All in the Bag.
Across the street in the Villages of Baytree, there is a new Southern Sensation Boutique next to Sport Clips.
Both Friends Grille and Bar and Kennedy’s Family Steakhouse are expanding their hours and are now offering Sunday brunch.
Also, Manny’s Sub Shop on Baytree has revamped its menu and is talking about renovating to add indoor seating as well.
The Dollar General on N. Valdosta Road opened this week and expect the groundbreaking for the new one in Hahira on Main Street to replace the existing one any time now.
The new location for the Medicine Shoppe in the Ashley Street Professional plaza is really coming along, as is the new Aspen Dental Clinic going in by Goodwill on Norman Drive.
Does anyone know about a new restaurant or business going in at Exit 11? Please let me know if you do.
Like I said, despite some recent drawbacks, Valdosta is still rocking along.
That’s all I’ve got this week, but if there is anything I missed, please let me know!