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ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Some long-time Albany restaurants have closed, in part because of the economy.
On the east side, White's Barbeque and Seafood shut down. White's owner told us business has fallen steadily since October 2008, and he couldn't find anyone to buy him out. In west Albany, CiCi's Pizza closed after being evicted from it's building on Old Dawson Road.
There was no seafood on the buffet at White's today and the restaurant was dark. After 12 years in business, owner Bill White made the tough decision to close Saturday night.
"It's tough, people just don't have the money they use to have," said Bill White.
His business has been off 35 percent and his bills are up.
"The expense is still there, your labor, your taxes, telephone, you can't cut all that down," said White.
White wanted to sell the restaurant, but again the economic conditions prevented a sale.
"I could have sold them but people can't get no money, the banks are not loaning any money," said White.
He's not the only restaurant struggling, CiCi's Pizza in northwest Albany has been evicted after 13 years. In a statement from the corporate office they blame the current economic crisis affecting consumers and restaurants. Economic development officials say, Albany's downtown will hopefully level off.
"Things tend to be flattening out, while there are restaurants that are struggling, we have others that are opening up and appear to be doing quite well," said Ted Clem, Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission Executive Director.
Bill White worries he and CiCi's won't be the last with bad news.
"There's so many businesses that's hurting right now and then next three months will tell the tide we're going to have a lot of businesses closing in Albany," said White.
White's will maintain their seafood markets and catering business, out of Ole Times Country Buffet using many of White's employees.
CiCi's corporate officials say they are looking to resume operations as quickly as possible at another location.