Long-time Albany restaurant will close soon - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Long-time Albany restaurant will close soon

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

December 10, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Economic forecasters say the recession will only get worse. The downturn is hurting everyone from the business man to the common man and now it is partially to blame for the closing of another familiar Albany business.  

For 14 years, the Plantation Grille has been an eating staple in the city but it will shut down soon.

Just like a knife, the pain cuts deep for Plantation Grille General Manager Sandra Hamilton. "Haven't even been open a year yet," said Hamilton.

The past few days have been rough. "People coming to visit to say goodbye. It's been tough," said a tearful Hamilton.

Hamilton began a new venture in February.  She moved her previous business into the Plantation Grille. Now the venture is chopped short and she's saying goodbye partly due to the economy. "When the stocks crashed, when the gas went up, we were sitting here empty at night," said Hamilton.

19 people will now lose their jobs as a result. "This has been my home," said long-time employee Candie Barfield.

Barfield has worked at the Plantation Grille since 1996. This year, she saw a change coming. "We could just kind of feel it coming because business has just not been what it was last year. This time last year we were booming. Now it's not the same at all," said Barfield.

So for the first time in more than ten years, Barfield will join the thousands of other unemployed Georgians in this struggling economy. "I'm already out there putting my resumes in at other places and hopefully something will come. But you know all things happen for a reason and I try to stay positive about it," said Barfield.

Helping her along the way will be the memories she's built with customers and co-workers. "It's a shame that it's going to be closing down. I think a lot of people will miss this place," said Barfield.

"This place has been bought and sold three times in the last fourteen years and I feel in a month or two, it'll be bought again. I mean, you can't just close this place," said Hamilton.

As for Hamilton continuing her dream of French and gourmet food in Albany, that's still up in the air. "This is strike two. I don't know if I'm ready for strike three," said Hamilton.

For her to try again, it would take a better economy.  For now, the lights on the "Open" sign will soon dim.

Employees say it's hard for local restaurants to compete with corporate ones who can offer two meals for 13 bucks. Managers say they offered reasonable prices but many families tended only to visit on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.  

Plantation Grille will officially close after their last bash on New Year's Eve.

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