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Small restaurant survival tips

October 14, 2002

Albany - Small restaurants competing with big chains. What's the secret to success? Sandwich Shoppe Owner, Terry Lee, says, "A lot of regulars. You know most names, know what they eat. They eat same thing every time they come in." As Albany restaurants shut down, new names and menus are popping up.

With hard economic times, how do mom and pop stores survive? Old restaurants are being renovated, signs are changing names. Small business owners believe their uniqueness will get them a piece of the pie.

Albany resident, Dean Bailey, points at an abandoned building, "This was Central Park, something before that. I can't remember what it was. I don't remember." It's hard to keep track. Hott Rodds is now boarded up, a week before their new neighbors, Rusty's Midtown Grill, opened up. Chef Edmund Morgan, says, "We've been open a week and two days."

Morgan says special deals will keep the cash register ringing. He explains, "We're locally owned and operated. Lower price and same quality food. I think it will go over well. People looking for a bargain."

Next to Rusty's, another new restaurant. Angel's Nest opens in a few weeks. Owner, Denis Agelidos, says, "Hard times when open a business. Depends on how you promote business and what you serve as a success." They will serve Ethnic Greek Cuisine.

Terry Lee says it's not always easy being a small business. His sandwich shoppe opened 26 years ago. He explains, "If you're brand new it's hard to compete with big chains."

They depend on regulars, good service and word of mouth. Lee says a small staff is another factor that has helped them survive against bigger chains. Less people to pay.

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