Riverfront Barbeque downtown location set to close
River Front Bar-B-Q set to close January 31st
Business says they aren't generating enough money
Downtown manager says businesses need to find a niche in downtown area
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
For the past 5 and a half years, Riverfront Barbeque has managed to stay open when others around them have seem to fail. And while you can't tell by the overwhelming number of eager customers, they plan to close up shop January 31st.
"Businesses close when business is not good so business is great today and if it was like this everyday, we'd just be here," says owner Dale Saunders.
Saunders says he chose the lot on the corner of West Broad and North Front Street because he believed in downtown Albany.
"I'm going to miss downtown. I think our downtown is trying to do some things. This is kind of like home to us."
Downtown Manager Aaron Blair says he's disappointed to lose such a great business in the area but says efforts to revitalize downtown haven't lost momentum.
"One of the things I have to look at is the overall net gain of business. You know we are upset when we see one close we're excited to see one open but what the overall goal that we are seeing is the steady overall over every year," says Blair.
Blair says when trying to maintain a business downtown, having a long-standing reputation and standing out amongst the crowd could improve chances of surviving during a tough economy.
"When you're looking at relocating downtown, not just Albany's downtown but most downtowns, I mean you have to create niche for yourself. You have to be different that what is going to be available in the suburbs."
One of those businesses that has survived is long time downtown restaurant The Cookie Shoppe. The mom and pop bakery and deli opened it's doors 31 years ago and is still thriving today.
"I'll never go away. You know we have this building and we're going to stay here. We're not going anywhere," says owner Mona Qaqish.
The owners say their loyal customers and fresh products continue to serve as their niche in the downtown area.
As for others, city officials say the revitalization of downtown will continue to attract new businesses to Albany.
The city will hold a 'State of Downtown' meeting January 17th for the public to learn about the progress made in the last two years.
Riverfront Barbeque's restaurant in Lee County and the mobile restaurant across from the Albany mall will remain open.