I am sad and disappointed to hear the Blue Moon Sports Bar is closing in downtown Newberry.
With as much time effort and money that goes into attracting new businesses downtown I would think the city would be just, if not more interested, in keeping the businesses they have.
Over the last eleven years I have seen numerous wonderful businesses come and go downtown.
The Phantom of the Opera, Jezebelle’s, Red Door Antiques, The Antique Mall, Creative Design, Frame of Mind, The Shoe Bar, Ko…
Sad to say even with the intended downtown “revival” with the Opera House we still have the same number of businesses that we had when I started Munson Music in 2001, which is about the same number we had when I was growing up here….
Currently we are looking at losing the Blue Moon after Nov. 4.
Small business is hard, and it is harder still in a recession, and it is even harder when the new developments coming to Newberry are on the strip of Wilson Road and not to downtown…. i.e. any business located downtown has less traffic than a business next to Wal-Mart….
But that’s part of our world and there’s no going back. When a business sites the main reason they are closing as the uncooperative manner of the city – in heightened utility bills, taxes, and customer harassment it makes you wonder how supportive the city is actually being toward businesses downtown.
I have seen this with my business, a replaced digital meter at our store at 1504 Main seemed to add $100 more to our bill….
When you are running a small business that $100 of lost profit can mean the difference between keeping the lights on next month or not.
I completely agree that in many ways it doesn’t feel the city is helping. They have a monopoly on utilities, taxes, and business fees. Its not like you can cut and run to a competitor….
I saw this first hand at Oktoberfest in just a common decency situation. Our main business is teaching music lessons and one of the ways we attract and spark interest in learning how to play music is our student showcases which we do at Irish Fling and Oktoberfest….
At these two big events we have played music with our students and friends in front of our shop for the last eleven years. Last year we were instructed we couldn’t play until after 3 because there was a culinary stage on Caldwell Street in front of our shop, so we played after 3 when everyone was packing up.
We had audience members asked to give up their chairs to the city as they broke down for the day in the middle of our performance. This year, we were told we had to stop playing at noon, and were only allowed to play in the last last half hour from there until after three because the culinary stage required quiet from us. At the same time the stage also blocked the view to our shop from the main square and the main crowd.
With as much time as we put into the community, with as much money as we have spent on utilities from the city over 11 years, with as much of an impact we have had on the community here… it is super disappointing that we would be treated like second class citizens when it comes to a public event in front of the building that we own downtown, that somehow we weren’t as important as the businesses that bought a one day “vendor license.”
I completely think that some things could and should be changed in the way downtown merchants are treated by the city, and as much as it pains me, if losing the Blue Moon is what it takes to have a wake up call about what the priorities should be…. then so be it, but there is a lot of love at the Blue Moon that is priceless and that will be lost if the city doesn’t take action. If there is anything the city should focus on if they want continued revenue from downtown businesses it should be how they can help them and keep them.
If things don’t change, and these businesses are continuously taken for granted , then the owners of these business will continue to cut and run and we may again just become one more desolate abandoned mill town in South Carolina…. Like it was when I was a kid….
The only way anything will get changed is it people let the city know how much the Blue Moon and other downtown businesses mean to them.
Please contact our Mayor Foster Senn, email@example.com or our City Manager Jeff Shacker 803-321-1000 to let them know you support our downtown businesses, send your own stories on to your city councilmen, come to the city council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at City Hall to support the Blue Moon and see how your city government is affecting downtown development and economics.
I love this city and I think we need a new vision for the direction of downtown.