Four Jasper businesses have announced closings in the first two weeks of 2019.After 15 years, Danny's Downtown Barbecue has announced they will no longer be open for business, due to family health …
Four Jasper businesses have announced closings in the first two weeks of 2019.
After 15 years, Danny's Downtown Barbecue has announced they will no longer be open for business, due to family health concerns.
A statement from Danny and Rita Crider on Facebook read, in part, "Thank you to all of our kind and loyal customers who supported us and became our friends. We will miss seeing your smiling faces and wish you all the best."
Danny's was unique in being the only restaurant with a drive-thru downtown, and it was the only barbecue restaurant in the district.
Due to the location and functionality of the Danny's property, Jasper Main Street Executive Director Mike Putman said he is confident a new tenant will occupy the vacant space in the coming months.
Retailer Bare Bones Cargo in downtown Jasper also closed its doors on Jan. 5, due to its owners wanting to pursue other business ventures.
Business partners Rhonda Williams and Crystal Williams shared on Facebook that Bare Bones Cargo had been open since 2013, and for the past two years, the owners have been juggling the store front and traveling to sell their goods at a number of festivals.
"The time has come for us to make a decision and our hearts are on the road. We love the excitement of our road business and we have decided to make this our full-time focus in the new year," the Williams' shared on Facebook. "Thank you to each customer that has shopped in our store, stopped by to share a story, or just provided a word of encouragement. We have put our hearts and souls into Bare Bones Cargo and we feel this new adventure is where we are meant to be."
The Daily Mountain Eagle reached out to the owners of both Bare Bones Cargo and Danny's Downtown Barbecue for a comment, but did not receive a response by press time.
Two businesses in the Jasper Mall are also closing.
Robin's Nest, a floral and gift shop, is closing after 25 years. Owner Robin Richardson is retiring so that she and her husband, who is already retired, can travel and spend more time with their grandchildren.
"I've enjoyed it, and I really hate it for the churches and the customers who have been with me for so many years, but my lease was up on Dec. 31. We decided it was time," she said.
The store's last day was scheduled for Dec. 31, although Richardson was at the store on Monday packing up a few remaining items.
Richardson arranged flowers at another local flower shop for nine years before opening her own business in the mall in 1994.
She spent the last weeks of December saying goodbye to longtime customers, although she doesn't plan to retire completely.
"If everything goes well, I am going to sell at home. It will take me a little while to get everything together, but maybe around March," Richardson said.
Susan's Hallmark in Jasper Mall is also going out of business this month.
A post on the store's Facebook page announced Thursday that the store's new hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Remaining layaways must be picked up by Jan. 25.
The store's management team also operates a Hallmark at Durham Pharmacy in Vernon, as well as two in Mississippi.
Jasper Mayor David O'Mary said he is saddened to hear four longtime businesses are closing in Jasper; however, he said sales tax revenue is up in the city.
"We saw a very nice uptick in sales tax revenue for the first quarter of 2019, which is very encouraging," O'Mary said. "I don't like to see any business close, but I think that when you look at a broad scope, business conditions in Jasper are pretty good right now."
O'Mary said he is concerned about Jasper Mall and believes it was purchased months ago with an intent to resale. According to an Internet search, Kohan Retail Investment Group owns the mall property.
"I think you would be disappointed if you believed the mall will flourish under the current ownership. I don't think it will happen," he said. "As you've seen, there's been nothing done to really give it any new life."
He added, "People have expressed some interest in going there, and it just doesn't seem to happen."
The Daily Mountain Eagle has made multiple attempts to contact mall ownership, to no avail. The Eagle has also received reports of safety concerns and poor lighting conditions at the mall.
While the future of Jasper Mall is uncertain, O'Mary said he is optimistic about a new retailer that has expressed interest in coming to Jasper.
"If we're able to land this prospect it will be a freestanding business, and it will fit well in our market," he said.
In other business ventures in the city, work is ongoing to recruit a restaurant to locate in the remaining storefront of the old Solid Image Fitness building. TherapySouth opened at the property late last year, and Great Clips announced in October that they will also be opening next-door.