The beginning of March brought the closure of two downtown businesses, while another plans to temporarily close at the end of the month.
The Sav-A-Lot grocery store at the intersection of Government and Broad streets closed Saturday, after about 13 years in business. Spokeswoman Chon Tomlin said the store had seen a decline in business and wasn’t meeting the standards set by the corporate office.
“It’s never our intent to close a store,” she said. “We do a lot of things to re-evaluate stores and we do a lot of things to try to increase traffic at stores. We understand the impact from a community perspective.”
Councilman Levon Manzie, who represents the downtown area, said he was told by management the store location was unprofitable “for a number of reasons,” but that Sav-A-Lot was looking at other locations in Mobile.
Cabo Coastal Cantina, at a desirable location on the corner of Joachim and Dauphin, also closed its doors at the beginning of the month. Downtown Mobile Alliance Communications Director Carol Hunter said the building should be leased relatively quickly, given its location.
“Cabo is such an amazing location,” she said. “It’s one of the premier intersections.”
Hunter said it makes a great spot for a restaurant, with its proximity to offices and entertainment venues.
“It will have a lot of interest,” she said.
The building’s owner, Henry Arrington, said the space is currently available for lease as a restaurant through the Drummond Group. The building had housed three different breweries before it became a restaurant. Cabo opened in 2011, Arrington said. He said he hasn’t made up his mind yet on a lease amount.
The Haberdasher at 451 Dauphin St. will temporarily close March 31, but co-owner Elise Poche said the bar would reopening in a new location as soon as possible.
“We set three-to-six months as a realistic goal,” Poche said.
Poche, who owns the bar with her boyfriend Naude Gouws, said the owner of the building where the bar is currently located didn’t renew the bar’s lease.
The bar hasn’t had a written lease for the last year and a half, attorney Reggie Copeland Jr. said, because the building owner, Jan Irwin, hasn’t been willing to renew it.
Copeland said he believes the building owner is part of a group that doesn’t want any bars in a three-block radius of Dauphin Street not encompassed by the entertainment district.
“I think it’s really just a philosophy of his that there shouldn’t be a bar there,” Copeland said.
The owner eventually terminated the bar’s lease, Copeland said.
Irwin could not be reached for comment.
Poche said she was concerned about the bar’s employees and that was one reason why they would try to reopen as quickly as possible. However, she said other bars have offered to take them on for the time being. She added that support for the bar has been “overwhelming.”
These establishments add to a number of other recent downtown closings, including Grand Central, which closed in November and Dahlia’s, which followed suit in December.
Manzie said despite the recent closings, the downtown area is in the beginning of a strong resurgence. He pointed to a number of successful restaurants that have recently opened and the strength of remaining restaurants like Panini Pete’s and T.P. Crockmier’s.
“It’s a detraction on downtown, but more about how each business is run and operated,” Manzie said.
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