The economy isn't bouncing back quickly enough to save some local businesses. Several restaurants in Carbondale are closing up shop for good.
Mississippi Flyway has been in business in the Murdale Shopping Center since January 1982. Now, 31 years after first opening its doors owner Frank Hiller says he's forced to close them for good.
Hiller says when he runs out of food on Sunday the uniquely southern Illinois restaurant will shut down.
Hiller says the costs of doing business are going up and not enough people are filling his tables to make up the difference.
"Blame it on the economy, fuel costs," said Hiller. "When people have to put money in the tank they don't eat out as much. So that's affected us a lot."
Mississippi Flyway isn't the only Carbondale business going under. Mayor Joel Fritzler tells Heartland News that Quizno's and Gatsby's on the Carbondale Strip are also closing; along with Spinoni's Pizza & Pasta and El Bajio Mexican Restaurant.
A sign on El Bajio's door reads "Permanently closed. Thank you Carbondale for 20 great years." In front of the business, a realtor's sign stands next to the restaurant's welcome sign.
Hiller says today's economy just isn't working for small businesses.
"It's not just Carbondale, it's everywhere," Hiller said. "Small businesses are hurting. There are no mom-and-pop places left. There are, but not many. They keep fading away. It's hard to make it."
Mayor Fritzler says Southern Illinois University's declining enrollment may have something to do with some of these closings. Fewer students mean fewer patrons for these college town eateries.
The mayor says this apparent rash of business failures doesn't paint a complete picture of Carbondale's economy. He says several new businesses are set to open soon and the town's sales tax revenues for 2012 came in higher than anticipated.
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