Downtown business owner describes watching livelihood disappear

In an all but deserted downtown and with wooden boards covering their windows, the owners of Downtowner Deli plan to call it quits at the end of the week.”It was vibrant. People loved to come downtown and to see it like this, still like this, it breaks my heart,” owner Tony Cobb, who operates the deli with his wife, said.”This is our livelihood, this is what we worked hard for and now it’s just gone,” wife Delanea said, telling WLKY the restaurant had been an investment for their children.The husband and wife team say the first hit was the pandemic. As downtown came to a screeching halt in March, and many of their regular customers began working from home, business plummeted.Delanea Cobb said Tuesday, “It wasn’t unusual for us to have a line out the door during a typical lunch rush. Now, here it is 11:30 and we’ve had one customer.”Against The Grain also experienced a devastating drop in sales, according to co-owner, Sam Cruz, “About 70% I would say. It’s been tough.”The pandemic, a canceled season next door at Slugger Field, and the civil unrest just a few blocks away, he said, contributed to their decision to close their doors. But, Cruz said he and his partners are hopeful to come back, “We love this city and we’re committed to it. As a Main Street business, we’ve thrown everything we had into this place and had intended to do so for the foreseeable future.”Mayor Greg Fischer said Tuesday what’s happening in downtown Louisville – including protests – is playing out in cities across the country.Still, he believes the downtown district can rebound.”We just got to get through this very rough patch we’re in now and then they’ll be better days ahead, the important thing right now is we hold together, while we’re getting through this,” Fischer said.Since March, according to Yelp statistics, nearly 300 of Louisville’s businesses and restaurants have permanently closed. Others meanwhile, have hung signs, saying they are hopeful to return.And while it won’t be downtown, Tony Cobb, said Tuesday he has got to make something work, “I have to provide for my family. We’re closing our doors but this won’t be the last time you hear from us.”The Cobbs are hoping to stay in the hospitality industry by purchasing and operating a food truck. To help them reach that goal, click here.

In an all but deserted downtown and with wooden boards covering their windows, the owners of Downtowner Deli plan to call it quits at the end of the week.

“It was vibrant. People loved to come downtown and to see it like this, still like this, it breaks my heart,” owner Tony Cobb, who operates the deli with his wife, said.

“This is our livelihood, this is what we worked hard for and now it’s just gone,” wife Delanea said, telling WLKY the restaurant had been an investment for their children.

The husband and wife team say the first hit was the pandemic. As downtown came to a screeching halt in March, and many of their regular customers began working from home, business plummeted.

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Delanea Cobb said Tuesday, “It wasn’t unusual for us to have a line out the door during a typical lunch rush. Now, here it is 11:30 and we’ve had one customer.”

Against The Grain also experienced a devastating drop in sales, according to co-owner, Sam Cruz, “About 70% I would say. It’s been tough.”

The pandemic, a canceled season next door at Slugger Field, and the civil unrest just a few blocks away, he said, contributed to their decision to close their doors.

But, Cruz said he and his partners are hopeful to come back, “We love this city and we’re committed to it. As a Main Street business, we’ve thrown everything we had into this place and had intended to do so for the foreseeable future.”

Mayor Greg Fischer said Tuesday what’s happening in downtown Louisville – including protests – is playing out in cities across the country.

Still, he believes the downtown district can rebound.

“We just got to get through this very rough patch we’re in now and then they’ll be better days ahead, the important thing right now is we hold together, while we’re getting through this,” Fischer said.

Since March, according to Yelp statistics, nearly 300 of Louisville’s businesses and restaurants have permanently closed.

Others meanwhile, have hung signs, saying they are hopeful to return.

And while it won’t be downtown, Tony Cobb, said Tuesday he has got to make something work, “I have to provide for my family. We’re closing our doors but this won’t be the last time you hear from us.”

The Cobbs are hoping to stay in the hospitality industry by purchasing and operating a food truck. To help them reach that goal, click here.

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