Four Niles businesses close in same weekPublished 5:29pm Monday, January 23, 2012
Two well-known Niles restaurants closed up shop within days of each other this past weekend, and two more businesses will be closing by the end of the month.
The Riverfront Cafe, on 219 Front St., closed Friday, while the Millennium Steak House, on 1245 South 11th St., closed officially on Saturday. The Shoppe Hair Salon, 227 East Main St., will be closing at the end of January as will Second Time Around thrift store, 1340 East Main St.
The news came as a shock to many in the community.
“I’ve never seen anything like it to be perfectly honest,” said Ron Sather, president of Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is going to be hard to get used to not having some of theses businesses around.”
Michelle Scherpenberg, creator of South Bend Foodies, a resource for independent restaurants in the Michiana area, said Monday was a sad day for Niles.
“Niles is doing so well putting good products out there, so it is heartbreaking knowing that two of its largest restaurants are closing,” she said. “As a foodie, that is so unfortunate.”
Sather doesn’t believe the rash of closings is a trend. Neither does Lisa Croteau, program manager for Niles DDA Main Street.
“Yeah, it’s odd that they happened so close together, but, at the same time, that is the nature of independent business,” Croteau said. “There are so many factors that go into the decisions people make to open businesses and close businesses. Not all of these had to do with economics.”
Millennium Steak House owner Bill Giannakakis was the only owner citing slow business as the main reason behind closing. Jen Hoese, owner of The Shoppe Hair Salon, said changes inside the salon were the main reason she decided to close. Second Time Around owner Maria Martin is relocating her business from Niles to Bridgman in order to be closer to her home in Sawyer. The owner of Riverfront Café declined to comment.
According to Croteau, nine businesses have opened in Niles since June 2011, compared to seven that have closed or moved. The number of businesses opening in Niles has exceeded the number of those closing or moving in at least the past seven years.
“As you can see, businesses open and close each year — this year is no different,” Croteau said. “It is sad to see any business close, but it also creates opportunity and it is always exciting to think about the possibilities of tomorrow.”
Sather said the Millennium Steak House and Riverfront Cafe were responsible for bringing a lot of traffic to Niles. He doesn’t expect either site to remain vacant for long, largely due to their popularity.
“Both are very saleable properties and ready to walk into right now,” he said. “I think we’ll see those open again as a food facility of some kind. I would be shocked if those didn’t reopen in a similar capacity.”