Businesses trying to stay open
The doors are open at JJ's Downhome Diner but the tables are empty.
It's not always been this way. Owner Joel Jerkins says he blames the drop in customers on the announcement of The Falls retail development.
"Here lately business has slacked off,” says Joel Jerkins, owner of JJ’s Downhome Diner. “We've dropped business."
The owners of Kountry Junction next door are experiencing the same problem. They called News 5 WCYB when what should be their busiest month of the year turned into one of the slowest in the store's six-year history.
There were days last week without a single customer. "In January it slacks off again,” says owner Jeff Russell. “We're used to that, but not no business in November."
This shopping center will be torn down as a part of the new Falls development just off Exit 5 on Lee Highway.
Bristol, Virginia officials announced sporting goods giant Cabela’s will be one of the first tenants. Click here to read that story.
"I'm concerned we will have to go out of business before we can pack up and move," says Jerkins.
Owners say they were blindsided by the August announcement. "The first time we heard about it was on WCYB, says Russell. “The city announced 'tear this down and move Cabela’s in.'"
The businesses have several more months before they have to move.
The Falls development is expected to cost $200 million and provide more than 2,000 jobs. Construction should begin in early 2013.
Doors on the Cabela's store are not expected to open until 2014.
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