The business community in the Worcester Canal District has seen some changes, including the closing of about half a dozen businesses in recent months. Latest news from Smokestack Urban Barbecue and Maddi’s Cookery and TapHouse.
Both companies posted updates on social media that drew a lot of reactions from grieving customers.
Jillian Nanof, who works at Seed to Stem, said it was unfortunate to hear of any business going on.
“Obviously we’re sorry to see some of our favourite places have eaten as well, and we’re advising people to eat nearby,” she said.
“I mean, it’s sad, it’s true,” said Julie Sargentelli, who runs White Eagle Bar & Tavern. “You know, they’re our regional partners, you know, we want to see people, you know, survive and thrive.”
But despite lingering complaints about a lack of parking spaces and rising prices, Worcester City Councilman Candy Mero-Carlson said some of it came down to opportunity.
“Some of these guys are selling their businesses. Some of these guys are selling their properties,” Mello-Carlson said.
Alexis Kelleher, owner of BirchTree Bread Company, countered that they were aware of a number of reasons and factors for the closure of these businesses.
But the parking issue is one thing many people around Massachusetts are responding to.
“When baseball season is in full swing, obviously there are fewer parking spaces for our customers,” Nanooff said.
“It’s metered parking, and you can’t extend it beyond two hours,” said Mirna Cazares of El Patron.
Mero-Carlson said they are aware of the problem and the city is working hard to find a solution. She said their data showed more than 200 parking spaces were vacant each day, noting the challenges.
“We really need to do a better marketing job where these parking spaces are,” she added.
Nanov said she remains optimistic about the future success of the region.
“Hopefully, this will really help once the car park is built and fully operational here,” Nanof added.
The owners of BirchTree Bread Company, which changed hands just six months ago, say they are seeing success despite any challenges. According to Kelleher, the sales they have seen since the new owner took over have exceeded the forecast set by the previous owner for 2022.
Businesses who spoke to NBC10 Boston said COVID and inflation have also presented a number of challenges, but overall, many are optimistic that the region will continue to prosper.