State Sen. Dave Koehler's Business Closing

By Jen Christensen

October 8, 2010 Updated Oct 8, 2010 at 8:58 PM CDT

It's still a guessing game whether our local small business climate is improving in the Peoria area.

From Tilted Kilt and Jillian's to Hyvee and Fresh Market, new businesses are popping up.

Some local economists say for every new businesses that opens, another one seems to close.

One closing is the Goodness Café on Monroe Street, which is serving food for the last time Saturday.

Democratic State Senator Dave Koehler owns the restaurant.

We struggled with having to close this. It's something we didn't want to do, but there's got to be a certain volume of business for us to be able to make it and we just weren't able to reach that," said Koehler.

Koehler also owns the Peoria Bread Company right next door. That business sells mainly to wholesalers like Naturally Yours and Hyvee. It remains profitable.

"At this point we have to focus on our core business because even thought the recession has officially ended, we don't feel any relief from that," said Koehler.

The Peoria Bread Company staying open and The Goodness Café closing may be a good example of our small business climate.

The Peoria Chamber of Commerce does not keep track of how many businesses open and close, but they do have other indicators that show businesses is flat or slightly improving.

"There are small businesses who have faired very well during this recession," said Chamber of Commerce President Rob Parks. "They know their niche. They get lucky and they work real hard. there are others who have been very, very challenged."

A local business opening is Famous City Bistro on the corner of Glen and University.

The owners says you will be able to get specialty sandwiches from different cities around the country and he expects it to do well.

"My company may be doing like this and yours may be down here at a pretty flat level. But I would say overall, things are moving slowly, probably more slowly than we would like in a positive direction," said Parks.

Senator Koehler says despite the Goodness Café closing, from a small businesses owner's perspective he thinks the economy is improving.

Koehler said, "Jen: There's no proof. What are you basing that off of? 'Just a gut feeling. instinct. Just in talking with other small businesses."

Economists say to keep an eye on the unemployment rate because when that starts to decrease you should see more businesses opening and fewer shutting their doors.

The Goodness Cafe closes Saturday afternoon.

The Peoria Bread Company will remain open on Saturdays from 8:00a.m.-12:00p.m.

Famous City Bistro is expected to be completed by December or earlier.

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