Downtown Business Goes Under

By: Adam Klotz Email
By: Adam Klotz Email

PANAMA CITY-- Joan Holley opened the door to her dream restaurant, Tito's, downtown one year ago Tuesday.

On Monday, Holley announced to her customer base that those bills had become too much.

"Downtown is our neighborhood and we meet all our friends here. It's good food and it's good company. We are really really sad, we hate to see them leave," said Tito's customer Donna Kemp.

"I had to completely rely on my ability to bring people in here and i need more than that, so I can't afford it anymore. I'm broke," said Holley.

However, officials downtown say Tito's is the exception not the rule.

'We've had ten new businesses come downtown in the last year, and with Tito's we have lost one. That's a pretty good ratio. But we don't want to loose anybody, and that was a great restaurant. It's unfortunate it happened, but they had to make the business decision," said Dutch Sanger of the Downtown Improvement Board.

Still, Holley believes her restaurant would have had a better chance in another location.

"Well I think the marina master plan is going to be a huge catalyst to get things moving. I think a lot of people are beginning to see increases in property value and they are looking to try to move their businesses downtown," said Sanger.

"We kinda feel as though things are stalled downtown. We have seen businesses come and go in the last 2 or 3 years that we really enjoyed having down here," said Kemp.

Holley owns the building housing Tito's and says it is available for lease immediately.

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