Vitori opened Gracie’s in June 2017 in the former TV Middletown Building,as part of her family’s Torchlight Pass dining and retail destination location that includes a boutique hotel. She is also a member of Middletown City Council.
Other locally owned restaurants in Middletown have made big changes. Some have cut staffing or operating days and hours to stay open.
John Langhorne, owner of the The Swire Inn, 64 S. Main St., said, “business has been amazing.”
He said the restaurant did well during the take-out period when the inside dining was shut down by the state. Langhorne said the business has worked hard on costs and has kept their staff of about 23 people working.
“We’re doing good and we’re beating our expectations,” he said.
Donnie Osborne, owner of The Jug, 3510 Central Ave. and Shaddock’s Pizza, 4713 Central Ave., said it was “awful” to hear about Vitori’s decision to close for the rest of 2020.
“As far as The Jug and Shaddock’s are concerned, they are set up as carry-outs so it’s been business as usual,” Osborne said. “We lost some of our margin due to higher food costs.”
However, the uncertainty has put a planned sports bar expansion for Shaddock’s on hold.
Osborne said third-party deliveries also “went through the roof,” which also helped his bottom line.
“We’re hanging in there, but we’re bracing ourselves for the next slap in the face,” he said.
Heather Gibson, owner of Triple Moon Coffee Company, 1100 Central Ave., said operating has become much harder because of protocols, and the business is now closed two days a week. She is using a drive-thru window to serve coffee, lattes and food to stay in business. She said she lost some staff because some are concerned about COVID-19 or passing it to an older relative.
“We’re not thinking about closing,” she said. “We’re no-where near that.”
Gibson said business has grown every year since itopened in 2014.
“Everyone is changing their business model,” Gibson said. “She (Vitori) was smart to close because she’ll have the opportunity to come back stronger. I know it was difficult for her, but she made the right decision.”