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Some downtown Roanoke businesses still close on Sunday

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:06:58 AM EST
Updated On: Oct 06 2013 06:00:00 PM EDT
ROANOKE, Va. -

Downtown Roanoke isn't what it used to be, for the better.

In the past five years, it's seen an explosion in downtown living, a new Center in the Square and a new Market Building among other things.

However, you might not know that if you go there on a Sunday.

There are plenty of businesses and retailers that do stay open on Sunday, there's still plenty to do if you were to go down there, but not all of them.

We wanted to ask the question: Are businesses closed because no one comes downtown, or does no one come downtown because nothing's open?

If you walk through downtown Roanoke on a Sunday, you'll see a lot of" Closed on Sunday" signs.

"Traditionally, our restaurants have been closed on Sundays," says Colin Jones, who manages Frankie Rowlands, Corned Beef and Company and Billy's.

Colin Jones manages three restaurants in downtown Roanoke.  He keeps just one open on Sunday.

"We've seen a strong interest with Sunday brunch, Sunday business, our courtyard, so it made a lot of sense to be open," Jones added.

But the other two, including Corned Beef and Company, stay closed on Sunday for cleaning.   

"For Roanoke to be the size it is is a shocker to me.  I"m very surprised that things are not open," said Roanoke Visitor Belinda Flick.

Denis Girard's Jefferson Street Subway is a rarity.  He's owned it for six and a half years, and has hardly even considered staying open on Sunday.

"I believe I'm the only one. Subway is very strenuous about that, you're basically supposed to be open on Sundays," Girard said.

There are downtown dining and shopping options on Sunday, but most restaurant owners choose not to bother.

Given all the growth downtown has seen, some restaurant owners expect this to change.

"It's starting to get better. With Billys being open and some other restaurants, we constantly ask when are we going to open Corned Beef on Sunday?" said Jones, "It's there, it's close."

When you consider the continued development of downtown buildings into living spaces, Jones is convinced that's going to mean good things for business, especially business on Sundays.

Colin Jones thinks he's less than a year away from opening Corned Beef Downtown.