COLUMBIA — One of Columbia’s popular ice cream parlors shut its doors in 2008, despite being on top.
On Sunday evening, Shake’s Frozen Custard remained in second place for Inside Columbia Magazine's Best of Columbia 2009 contest for “best frozen treat” and "best place for ice cream." But if they win, there will be nowhere to hang their winner's plaque. The last two Columbia locations of Shake's closed in December.
Business closings are not reported to any one entity. The Columbia Business License Office knows of closings only when businesses do not apply for licenses for the next fiscal year. The list below contains businesses who did not reapply on the due date of June 30, 2008.
Bella Vita Salon & Boutique
Bread Basket Café (Eighth Street location)
The Coffee Ground, LLC
Cutting Edge Window Tint/Audio
Dream Catcher Studio, Inc.
Family Table Restaurant
Green is the Way, LLC
Guaranty Land Title Insurance
Hertz Equipment Rental Corp
Indoor Yard Sale
Joey’s Seafood and Grill
Key Largo Fitness & Tanning (downtown location)
Linens ‘n Things
The Putnam Group
Quiznos Classic Subs (Vandiver & Broadway locations)
The Sweetest Thing, LLC
U.S. Cellular (Grindstone location)
Westport Hair Connection
W.G. Grinders (Falling Leaf Lane & Ninth Street locations)
Shake's is one of a number of business in Columbia that closed in 2008, but the rate of businesses closing is not out of the ordinary for the city. Some blame the faltering economy, but businesses close for many reasons.
Janice Finely, business services administrator at the Business License Office in Columbia, said there has not been a dramatic increase or decrease in business applicants.
"Usually when one closes, another opens,” Finley said. The number of business licenses issued has steadily increased over the past few years as Columbia has grown, Finley said.
A spokesperson for Shake's was unavailable for comment as to why they closed.
Paul Helm, 19, an MU sophomore and previous employee at Shake’s, said when he arrived for work on a Saturday in mid-November, the doors were locked and lights were off.
“I thought it was kind of cool at first. I don’t have to work today,” Helm said. “But then I was like, ‘Aw, I don’t have any money.’”
Helm, originally from Columbia, said it has been easier for him because his parents live in town and are able to help him out. Assuming the business intake was normal, Helm said the business closing came as a surprise to him. “I thought it was a joke at first,” he said. He originally thought Shake’s was just closing for the winter season, though it would not be typical of Shake’s, he said.
Virginia Wilson, a small business counselor at the Small Business and Technology Development Center in Columbia, said, “We haven’t seen businesses needing too much assistance.”
However, Wilson and other couselors at the center say with the economy the way it is, the advice they give is even more pertinent. “Approach it very cautiously, more so than usual,” Wilson said. “Look at the demand, personal finances and whether or not it could project a year or two out. Is it feasible and sustainable?”
The center usually deals with referrals from banks, but recently the center has seen fewer referrals than normal, Wilson said. “Banks are lending and loaning, but have really tightened up with loan requirements. They are very selective about loans they do process."