Columbia's business closings not out of the ordinary

Sunday, January 11, 2009 | 5:44 p.m. CST; updated 9:29 a.m. CST, Monday, January 12, 2009
Aaron Kroeger, an employee with Straight Line Construction, helps disassemble Shake's Frozen Custard on Nifong Boulevard. "I'm usually the guy people hate to see," said Tim Lewis, owner of Straight Line Construction.

This article has been amended to reflect that only Key Largo's downtown location has closed. Also, Ram Telecom, which was previously on the list, has not closed; it is now Moorehead Communications.

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.

Some businesses that have closed since July 2008

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.

Backyard Burgers

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

Inside Sports

Joey’s Seafood and Grill

Key Largo Fitness & Tanning (downtown location)

Linens ‘n Things

Poe Golf

The Putnam Group

Quiznos Classic Subs (Vandiver & Broadway locations)


Smart Style

The Sweetest Thing, LLC

Tri-State Solutions

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."

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Ayn Rand January 12, 2009 | 6:50 a.m.

Copy editors, what does the sign on the building say?

(Report Comment)
Michael Scott January 12, 2009 | 7:09 a.m.

Probably a little deceptive to list Key Largo, RAM Telecom, and US Cellular on this list, as those businesses remain open in some form or another.

(Report Comment)
Megan Clark January 12, 2009 | 9:32 a.m.

"Ayn," were you confused about the name? Shakey's became Shake's several years ago (2001 or so?) over a trademark issue. They never changed the sign.

Not an error; merely a lack of knowledge on your part.

(Report Comment)
Pam Cohen January 12, 2009 | 11:24 a.m.

Ayn, I work as a news editor for the Missourian, and we double- and triple-checked the name on the sign with both the reporter and the company last night before posting and running the story. Megan is correct - due to copyright issues, Shakey's changed its name to Shake's, but the sign on several buildings was never changed.

Thank you for your critical eye.
Pam Cohen
Missourian news editor

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 12, 2009 | 11:36 a.m.

That doesn't make sense. The owners changed the name, but not on the signage?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 12, 2009 | 11:52 a.m.

Changing a name on a sign just for one letter often times costs more than it is worth.

Doesn't matter now anyway they are obviously out of business.

(Report Comment)
Cullen Breedlove January 12, 2009 | 12:16 p.m.

I'm glad the editors put a caption on the photo. For those that didn't read it, there is a man in the photo, I could barely see him with his camouflage hat.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 12, 2009 | 4:32 p.m.

Chuck, if you have to change your name to avoid or settle a trademark lawsuit, then usually you've got to change everything, even if it's just one letter. That's what makes this so weird. I'm sure I wasn't the only reader puzzled by one name in the photo and another in the story.

(Report Comment)

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