Business as usual for some on holiday

While many locally owned businesses closed for Memorial Day, several chains remained open.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:12 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

For Memorial Day, Columbians walked in parades, played in the sun, and — if their stores were open — did business downtown.

Downtown businesses, including Shakespeare’s, Booches, Uprise Bakery and the Ninth Street Bookstore, were closed in observance of Memorial Day. But chains such as Quiznos, Starbucks and Panera Bread remained open, though some had special business hours.

People in downtown on Monday commented on how holiday hours seemed to affect local and larger chain businesses.

“It’s wild,” Zach Payton said during his work break from Integral Resources, Inc. “I looked down the street and said, ‘Holy geez, these smaller businesses probably can’t stay open, yet these large corporate giants can do it. It’s unfair.’”

“It’s a college town,” said Columbia resident Lou Ann Tolbert, also on a break. “I think it’s strange that bars would be closed.”

Uprise Bakery owner Ron Rottinghaus said other businesses’ actions did not affect his decision to close the bakery Monday.

“Generally, the returns for Memorial Day weren’t good,” he said. “People in a parade aren’t shopping. I’d rather my employees, and me, have the day off.”

Vernon Thomas, assistant store manager at the Quiznos on Broadway, said his returns for Memorial Day, and holidays in general, were not profitable, either.

“Once the parade is over, most of our business is dead,” he said.

He said the Quiznos corporate office requires the store to stay open for a portion of the day, but it allows the store to implement holiday hours.

Panera Bread shift supervisor Leah Roush said the company’s corporate office doesn’t regulate the restaurant’s business hours.

Kellye King, owner of Kayotea on Broadway, saw Memorial Day as a good opportunity for cost-effective publicity for her business, which has been open for three months.

“We stayed open because we’re trying to build a base in Columbia,” she said. “Our thought process was, ‘We’re going to have thousands of people downtown, we’re a new business, people are still getting to know about us, so let’s stay open and see what happens.’ ”

King said that once summer started, Kayotea saw a slight drop in sales among college students. She said Monday afternoon that business was better than she’d expected for the holiday.

Both Columbia locations of The Bread Basket Cafe were open Monday. Owner David Maxwell said his 12-year-old restaurant has always been open during holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

He said some of the stores have more flexibility for setting store hours because they have more sales or are privately owned.

Maxwell said some corporations don’t have the flexibility of a privately owned business. He said he stays open on most holidays to build trust with the community.

“We need to be here when our customers need us,” he said. “We have to be here when our customers expect us so they can rely on us.”

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