Downtown Deli to shut down for good during holiday break
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 01:11
Local restaurant The Downtown Deli — previously known as Treasures On the Square — will close just four days before Christmas on Friday, Dec. 21 after eight years of service.
Lynda Dunbar, owner of the Deli, cites numerous reasons for the closing of the eatery, but said the real problems began in June of 2012 when she noticed a big drop off in business.
While Dunbar noted there is always a downward trend in sales during the summertime months, she estimated that this past summer’s sales were down by 25 percent from what she usually expects.
“I don’t want to slam on what was going on on the other side of the corner,” Dunbar said. “But a lot of it was because Indiana Street was booked up with all the dumpsters and the construction of Starbucks.”
But Dunbar is “trying not to be negative,” and said that later in the year, when she heard the Starbucks was finally opening, she was “thrilled.”
At first, it seemed that Dunbar had good reason to feel this way. The week Starbucks opened, which included Parent’s Weekend for DePauw students, Dunbar said the Deli had its biggest week ever, including a record day. However, things have fallen off again since then.
“Alumni Weekend we might as well have been closed,” Dunbar said. “We got the one big boost day and we haven’t gotten anything else since— but I know Starbucks has been doing well.”
However, she remains cautious about placing blame. Food costs have gone up, and customers have gone down. Dunbar said that when these two things happen, “you don’t fare very well.”
Even the holiday season hasn’t boosted sales, and Dunbar said that a few weeks ago she had no special holiday orders or bookings.
Though she admitted that the Deli has landed a few bookings since then, Dunbar said that these events are scaled down from what they have been in previous years. The slow holiday season combined with the fact her worst sale months are ahead of her and the continuing construction on the square, has prompted Dunbar to call it quits.
“I just can’t do it anymore — I can’t survive there,” she said.
When told the Deli was closing, DePauw freshman Abby Keller was quick to voice her distress.
“I’m actually pretty upset,” Keller said. “I’ve been there a few times and really loved the grilled cheese.”
She added that, as a freshman, she was looking forward to getting to know downtown shops and restaurants better and is saddened that visits to the Deli will no longer be a part of her college experience.
Junior Taylor Richison is also disappointed to hear that the Deli will soon be closing its doors for good.
“It was a nice little place — a hidden gem in Greencastle,” Richison said.
Jacqueline Finney, the manager of Eli’s Books and the Starbucks, said in an email that she was, “sad to hear the Downtown Deli has announced its closing.”
She agreed with Dunbar in saying that business on their end has been running smoothly, but added that the Starbucks was meant only to help local businesses.
“We were not set up as a competitor for local business like the Deli, and we do not offer lunch items to avoid such an issue,” Finney said.
Dunbar herself congratulated Starbucks on increasing foot traffic in downtown, however, she did question where that actual traffic is going.
“I do wonder if they’re just going to Starbucks, and not the other few small businesses downtown,” Dunbar said.
Though she herself will no longer be a part of the downtown business community, Dunbar urges students, faculty and townspeople alike to “get out and support these businesses.”
Dunbar said she would like to thank the DePauw community as a whole for its support over the last eight years.